I have not read much of the book on the right. Not long after 9/11, I left it on the table at a peace march. The writing just didn't keep the attention that the cover had generated in me.
I got this book because the packaging was perfect for getting you to think about what the ethical thing to do when you run into another civilization is. It could be that the idea was explored in an interesting way inside, but the characters were too thin to keep me interested enough. I hope somebody else got something out of it after I let it go though.