The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

The Gap series is an ambitious work concerning sweeping historical change far in the future. It achieves dramatic urgency by focusing on the powerful emotions of a few key characters. Through Stephen Donaldson’s detailed, complex characterization, the reader is made to reflect on what humans may be like in the future.

Morn Hyland is the daughter of the captain of the pirate-fighting ship Starmaster, functioning as an operative of the United Mining Companies Police (UMCP). When the ship is attacked by pirates and her father is killed, Morn irrationally causes the ship to self-destruct. She is taken into the custody of Angus Thermopyle, an ore pirate who is the captain of the ship Bright Beauty. Angus brutally rapes and abuses Morn and inserts a zone implant into her body. The implant enables him to inflict mental torture on Morn. Angus is arrested by the authorities at the Com-Mine satellite, but not before turning Morn over to Captain Nick Succurso of the ship Captains Fancy. Before he disposes of her, though, Angus gives her control of the zone implant.

Morn feels liberated by her escape from Angus, but she discovers that she has only exchanged one master for another. Her one defense against Nicks domineering lust is that her possession of the zone implant is secret. Her vulnerability is heightened when she realizes she is pregnant by Angus. Morn is tormented by what she believes are her betrayals of her father and her service. She is also humiliated and degraded by her ordeal.

Nick and his crew are voyaging toward a convergence with the Amnioni, an alien species. The Amnioni are interested in genetically mutating humans so they may be more easily dominated. As Nick’s ship converges with the Amnioni, he wrests control of the zone implant from Morn. Using Amnion genetic technology, Nick arranges for Morn’s child not only to be born but to enter the world as a mature...

(The entire section is 796 words.)