Ouch. I was sort of enjoying this, but not really bowled over — and then that ending. Of course that’s the way the US government would end up treating an alien. Of course it’s not that easy to save the world.
To start at the beginning, this is a short novel which imagines what would happen if an alien came to Earth with the intent of saving our world, in order to save his own. Newton is from Anthea, which sounds like it’s probably Mars (back when we thought Mars might have had intelligent lifeforms), and his people need a new world. So they send him to Earth to kickstart technology, enough to build an ark to fetch them to Earth. And from there, they’d take over Earth quietly, guiding humans to prevent the use of nuclear weapons, etc, etc.
To no one’s surprise, it doesn’t quite go as planned, but the way that works out is fascinating. The weird thing for me was how much people drank, and how routine alcoholism was for the characters. Just… not a world I’m used to. But it’s an interesting book, and I enjoyed it — and it gets an extra star for that ending.