The planet of Corwin has a huge problem. An unknown, apparently destructive, alien race named the Klondi, is heading towards their planet, destroying everything in their path. With no hope of fighting them off themselves, the people of Corwin send Baird Erwin to Earth, a world they have had no contact with in over five hundred years, in hopes that they will be able to help his planet in fighting off the warring race of the Klondi.

However, upon his arrival on Earth, Baird discovers that Earth has problems of their war, and with no military or army to fight with, help from Earth becomes nothing but a dream.

Dejected, Baird prepares to return to his home world with the bad news, but before he can he is kidnapped by a group of Sirians who are convinced that he has come to Earth to defend Earth from a take-over by the Sirians.

Eventually, Baird is able to escape with the help of a masked figure that whisks him away from the underground facility where he was being held. Once he is on his own, Baird gets help from a group of citizens from Earth who have come to believe that he is here to help them defend their planet against the Sirian invasion. Inside there safe-house, which is kept out of phase of normal time by the help of a time-machine, Baird explains to them that in fact, it is the other way around, he was hoping they could help him.

It is a this point that Baird realizes that it was he who help him escape from the clutches of the Sirian‘s, a future he anyway. Baird makes the decision to once again use the time machine to go back in time to free himself, only this time giving himself a note outlining further instructions on how to proceed upon his rescue so he won’t get caught in an infinite time-loop of saving himself and then going back in time, only to repeat the scenario again.

Once this is accomplished, Baird again prepares to head back to Corwin to inform his home world of the failure of his mission. But his departure is again delayed, this time by an alter-him who explains that the time machine that the people of Earth have in their procession could be used to fight the Klondi invasion force. Going back to his Earth allies, he steals that time-machine and heads home to fight the Klondi.

The story was short, but moved along quickly and was easy to follow. Not Silverberg‘s best work, and definitely obvious as one of his earlier books, but still a good read.

Rating (3 out of 5):