Dr James Ballantine continues to work with a young girl, Joan, who has telepathic powers. They run through tests confirming the extent of her abilities. The source of her power is unknown, but may be linked to the radioactivity overexposure that also gave her her albinism and lack of vocal cords.
After landing safely on an unexplored planet the 53 surviving crew members of the Lode Star find themselves trapped when their space ship's atomic reactors explode. It is then that they are forced to confront not only their immediate survival but the long-term future of their new civilisation. Fundamental objectives like food, clothing and shelter become scarce, while relationships between men and women are made on grounds other than love. Complicating matters is the fact that the men outnumber the women. And then they encounter the planet's original inhabitants... a species which wants to 'scientifically' examine these newcomers.
'Even when its concerns are extraterrestrial, science fiction can have a national accent.Not surprisingly, there is a distinctly local flavour to Rob Gerrand’s compendious collection of Australian science fiction writing from the past fifty years. Landscape may be one reason for this. With its megaliths and arid wastes, the Australian continent seems an especially suitable backdrop for narratives of alien visitation. Australian SF has also been influenced by the situation of the country’s indigenous people, as Russell Blackford points out in his helpful introduction. This can be seen in Norma Hemming’s “Debt of Lassor” (1958), one of the anthology’s earlier stories, in which a ruthless intergalactic empire is forced to acknowledge its crimes of conquest by sending a Rehabilitation Director to revive the Terran civilization it…' (Introduction)