(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

Essentially, the author’s message is humanistic. He takes, in Stephen Fisher, a typical product of the last quarter of the twentieth century, a self-interested, greedy businessman, and redeems him. This process is gradual and involves him adapting rather than simply transforming. Part of the effect of the Spiral is to polarize Good and Evil, producing an improved Stephen but a deteriorating Lutz, as well as the wholly evil Invisible.

Chase the Morning is a literary romp, with Steve showing a surprising human side and low-level divine intervention. By the end, he has rescued an individual for whom he feels responsible and with whom he starts an affair. In The Gates of Noon he is in his late twenties. He is more successful in business and more discreet in his private life, but at the cost of not visiting for almost eight years the true friendship he experienced in the Spiral. Then the Spiral presents an unsuspected challenge and a solution to what appears to be a mundane business problem. In fact, it entails such heavy involvement with the gods that Steve actually has sexual intercourse with one, proving that he is still not truly discriminating. It is also a fight for the future of Bali and the lives of its inhabitants. Cloud Castles raises the stakes still further. Instead of menace to an individual or threat to an island, there is a conspiracy to take over the world. The Spiral also becomes more intertwined with Steve’s...

(The entire section is 436 words.)