|This science fiction book has been on our home library shelf with others of Brian Aldiss, an author that I have enjoyed, so I thought I would give it a try. It is a quick read, but thought provoking. It centers around how humans react to a species found during star travels. The species has habits the humans find disgusting, plus total lack of communication engenders arguments as to whether the beings are even sentient. IMO SF offers a vehicle for examining difficult, uncomfortable questions, because the unusual settings of another world, or the future, disarm the reader by sneaking past walls of preconceived notions. It diffuses an automatic knee jerk response perhaps long enough to give us time to have an new perspective. This book, published in 1964, is satirical, but raises points for consideration: "What really defines civilization and intelligence, and how would we deal with an encounter of beings totally different in appearance, action, communication,social structure, religion ?