The Dig by Alan Dean Foster
The DigBoston Low comes out of retirement to fly a shuttle to save the Earth. An asteroid has settled into an irregular orbit around the Earth. In order for it not to break through the atmosphere, the crew needs to plant some nuclear explosives to change its trajectory. Low has saved shuttle crews in impossible situations before. Can he and his crew do it again?
After the explosives are properly set, a new crevice in the asteroid emits a bright light. So Low and two other members of the crew investigate. The crevice leads to an underground cavern. The cavern is obviously not natural. They don’t expect what happens next.
Soon the three of them are on an unbelievable journey. They find themselves across the galaxy. The are the first humans to explore an alien planet. There are no intelligent living beings around to guide them. They have to discover the mysteries of the planet themselves in order to survive and possibly return home.
OK, now that I’ve given a synopsis of the story, I suggest you don’t bother with the book. It is based on a computer game that involves clues to problem solve to step forward. I could picture the game when Low would get a clue and appropriately carry it to solve a problem left behind a couple chapters earlier. The writing does not ever fall apart, but never gets together, either. I could read two sentences, walk away, and not care if I picked it up to find out what was happening, even in the “dangerous” or suspenseful scenes. I’m glad I’ve read other things by this author, because this book does not show his talent.