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 references familiar classics (like Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea) and forgotten landmarks of Soviet socialist realism, while also touching on universal themes of adventure, alcoholism, heroism and shame. It's a compelling look behind the massive posters at the all-too-real man who led the human race into space.