The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

The hero of Star Maker is an Englishman, known only as “I.” Comfortably married, he lacks passionate commitment. He is apprehensive of the rise of the Nazis in Germany, but the world situation pales against the cosmic panorama that soon engulfs him. From a hill near his suburban home, he is transported on a night journey into the sky. This expands to become an odyssey through time and space, to the alpha and omega points of the universe itself. First, he glimpses Earth from space, opalescent against a spangled ebony backdrop.

I discovers that through “sub-atomic power,” interstellar travels, rather than mere interplanetary excursions, are possible. He encounters many and varied alien beings. Some of their societies offer satirical perspectives on human ones. On an Earth-like planet, with a similar though still divergent evolutionary process, I meets Other Men whose genitals are equipped with taste organs. Their intense sexuality is sometimes sublimated by their mystics into a vigorous gustatory experience of God.

I’s travels continue through thousands of worlds, each with its singularities. He confronts “ichthyoids,” who are artistic and mystical creatures living symbiotically among “arachnoids,” who perform the engineering feats essential for mutual survival. Elsewhere, there are intelligent fish on planets composed entirely of crystal seas, and rational winged beings with brilliant plumage. Sometimes, a host of...

(The entire section is 481 words.)