Why Do Birds: Damon Knight’s amazing, underappreciated science fiction novel about putting all of humanity in a box

Cory Doctorow writes at boingboing.net:

In 2002, a mysterious man is arrested for illegally occupying a hotel room: he says his name is Ed Stone, and that he was kidnapped by aliens from the same hotel room in 1931 and has just been returned to Earth, not having aged a day; the aliens have told him that Earth will be destroyed in 12 years and that before then, the entire human race has to put itself in a giant box (presumably for transport to somewhere else, though Ed is a little shaky on the details), and to help Ed with this task, the aliens have given him a ring that makes anyone who touches it fill with overwhelming good feelings for him and a desire to help him.

So begins science fiction grand master Damon Knight’s great, underappreciated 1992 novel Why Do Birds….

Knight was a talented science fiction and fantasy writer and satirist; his best known work was the story “To Serve Man,” basis of the memorable Twilight Zone episode.