This week’s Readers’ Choice selection comes from Friend of the Gateway and (clearly!) aficionado of great classic SF, Starman Dave. His choice is The Fall of Chronopolis by the criminally-under-appreciated Barrington J. Bayley**.
The mighty ships of the Third Time Fleet relentlessly patrolled the Chronotic Empire’s thousand-year frontier, blotting out an error of history here or there before swooping back to challenge other time-travelling civilisations far into the future.
Captain Mond Aton had been proud to serve in such a fleet. But now, falsely convicted of cowardice and dereliction of duty, he had been given the cruellest of sentences: to be sent unprotected into time as a lone messenger between the cruising timeships. After such an inconceivable experience in the endless voids there was only one option left to him.
To be allowed to die.
You can find more of Barrington J. Bayley’s work at his author page on the SF Gateway and, as ever, read more about him in his entry at the indispensible Encyclopedia of Science Fiction. Many thanks for sharing your enthusiasm, Starman Dave!
** Yes, yes, I know we’re biased – but, seriously, when no less a judge than Michael Moorcock calls him ‘the most original writer of his generation’, I think we can claim we’ve got a point!