He was a reluctant passenger on a voyage to save the galaxy . . .
Butterflylike aliens had brought Earth into the galactic culture. But she was a poor relation, valued only for the living human human bodies she rented out for whatever purposes her nonhuman customers desired.
Then Cuckoo was discovered. Millions of miles in diameter, less dense than air, it had a solid surface that was home to many races - including a species of Man. And that was odd, for Cuckoo was from another galaxy!
Suddenly, one human, a linguist, became very important. If Jen Babylon could solve the mystery of Cuckoo's records he might raise humanity's standing among the older races - but he might also save the galaxy!
Jack Williamson (1908 - 2006)
John Stewart 'Jack' Williamson was born in Arizona in 1908 and raised in an isolated New Mexico farmstead. After the Second World War, he acquired degrees in English at the Eastern New Mexico University, joining the faculty there in 1960 and remaining affiliated with the school for the rest of his life. Williamson sold his first story at the age of 20 - the beginning of a long, productive and successful career, which started in the pulps, took in the Golden Age and extended right into his nineties. He was the second author, after Robert A. Heinlein, to be named a Grand Master of Science Fiction by SFWA, and by far the oldest recipient of the Hugo (2001, aged 93) and Nebula (2002, aged 94) awards. A significant voice in SF for over six decades, Jack Williamson is credited with inventing the terms 'terraforming' and 'genetic engineering'. He died in 2006.