Saturday 12 July 2008



(A Novel of 124,000 words)




Rebels at the End of Time. Insurrectionists of Earth’s Final Days. But are they the unwitting agents of the coming chaos - or the force that will provide ultimate salvation? They must journey to the lost Lunar City Of The Dead to discover the truth... about themselves, and about their doomed ‘Cluster’ of worlds...

BEAST OF THE COMING DARKNESS is a vividly detailed richly imagined Science Fantasy in the tradition of Michael Moorcock’s Elric sagas, Robert Silverberg’s epic ‘Majipoor Chronicles’, and Jack Vance’s ‘Dying Earth’ novels

BEAST OF THE COMING DARKNESS is a novel of the third millennium. Yet it is also one that makes real the mythopoeic dreams of Science Fiction’s lost worlds.

The novel stands alone as a single volume, complete in itself: but also forms the first third of a trilogy of self-contained but interconnected novels.

When, as an adolescent, I first began reading Science Fiction, I was seduced by rich poetic imaginings set in a Solar System that the advancing blade of science and the technological magic of long-range space-probes has laid to waste. The beauty of Mars as envisaged by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Stanley G Weinbaum, and Leigh Brackett - an ancient world of dead sea bottoms, planet-wide canals and fantastic cities, has receded further into impossibility. Just as the jewelled jungles, volcanic flame-belts and bizarre civilisations of Venus have been inexorably extinguished by the same process. Even asteroids and the tiny Martian moons once harboured a surrealist phantasmagoria of fictional life-forms...

As JURASSIC PARK resurrected dinosaurs, scientific potential now makes it possible to recreate the Solar System’s lost worlds...

With BEAST OF THE COMING DARKNESS I have written to the expectations of the third millennium...

The framework of The Cluster, its Last Empire, and its history, is internally consistent. It is grounded in science-based speculation and not fantasy (while drawing on the symbolism that gives fantasy its psychological lure). But the concept of The Cluster validates an unobtrusive sampling of the Science Fiction image-banks by setting various stages of the novels on worlds as mysteriously beautiful, as magical, and from the same continuity as those that seduced my adolescence.

Hence this first novel reaches its conclusion on the kind of Lunar surface that H.G. Wells’ protagonists of ‘THE FIRST MEN IN THE MOON’ would not find unfamiliar. The second novel uses the asteroid Ceres and a Mars reverted by future Terraforming to the conditions imagined for it by Nineteenth Century Astronomers like Percival Lowell, as its location. The third novel visits Venus before returning to Earth for the final confrontation.

...excerpts from ‘BEAST OF THE COMING DARKNESS’ have already appeared as works-in-progress and short stories in various magazines, while related short stories drawn from the same continuum continue to appear...


...with the aid of ARTANIS VAS KRATZ, GRENAMAN TAAD realises the significance of his, and ANSOR A-HYLCA’s journey through the TIME MARSHES. That significance lies not in their fragmentary and confusing conversations with the ‘Waterlords’, but in the things they saw and experienced during their journey. All of which are ‘clues’.
...ANSOR A-HYLCA is being held in the NAWS TENRAB Hold, where WAR CHAO finds himself increasingly repelled by the methods used by the ELECTOR OF MARS to extend CHLOREL ET-SNAAR’s life.
...DYESPAAR is using NAWS TENRAB’s experiments to infiltrate ‘FORTUNATES’ into BAAL-SHADAAM in preparation for a coup.
...meanwhile, MAREEH is contacted by TENGIZ MKHEDRIONI, former leader or her insurrectionist group - and former lover. Deprived of the signature drug imprisoning her in the corrupt imperial city of ASHIRI her memory returns, but such deprivation will also kill her.
...far from being the important revolutionary figure he has intimated himself to be ANSOR A-HYLCA was deliberately seduced and recruited - on MKHEDRIONI’s specific instructions, with the single objective of using his family connections to bring about the assassination of A-HYLCA’s father, who supplies narcotics for the routine interrogation, torture and control practised by the SPIRIT DOMAIN.
...rather than face death through drug-deprivation MAREEH absorbs through TERMINAL CONTACT into the ASHIRIAN OMPHALOS, where she is able to influence WAR CHAO through the COMMUNICATION GLOBE to release A-HYLCA (and GRENAMAN TAAD who is also, by now, NAWS TENRAB’s prisoner) in an attempt to destroy the ELECTOR OF MARS’ project.
...released from his duties in BAAL-SHADAAM by the destruction of his rival (NAWS TENRAB), ARTANIS VAS KRATZ carries ANSOR A-HYLCA and GRENAMAN TAAD to Luna, where - using the ‘clues’ from the TIME MARSHES, and DYESPAAR as ‘Trancer’, they discover the truth about themselves, and intimations of the imminent FINAL CHAOS.
...GRENAMAN TAAD decides at last to join ANSOR A-HYLCA in the continuing insurrection against the LAST EMPIRE as the AGE OF COMING DARKNESS begins...

‘BEAST OF THE COMING DARKNESS’ is a novel for the third millennium. Yet it is also one that makes real the mythopoeic dreams of Science Fiction’s Lost Worlds.

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