Idealistic young American scientist Grant Archer joins a clandestine expedition to this awesome new world. But Grant does not share the ideals of the scientists he accompanies: he has been planted on their expedition by the New Morality, a religious group that wants to ferret what the ‘godless humanists’ have discovered. His mission: to reassure the new religious leaders of Earth that Jupiter holds no intelligent life.
But unknown to the New Morality, Grant, though the son of a minister, is both a believer and a man who sees no reason why science and faith can not co-exist. He has come to the vast, planet-girdling ocean of Jupiter with an open mind, and he is about to tell his masters something that may shatter their conviction.
In continuing to explore the marvels of the solar system, Bova (Venus) tracks the metamorphosis of his protagonist, Grant Archer, from a selfish, petulant grad student into a man who does what's right despite massive pressures. Sent to study on Jupiter's orbital space station, rather than the more desirable lunar colony, astrophysicist Archer resents everyone and complains about his bad luck; he isn't even allowed to study in his field of expertise. The New Morality, the ultrareligious creationist group who controls the U.S., has given him the additional task of spying on the station's untrustworthy scientists who are suspected of looking for Jovian life. The mere existence of extraterrestrials would conflict with New Morality doctrine. Grant is a true believer, but he's also a scientist resentful of the New Morality's control over his life. When he's given a chance to aid in the Jovian research, he jumps at it, even though it means horrifying modifications to his body and repeated drownings. This easy read provides solid action and wonder with credible alien life forms and inspired technology for exploring the Jovian depths. Jupiter is a new favorite destination for sci-fi exploration, and Bova's take on the planet is unique and enticing.