A thoughtful story from Beckett, a psychological study of a human about to return to Earth from scientific work on a far distant planet. The journey back isn’t a problem in itself, the superluminal transfer, which will see him encoded to data and flashed across space back to Earth – it’s one of the side-effects, the fact that the process wipes clean recent memories.
It is well-established that whilst you may retain some memories of up to the 30th day before the transfer, anything from Day 29 is lost. He struggled with losing memory of those 30 days as the result of the outward journey, and in heading back home he has to revisit those issue, address the issues of his strained relationship with his fellow workers, and his ambivalent relationship with the local human settlers, and the indigenous intelligent lifeform, and the planet itself.
It’s a detailed investigation of his psyche, and asks questions and probes into detail, rather than being another tiresome story of xenolinguistics/psychology.