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Lila Makindi grows up in East Africa in a peaceful and harmonious 22nd century world, which has succeeded our own age of extravagance, environmental damage, and warfare.
Its citizens know that the Space Communications Administration, better known as Bardo, is guiding the planet benevolently, thanks to contact with wise aliens by means, not of grandiose spaceships, but of psychic travel powered by the sexual techniques of tantric yoga.
Wonderfully, Lila is chosen for psychic starflight. But she discovers that in reality mental starflight is spinning a web of protection around the world to safeguard the human race from a malign alien energy force, the Starbeast.
Yet is this the true reality? Only when Lila travels to Tibet does she discover the actual, unexpected purpose behind Bardo…
When this vivid and innovative novel first appeared, the Times Literary Supplement described it as “exhilerating,” the Birmingham Post wrote, “The complexities unroll to reveal a fascinating and unnerving vision.” and The Times said “It hums with notions as a hive of bees.”
Very probably Alien Embassy was the first SF novel ever with a black female narrator. For this revised edition, Ian Watson provides a fascinating afterword