I don't know who Ben Barzman is, but he's written an interesting little book.
The synopsis makes the novel sound as if it is composed of more cheese than the Moon. 186 million miles away, on the opposite side of the Sun, is another Earth. It is a virtual twin, to the point of having the same landmasses, the same biological history, even the same human history up through the end of The Great War. Thanks to their not having a Second World War, they are far ahead of us in the social, medical, and energy sciences (though not, apparently, in the rocket and atomic sciences). Scientists of our Earth manage to create a new ray, a ray so powerful that it becomes a living, intelligent entity, which facilitates contact with this other Earth. The counter-Earth responds by sending a delegation to our planet to determine whether or not we are worthy of receiving their technological gifts.
Sounds silly, doesn't it? Like something that might have been written in the '30s or earlier. And, in fact, if you read the story just for the science fiction, you'll be disappointed. I suspect Barzman is not a scientificitioneer by trade. Luckily, what he gives us goes far beyond the basic plot.
(see more at Galactic Journey!)