The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

Wolfbane begins in the mid-twenty-third century. For 250 years, Earth’s population has been declining, from tens of billions to millions. The surviving millions live on reduced rations, lack creature comforts, and generally are cold. These difficult conditions followed Earth’s capture by an alien force, a vast cybernetic complex that rumbled out of space and replaced the Moon with its own planet. Planting a mysterious pyramidal object atop Mount Everest and dispatching nebulous “Eyes” to monitor its planetary prisoner for “ripe” human and mechanical food, the alien planet then steadily pushed Earth and its new binary farther and farther out of its orbit, beyond Pluto. Distancing Earth from its original sun, the aliens create a new sun every five years, thereby sustaining enough human life and yielding enough human-made machinery to temporarily nourish their own planet’s cybernetic complex. That complex indifferently grazes its way through the universe.

Earth’s human survivors have split into two groups. Citizen Roget Germyn, a banker from Wheeling, West Virginia, and his wife, Citizeness Germyn, represent those who have adapted and resigned themselves to the actions of their mysterious controllers. They have, in fact, ritualized their acceptance behind a rigid code of good manners—enforced by the death penalty—and five-year celebrations of the sun’s re-creation. They even have accepted the sudden and remorseless...

(The entire section is 458 words.)