Veteran sci-fi writers Eric Flint and Dave Freer present a mechanical engineer/biologist named Kretz who’s investigating a gargan-tuan craft transporting planetoid-sized artificial habitats through deep space in Slow Train to Arcturus (Baen Books, 978-1-4165-5585-8). His crewmates are killed or captured by barbaric warlike beings on board—humans. Earth’s unified government has cynically combined the settlement of distant star systems with the culling of extremists and societal square pegs, each variety sovereign of their own separate realm. Kretz is on the run, yet cautiously learning from a succession of Neo-Puritans, Matriarchists, South American aboriginals, Militarists, and flight-obsessed Icarans. His peaceful character makes an excellent lens through which to neutrally observe the flaws and vir-tues of several cultural viewpoints.