The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

In The World of Tiers, the setting gives rise to the plot. Tierworld is only one of four worlds dealt with in the series. It is constructed much like a gigantic wedding cake, with each higher level slightly smaller in diameter than the layer below it. At the top is a large palace where a Lord dwells. All the worlds in the series were created by various members of a family of gods, called Lords, primarily for the Lords’ amusement. The Lords all are envious of one another and extremely untrustworthy, and they all strive among themselves for power. This struggle for power constitutes the plot of the series, insofar as there is a single, unified plot. The series consists of adventure episodes involving two major heroes, two major heroines, and various antagonists.

In The Maker of Universes, Robert Wolff, a sixty-six-year-old professor who lives in Phoenix, Arizona, finds what appears to be a very old hunting horn. When he blows on the horn, a door appears, through which he is transported into another world, the World of Tiers. Such doors, called gates, are a key element in the series. When people or other solid objects go through a gate, they never know to which world they will be gated. The first object going through the gate may be chopped into pieces, or the gate may be no gate at all, merely a shining ring, a trick.

Early in the novel, Wolff encounters the heroine, named Chryseis, and Kickaha, an earthling whose father probably is one of the Lords. The rest of the novel is a series of escape adventures wherein the unknown Lord who currently occupies the castle sends underlings to capture the Horn, which has magical properties. The Lord does not capture the Horn, but he does capture Chryseis; Wolff, then, must recapture her. Readers eventually learn that Wolff is Jadewin, one of the most powerful of the Lords, having created the World of Tiers thousands of years ago. At one time, however, he transported himself to Earth and lost his memory. Ultimately, all the principal characters do battle in the castle. The Lord, who is found to be Arwoor, ultimately is killed, and the book ends.

The Gates of Creation begins as...

(The entire section is 892 words.)