THE SEPARATION is the story of twin brothers, rowers in the 1936 Olympics (where they met Hess, Hitler’s deputy); one joins the RAF, and captains a Wellington; he is shot down after a bombing raid on Hamburg and becomes Churchill’s aide-de-camp; his twin brother, a pacifist, works with the Red Cross, rescuing bombing victims in London. But this is not a straightforward story of the Second World War: this is an alternate history: the two brothers – both called J.L. Sawyer – live their lives in alternate versions of reality. In one, the Second World War ends as we imagine it did; in the other, thanks to efforts of an eminent team of negotiators headed by Hess, the war ends in 1941. THE SEPARATION is an emotionally riveting story of how the small man can make a difference; it’s a savage critique of Winston Churchill, the man credited as the saviour of Britain and the Western World, and it’s a story of how one perceives and shapes the past.
Rhavas is a good, holy, and pious man, as befits a member of the clergy. He is also the cousin of the Avtokrator, ruler of the Empire. Hoping someday to become ecumenical patriarch of Videssos, he was reluctantly willing to bide his time in one of the smaller cities on the outskirts of the Empire. Then civil war broke out, and the Avtokrator had to pull back the troops guarding the borders as he struggled for control of the Empire. Rhavas had to flee for his life as the fierce Khamorth nomads took advantage of the chaos and sacked the city he had come to love. He only survived because he accidentally discovered that he had an unsuspected power: Men often cursed each other – but Rhavas’s curse had the power to kill! Rhavas had always followed Phos, the god of light and goodness, Videssos’ own god, just as he had always despised Phos’ evil rival Skotos. Those who fall off the Bridge of the Separator during judgment in the afterlife are doomed to dwell in Skotos’ ice and darkness forevermore. But Rhavas has reverenced logic as well as goodness, and knows the power to kill with a curse cannot be an attribute of Phos. As evil swallows up the world, Rhavas, ever the logician, decided that Skotos is actually the more powerful god, and becomes determind to change the official religion of Videssos. But in the end, it is he who will be changed, and neither the world nor he will ever be the same again…
Stapledon projects two separate futures for humanity, depending not on the outcome of World War II but on the failure or success of a future “Tibetan Renaissance” to influence the temper and ideology of the militaristic empires that threaten it.
The planet was unknown¿ a savagely primitive place where every man had to kill every other man – or live as a slave. The inhabitants lived in the early Bronze Age one minute, and in the early Machine Age the next. Technology had degenerated into a number of mysteries jealously guarded by separate brotherhoods. But Jason dinAlt was a gambler. He realised that if he was ever going to get a winning hand in this game, the brotherhoods would need a shuffle¿
In plain English, at 4 a. m., a ray of light had been observed on the disc of the planet Mars in or near the “terminator”; that is to say, the zone of twilight separating day from night. The news was doubly interesting to me, because a singular dream of “Sunrise in the Moon” had quickened my imagination as to the wonders of the universe beyond our little globe, and because of a never-to-be-forgotten experience of mine with an aged astronomer several years ago…
The Lyonesse sequence evokes the Elder Isles, is a baroque land of pre-Arthurian myth now lost beneath the Atlantic, where powerful sorcerers, aloof faeries, stalwart champions, and nobles eccentric, magnanimous, and cruel pursue intrigue among their separate worlds . . . King Aillas of Troicinet defends the peace of the Elder Isles against both the Ska marauders who once enslaved him and the wicked King Casmir. While organizing the unruly barons in the frontiers of his land, Aillas goes out of his way to capture the lovely Ska noblewoman who once stung him with her disregard. When he gets separated from his men, his dream of forcing the lady’s recognition becomes the toil of dragging a defiant captive across lands governed by Casmir’s henchmen. Meanwhile, the world of magic has gone on the move. The concentrated malice of the witch Desmëi has manifested as a green pearl, breeding lust and envy and death; and a sorcerer in Casmir’s employ abducts the princess Glyneth, in a bid to draw Aillas and friends on a hopeless rescue mission across a bizarre and deadly alternate world . . . (First published in 1985)
The Lyonesse sequence evokes the Elder Isles, is a baroque land of pre-Arthurian myth now lost beneath the Atlantic, where powerful sorcerers, aloof faeries, stalwart champions, and nobles eccentric, magnanimous, and cruel pursue intrigue among their separate worlds . . . Prince Aillas of Troicinet is betrayed on his first diplomatic voyage and cast into the sea. Before he redeems his birthright, he must pass the breadth of Hybras Isle as prisoner, vagabond, and slave, an acquaintance of faeries, wizards, and errant knights, and lover to a sad and beautiful girl whose fate sets his bitter rivalry with the tyrant Casmir, King of Lyonesse. (First published in 1983)
The sequel to Last and First Men, Olaf Stapledon’s great classic work of science fiction. In Last Men in London the author follows up the themes of his earlier masterpiece in presenting a Neptunian ‘last man’s’ views on our twentieth-century world, views informed by the huge dimensions of space and time which separate him from our tiny contemporary world. Once again, Olaf Stapledon has been totally successful in creating a work of such stunning imagination and brilliance that it has taken its place amongst the classics of science fiction.
Alvin is a clone. One of four, all raised separately, all with unnatural powers. Terrified by their potential, their creator attempts to wipe their recent memories, their knowledge of the talents. But the process goes wrong, and all four are left with no memory at all. They see the world with brand new eyes. Sent to a remote research station, kept under the guidance of an intelligent ape, Alvin begins to recover his memories. Desperate to rediscover his brothers, he sets off to London in a desperate search for their creator. But when he is kidnapped by criminal apes, the trouble really begins.
The Faceless Man is a prisoner in his own palace. His power over the people of Durdane is in the hands of Gastel Etzwane, a youth whose thirst for vengeance against the dreaded Rogushkoi would be slaked only by oceans of their blood. For these invincible foes who threatened Durdane had taken and killed his mother and sister. To destroy the Rogushkoi Gastel would have to unite a world that survived only through its separateness. It was more than dangerous, but he had no choice. If they were to fight the people must regain control of their own lives. Only then could Gastel recruit an elite corps of the liberated – the Brave Free Men – to fling against the Rogushkoi and fight to the death.