Needless to say, Warren Ellis’ space shuttle-disaster book carries some relevance after the Columbia tragedy. But the most dangerous event, warns Ellis, is not an interstellar donnybrook; no, it’s that in the wake of losing a shuttle crew we might abandon the final frontier entirely. Orbiter posits a world in which humanity has done just that after a shuttle vanishes. Thing is, 10 years later, said shuttle returns, covered in some kind of fleshy skin. It’s a shame, though, that most lost-ship stories end in either demonic malfeasance (a la the movie Event Horizon) or shiny happy alien intervention (a la Contact). I won’t say which finale Ellis settled on, but I wish that he’d used his big brain to make the destination as wittily ingenious as the journey.