October, 1967. Yuri Gagarin sits atop a Proton rocket, ready to launch. After several turbulent years in the public eye, he's been chosen in secrecy to captain the Soviet Union's latest space spectacular: the first manned flight around the moon. The second story in the Altered Space series, Public Loneliness is a detailed and imaginative look at a country and a space program with a curious schizophrenia regarding publicity and secrecy. Based on extensive research, it's also a lively and literary story that dares to look beyond the posters at the man who led the human race into space.