I read a book many years ago, in the early 90s, but published earlier, and I'm trying to find it again. The story started out with aliens contacting the earth and leaving several devices that basically did a psychology exam of the people who used them. If the person passed the test, they were permitted to settle on a vast planet like thing (I don't remember how it was described, exactly). Anyone who failed was left on Earth.

The main character of the story takes the test (more than once, I think), and fails. However, he's later contacted by the aliens and told that while he doesn't have the right psychology to be one of the settlers, he does have the right psychology to be one of the people who goes around and examines sentient species for the opportunity to be given the tests.

The rest of the story is about his various adventures as one of these scouts.

Any ideas what the book is?

  • Any idea how long ago "many years ago" is?
    – Mr Lister
    Jan 17, 2013 at 8:06
  • Some of the details don't fit, but Rebecca Ore's Becoming Alien?
    – mkennedy
    Jan 22, 2013 at 17:36
  • 'Many years ago' means I was in Junior High or High school- so early nineties. But the book was out of my dads collection of literally hundreds of books spread out in disorganized storage boxes in two states, and he started that collection when he was in junior high. So no idea when it was published.
    – user11998
    Feb 11, 2013 at 20:20
  • 1
    Could this be the same book (and therefore a dupkicate question)?
    – SQB
    Jan 16, 2014 at 11:27

1 Answer 1


Federation World by James White.

Aliens contact Earth and set up psychological testing centers. Those who pass can emigrate to Federation World, a Dyson sphere. Some are not suitable for emigration, but are suited for duty in First Contact teams.

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