The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

Gene wakes up to find himself on a raft in the middle of an ocean. Because he is suffering from exposure, he does not remember who he is or how he came to be there. He is eventually rescued by a ship that resembles a Venetian galley. The crew and passengers on the ship are dressed in what appear to be old-fashioned clothing, mainly tunics and robes. He eventually remembers that he is from New York and that before he woke up on the raft he had been swimming at Coney Island.

On the ship, he finds himself caught up in court intrigue of this unfamiliar world. Sirwana, the beautiful princess of Nanich, is traveling to Koph to prevent Koph’s invasion of her country. She is accompanied by her two counselors, Kaspel and Froar. Froar tries to win Gene’s confidence by telling him how dangerous Kaspel is and then secretly tries to poison Gene. Gene soon discovers that Kaspel is loyal to the princess and to Nanich and that Froar is going to betray Sirwana to the princes of Koph as soon as they arrive. Kaspel tries to persuade the princess to turn back, but without success. He then persuades Gene to try to win the princess’s favor and then persuade her to turn back.

Gene already has begun to fall in love with the princess. He is young and handsome, and his peculiar manners have attracted the princess. Froar convinces Sirwana that Gene is only pretending to love her in order to persuade her to give up her mission. Kaspel and Gene are locked up, and...

(The entire section is 478 words.)