The editors really blew it on this one. While the author starts with a decent, if fairly worn set of premises, and has a few genuinely unique ideas strewn about, he obviously can't help but tell us everything he knows about the defunct SSC project along with some physics wet-dream stuff. This candy is only good when skillfully mixed with good characterization and plot pacing. Instead, we get fairly 2D characters, ham-handedly described, and reams and reams of Q&A designed to bore the reader into skipping ahead to see if anything ever actually happens, or if this is a tour guide disguised as fiction. Frequently, the "conversations" turn into a brain dump of the author's banal familiarity and bias on everything from Dallas society to particle physics. People don't talk like this!
Then it gets worse. Just as things seem to be able to get interesting, a cheesy deus ex machina gets pulled and saves the day. Instead of putting us out of our misery and ending it there, Cramer then continues by having our heroes play politics. I'm not kidding. Was he trying for humor? The one love story seems contrived and is as limp as a month old asparagus. The deepest irony is that the lone female character, used pretty lamely as a foil througout, is a bad scifi writer.
There is plenty of good hard SF out there. Read "Cosm" by Benford instead of this dreck.