Does it contain a warning?
For some, surely. It is one of those rarities which yields to the degree the reader participates in it; which gives back quantitatively what the reader brings in - but gives back something vastly different in kind. It is rife with horror that intrigues, with blood which somehow does not come off on one, with apparent sacrileges which may well be admonishments to those who have lost devotion. An oddment.
A most worthwhile oddment. Theodore Sturgeon. Here is a hollow sphere, with the living-space on the inside. Up in the middle of the sphere is the sun always, of course, directly overhead. Cull has an apartment in a tower of one of the cities; out his window he looks over the desert to mountains but the terrain curves upward, fading away into the distant "sky. While Cull must shave with a flint razor, he has the use of a telephone: Telephones in Hell?
Why not? They were the work of those who had been here before man, "demons. Yes, the "demons" had been there first. But as Earth's population of humans expanded, more and more of them it was supposed had died and come to "hell. Leaving for work, Cull notes that a falling stone has killed someone; he joins the expectant crowd. An ambulance comes to pick up the dead man.
Disappointment; "X" has not come this time. And people killed here didn't stay dead; the ambulance -- with silent, unknown propulsion -- took away the corpse but it was expected that within a few hours the man would be back, alive. All are naked in Cull's city, with the same age and body with certain exceptions as when they "died.
Diseases, insanity, have disappeared. Buy oddity continues to pile onto oddity, in this outre tale.
The reader cannot help but be intrigued, is forced to read on in ever-building fascination. What is going on here? What is going to happen? This is truly "a book that cannot be put down.
In the third story, Mr. Grandrith is portrayed as a much more believable wild man than Burrough's version. Paul de Kock was certainly not the author,  but he must have been one of the first, and he as certainly was one of the most effective and continuous, promoters of that curious caricature of Englishmen which everybody knows from French draughtsmen, and some from French writers, of the first half of the nineteenth century. I judge that the actual novelette begins with chapter 6, for those interested. They are drenched, with the generosity of a Little Leaguer toward hot dog ketchup, in Fantasy and it swirls and it sweeps and it's altogether indicative of the cyclonic spree that Farmer often breeds words in. Evil green, and very ugly aliens the Vogons who like to torture people by reciting bad poetry, I mean really bad Vogon poetry, resulting in captives welcoming death, rather than listen to another word It is unique.
In a remarkably few pages Farmer has created an incredible environment. Then, Cull arrives at work, answers his phone, and the game is afoot. Suffice to say that Cull and two others, after "X" is torn apart by a mob, go on a chase into the sewers, finally into and down an air shaft, and then Then comes the discovery that their world -- this "Hell" -- is artificial, a titantic ship! They can look out a port and see the stars. They manage to make it back to the interior. New earthquakes have flattened their city.
And then, they capture the "demon" who had fled with "X's" head; he admits that he is not really a demon, but an extraterrestrial humanoid. And he reveals that this "world" is controlled by powerful beings of great antiquity.
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The humanoid escapes, as more quakes come, the a "final" cataclysm; gravitational attraction ebbs and everything floats freely into the inner void. Eventually, Cull and his two friends drift into a large mass of stone, tubing, etc. Cull finds that he can use certain discs to create duplicate "X's. We are not just interested in our own kind and its preservations Things, though, are not quite as simple as you might suppose.
The ancient race of Immortals has set up "soul" stations throughout all creation, supplying souls to all creatures because if left to their natural fate, death would bring total obliteration. This "Hell" is one such station, its occupants being ethically conditioned while awaiting the births of the creatures to whom they'll become attached. And how much of Farmer's explanations for this setup will parallel his final "Riverworld" explanations?
Will his background Immortals-Ethicals here be behind the setup there? But all Riverworld addicts will want to -- must! It may very well give you at least a hint of what is to come.
Edward C. Books Received: Avon Equinox , March, pp. Farmer was obviously tinkering with the Riverworld series when he wrote this and it contains all the concepts he used later plus an actual ending that pretty well explains things to some degree. The cover by Jack Wyrs in impressionistic of something. Heinlein, throughout the course of their respective careers in SF, have had a fascination with the idea of immortality and the transmigration of souls.
Inside Outside is another. Jack Cull lives in Hell, which is populated by resurrected humans and demons and ruled over by The Authorities. He remembers his life on Earth vaguely and has adapted to his hellish existence by getting a job with the local equivalent of Bell Telephone combined with the Secret Service. Hell is much like Earth, except for the demons and the periodic earthquakes.
And the fact that no one knows quite what is going on - it may be Purgatory, not Hell, for instance. So Jack, Phyllis and Fyodor who may or may not be a Russian writer whose last name is Dostoievsky set out on a journey into the bowels of Hell to track down the mysterious X, who may or may not be Christ, still in hell, because -- oh, never mind. If this is beginning to sound a bit like Riverworld, well, it is. A fact that illuminates Farmer's career as a writer is that Riverworld was originally a single book, written in the s -Farmer's first SF novel.
He won a prize for it from a publisher that promptly went out of business and didn't pay him. Riverworld remained unpublished until the s, when Farmer began to re-write it as stories and novels. Meanwhile, it must have struck him that he could do a kind of Riverworld in reverse in Inside Outside. The world is actually the inside of a spherical shell in space, with an unmoving light source that dims regularly at night. Jack and his companions discover that humans and demons alike are prisoners.
Then, in a final switch, the transmigration of souls is explained and the whole thing turns out to be different than we thought - but that need not be given away here. Inside Outside is a justifiable SF rediscovery - original, sloppy, provocative, hard to classify - a Farmer novel. It is one of those SF books that is better in the seventies somehow than when it came out in And a pleasant way to pass the time until we get the final novel in the Riverworld series next year. David G. Berkley Paperback, pp.
Jack Cull jackal , a sexy lady and a character that's supposed to be Fyodor Dostoevsky but comes out more like Mr. Natural, are caught up in a revolution that literally sweeps Hell off its foundations. Fast paced and gripping despite plenty of "theological" small talk between Cull and Fyodor, Farmer's short novel starts out as pure fantasy but ends up science fiction if you can buy the all-powerful pseudo-science that's revealed in the end.
Jack Cull is convincing enough and Fyodor is an amusing cartoon, but the sexy lady is so nondescript as to be nonexistent. Too bad Farmer didn't make her at least as real as Cull -- if he had this would be an outstanding novel than just above average. New introduction by Lou Stathis. This library edition, offset from the original text, is the first hardcover edition.
Pyramid, R , pp. The Ultimate Weapon is set off on Earth, effectively obliterating life. An intra-Soviet struggle between the American and other remaining factions of the survivors on Luna begins, while hanging over the Soviets' heads is the knowledge that the Axis fleet was in space, probably near Mars, at the time of holocaust. The book is notable only for the interrelations of the characters; the science is not explained and the future society is not as fully developed as it could be. A good time-passer, but not memorable. Robert W.
The idea upon which the story is based is by far the most interesting thing in the book: a variety of Terran colonies on the moon and elsewhere continue to exist after a devastating nuclear war, and carry on the hostilities of their parent societies. But Farmer does little with the idea after presenting it, and the novel sort of drags along for pages.