We literally hit the ground running as we follow Raix and Klana's flight from both the law--the oppressive World Patrol--and the destruction of their home planet Zorane. They arrive at the bomb shelter Raix had helped remodel into a jury-rigged spaceship, just before the planet blows up.
Chapter 2: The Space Eight
Now in space, the band of eight displaced Zoranians adjust to life in a small living area. They have a monitor that shows their progress, jet thrusters to provide some speed, and food packets with a water tank. The chapter ends when they encounter a "space storm" that draws the helpless shelter inside.
After violent buffeting, they are ejected farther toward their destination, nearly crashing into Saturn. Later, they run across a space probe, and eventually approach Earth.
We meet the South Dakota couple who eventually becomes their hosts and protector, Nelson and Renée Howard. Renée wants children and Nelson doesn't, but when they go to bed during a raging thunderstorm, they hear something fall on their roof and roll off. It's the shelter, which lands in the yard next door.
The Zoranians have discovered the unheard-of has happened: somehow the space storm they had encountered had shrunk them to only four inches tall. Investigating the house in the yard they landed in, they discover a crotchety old woman and one of her two cats.
They fight off the cats while trying to keep the mean giantess busy, but even when they escape her house, their troubles are not over. The woman's nephew is mowing her back yard, and attacks them with his lawn mower. Their shelter is nowhere in sight, for the lad had tossed it over the fence, into the Howards' yard.
The next day, they explore Renée's house. When Klana trips over a mousetrap and breaks her leg, Renée finds her and splints her leg; that's how the other Zoranians decide she's the one they're looking for. Renée puts them up, only to find Raix's older brother Myton is against letting her take care of him. Meanwhile, the older neighbor Mrs. Parsnip learns where they are and vows to get them back.
Chapters 11-25Through the rest of the adventure, Renée protects her friends not only from Mrs. Parsnip, but from the police and a nosy reporter who works with her husband. Two pairs of the little Zoranians get married, frayed relationships are healed, Myton comes to appreciate Renée, and they meet the Howards' pastor and a visiting evangelist. Ultimately, all the main protagonists discover what the Zoranians had lived through is also what Earth is due for, though the respective prophecies play out a little differently. Earth is really the "exploding planet" of the title.