The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

The world of the Spiral Trilogy is conceived of as multidimensional. Everyday life is lived in the Core, but some people slip into the Spiral, where legend and unpleasant magic mix.

Stephen Fisher lives in England and shows promise in the import-export business. Despite his wealth and success, his relationships are failed or trivial, and his life is meaningless.

In Chase the Morning, Steve is haunted by memories of the breakup with his only serious girlfriend, the Eurasian Jacquie. He decides to spurn his lonely designer flat and look for a restaurant in the dock area. Suddenly finding himself in an area of anachronistic masted vessels, he behaves with uncharacteristic gallantry in rescuing a man from a gang of bestial attackers. He thus meets Gyp, the Pilot, and is taken to the Illyrian Tavern as a hero for resisting the “Wolves.”

The next day, back at his company, an injury he incurred in the fight is fussed over by his attentive secretary, Clare, and he is supported by his respectful assistant, Dave Oshukwe. This existence seems unreal to him. He looks up the name of the key ship from the night before, the SS Iskander, and finds it on his database. When he discovers that the ship was active in 1868, he is hooked.

Steve returns to the Spiral, meets a colossally strong female pirate called Mall, and is attacked by a Dupiah smuggled by the Iskander. He, Gyp, and Mall defeat it, but he looks forward to leaving the world for good. This does not happen because the Wolves, alerted by his use of the computer to check on the Iskander, break into his office and kidnap Clare.

Steve has financial resources and can count on the support of Gyp and Mall. He hires a ship and an evil magician, Le Stryge, to pursue the Wolves. He succeeds in the Caribees, but only after becoming possessed by the loa of the voodoo god Ogoun.

The Gates of Noon is an Oriental fantasy. The increasingly successful Steve has taken on a Rotary Club obligation to transport some computer gear for a charity project in Bali. There it will be used in a program to irrigate the land and ease the prospect of famine. Even the resourceful Dave, however, has failed to penetrate unsuspected commercial and bureaucratic tangles. Steve flies to Bangkok to sort out the...

(The entire section is 954 words.)