By Ken MacLeod
7/10 from 2 reviews
Soft sci fi; not a physics textbook, a storyline that happens to be set in the future.
Set in 2040-something, the Cold War is still in progress; Europe has fallen to Communism. A soviet station built on an asteroid finds semi-communicative alien life within that gives us hints on how to build spacecraft engines. Meanwhile, a parallel storyline is set on a far off world where the descendants of the crew who eventually build and fly off on this spacecraft engine are trying to get back to their spaceship and make it fly again.