"Containment" is one of the most cerebral novels I've read in a long, long time. The joy of the novel is in defining and resolving problems of planetary colonization. On a more basic level, the novel describes how to think both creatively and scientifically. I'm not a scientist, but the physics appear to be quite solid and well-founded. For this accomplishment, and its rarity, the novel deserves four stars.
Switching to the right side of my brain, no --- wait --- the left is not finished: The plot is also commendable, with enjoyable twists and puzzles that rival other four-star novels. And, the writing was unobtrusive, if not inspired.
Okay. The right hemisphere speaks: all those explanations (pages and pages) were inserted throughout the story in a way that interfered with the story's flow, strangling actual action and dialogue. The events and revelation should have been highly dramatic, but weren't -- for me. Actually, I'm a bit upset about that. Cerebral (even non-human) characters can evoke empathy, and tears. With all the intelligence in this novel, further study on character development, creative prose, and sparkling dialogue, could have made this novel top notch. I don't mean to sound harsh. This is a good read for the scientifically curious. I'm glad I picked it up.