Information about the author.
Norman Spinrad made his biggest SF splash with Bug Jack Barron, whose 1967—68 New Worlds serialisation brought raging controversy which Michael Moorcock discusses in an afterword. It’s a quintessential 1960s novel, prophetically highlighting the irresponsible power of mass media and corporations.
TV megastar Jack Barron hosts the wildly popular Bug Jack Barron, a phone-in show that listens to public gripes and puts politicians and bosses on the spot—live. Naturally Barron pulls his punches for safety’s sake…until he tangles with paranoid…
About a hundred years from now, pollution, overpopulation, and ecological disasters have left the rich nations still rich, and the poor nations—the Lands of the Lost—slowly strangling in drought and pollution. New York City is below sea level, surrounded by a seawall. The climate in Paris is much like the twentieth-century climate of long-drowned New Orleans. And Siberia, Golden Siberia, is the crop-land of the world.
Still, for the international corporations and businesses who make a profit on technofixing the environment—the Big Blue Machine—it is business as usual: sell what you can where you can whenever you can. It is better to be rich. But it all may be coming to a terrible end: a scientist has predicted Condition Venus, the sudden greenhouse downfall of the entire planet—but she can’t say when.
So now the attention of the world is focused for a week on a UN conference on the Environment in Paris, where all hell is about to break loose.
In the Second Starfaring Age, humans travel the universe via a technology they barely understand, propelled by a space drive consisting of mysteriously complex mechanisms and, symbiotically linked to it, a living woman, the Void Pilot. Pilots are rare, and the ability to be a Pilot also entails physical wasting and a shortened life.
But Pilots live only for the timeless moments of Transition, when their ships cross the emptiness of space in an instant. Now Void Pilot Dominique Alia Wu has begun to catch a glimpse of something more, something transcendent in that eternal moment…and she needs the cooperation of her Captain to achieve it permanently. Even at risk to the survival of the Ship.
Norman Spinrad has been one of SF’s most adventurous writers since the 1960s, an internationally praised peer of such writers as Harlan Ellison, Michael Moorcock, and Samuel R. Delany. His stories of the Second Starfaring Age, The Void Captain’s Tale and the later novel Child of Fortune, form a single epic praised by the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction as “an eroticized vision of the Galaxy…an elated Wanderjahr among the sparkling worlds.”