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There were countless books written about waging atomic war, and surviving in the blasted wasteland it would leave behind. The cover of the paperback is what initially drew me into buying this book—featuring a painting by Jim Burns that gets the time travel theme across very effectively, with a doorway leading from a reddish, blasted landscape into an alternate version of the same landscape with greenery and blue skies. Daniel Keys Moran born is an American computer programmer and science fiction writer who burst onto the scene at a young age with ambitious plans and produced some very interesting books, but has subsequently faded from view.

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The story was expanded to novel length in Armageddon Blues , his first book, published in , and was released as the first book of a planned series called Tales of the Great Wheel of Existence , though no other books in that series appeared. That may be because the Cold War premise of the book was rendered obsolete with the fall of the Berlin Wall in , as happened with many other fictional universes.

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Moran followed this first novel with three books in quick succession, with Emerald Eyes appearing in , The Long Run in , and The Last Dancer in These books fit into a series called Tales of the Continuing Time , which Moran planned to expand to 33 volumes. Those three books were full of the type of exuberance that I normally associate with the old-school space opera of authors like E.

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I was disappointed, because his writing was enjoyable and full of vigor. Research on the internet shows, however, that while he did suffer some health problems, Moran is still writing, albeit at a slower pace, and some newer works are available from small presses or in electronic format. I remember staying home sick one day and watching the movies Doctor Strangelove and Fail Safe back to back, and being depressed for weeks. That was back in the s, when fears of nuclear Armageddon played a bigger part in our lives, bleeding into all facets of popular culture.

The stagnant nature of the Cold War hemmed mainstream authors into focusing on tales with a smaller scope, as writing works that featured open warfare or a change in the grim status quo would have moved their tales out of the mainstream. Espionage or spy fiction became very popular, as portraying the shadowy struggle of intelligence agents behind the scene, keeping either side from gaining an advantage, was well suited to the times.

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One of the earliest spy fiction authors was Ian Fleming, whose James Bond launched not only a best-selling series of books, but a movie franchise that continues to this day. Later in the Cold War, books known as techno-thrillers became popular, mainly focusing on technology that might overturn the status quo.

Successful techno-thriller authors included Craig Thomas and Tom Clancy. Science fiction authors, on the other hand, were less concerned with exploring a stagnant status quo and instead concentrated on imagining all manner of ways that the Cold War could end, or what possible outcomes and endpoints might be reached if it persisted. The collapse of Communist governments throughout Eurasia and the fall of the Berlin Wall in ushered in a new era.

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There were extensive debates about what would come after the longstanding stalemate. After the end of the Cold War, there was a bit of consternation among fiction writers: No longer was the overall shape of the future predictable. Some of the venerable authors of the Cold War kept on, with their spy heroes simply facing slightly different threats in a familiar vein. Middle Eastern terrorists became a common foe in many books. And in science fiction, where authors prided themselves on their future histories, many found that their previous books had instead become alternate histories, no longer matching up with the past, present, nor the foreseeable future.

Some began steering away from the near future altogether in order to avoid writing something that would soon become obsolete. James Davis Nicoll recently did an interesting article for Tor. You can find it here. The book is built around various short vignettes that bounce back and forth in time. In the year , a woman pursues her runaway daughter into the radioactive wastelands known as the Burns. She brings the girl back, but dies of radiation poisoning. The girl not only survives, but eventually gives birth to three children, all mutants with silver eyes.

In the year , a young man named Georges Mordreaux is fighting in Verdun, and is killed by a German bayonet. He comes back to life, and surprises his comrade who had thought him only wounded , by talking about events he remembers from the s. They are of the Clan Silver-Eyes, and Jalian has the eyes that give the clan its name. They are a matriarchal society that, since men were the ones who led humanity into nuclear war, keeps those men in barracks, limiting their activities to manual labor and interacting with women only for procreation.

Jalian is obsessed with running away and exploring the Big Road. Jalian finds an alien spaceship in the middle of the Big Road.

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In , Georges drives down the Pacific Coast Highway. Each of the Londons has its own strengths and weaknesses, from the magic-infused Red London to the faltering White London to our magic-less Grey London to the dying Black London.

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What would happen if no one could ever fall asleep? Now THIS one was odd… but kind of endearing, too. Through extended testimonies from the crew, the backstory of the captain and the ship are unfolded and, ultimately, connected. Really amazing work that takes a rather unlikable character and gradually helps you understand his motivations and root for him. You are commenting using your WordPress.

By Charles Dickens

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