This page contains reviews of Christopher Stasheff’s “Warlock” series, and the series related to it: the “Warlock’s Heirs” and the “Rogue Wizard” series, which are direct continuations, and the “Starship Troupers”, “Saint Vidicon” and “GRIPE” series.
[This group of stories is referred to on Christopher Stasheff’s website as the DDT-verse. DDT stands for the Decentralized Democratic Tribunal, which is the government of the Terran Sphere, consisting of Earth and its allied colonies, during Rod Gallowglass’s time.]
[Note: Christopher Stasheff has also written a separate series “A Wizard in Rhyme”, which is independent of his “Warlock” series, and is not included in these reviews.]
Books in the “Warlock” series
Books in the “Warlock’s Heirs” series
Books in the “Rogue Wizard” series
Books in the “Starship Troupers” series
Mind Out of Time (collection)
Saint Vidicon series
Christopher Stasheff’s “Warlock” series is a science fiction series, but with strong fantasy elements. The author has done this by setting up a fantasy world, and then explaining it using science fiction terminology.
The series describes the adventures of Rodney d’Armand, alias Rod Gallowglass, who as an agent of the interstellar Terran Sphere, arrives on the lost colony world of Gramarye. His mission is to guide it to become a democracy, so it might become a member of the Terran Sphere.
What he discovers is a medieval feudal society, with a monarchy, barons, soldiers and peasants. In addition there is a relatively high degree of psychic ability in the population (telepathy, levitation, telekinesis, teleportation etc), but in the medieval setting this is interpreted as magic. The people with these abilities are referred to locally as witches and warlocks, and there is a lot of prejudice against them, from people without these talents, although they are now under the Queen’s protection.
To further complicate things, there is a fungus called witch moss, which under the influence of a projective telepath (not always intentional) can be formed into what the telepath is thinking of. Past activity of this kind has resulted in a race of elves coming into being (and once formed, they breed true), and other creatures of fantasy.
Rod soon discovers that he is not the only visitor to the planet. Two groups of agents – the anarchists and the totalitarians – have arrived by time machine from the future. Realising the pivotal part the Gramarye telepaths will take in interstellar history, each group wants to steer Gramarye society in their own direction. Rod must constantly combat the chaos they are causing – unrest, civil war, and attempted revolution. In the later books (in both the “Warlock” and “Warlock’s Heirs” series), Agent Finister emerges, a woman native to Gramarye, with powerful psychic abilities, but recruited by the anarchists to defeat the Gallowglasses.
Because of Rod’s knowledge of high technology and political science, and his possession of a robot horse Fess, he is soon known as the High Warlock, and becomes an adviser to the King and Queen.
Rod marries a local girl, Gwendolyn, with psychic powers, and by the time of “The Warlock Unlocked” they have four children (Magnus, Cordelia, Geoffrey and Gregory), each of whom have strong psychic powers.
What Rod does not realise for some time, is that the Catholic monks have retained a knowledge of technology within the monastery walls, and are also doing scientific research into psychic abilities.
As well as the main “Warlock” series, there are the “Warlock’s Heirs” series, and the “Rogue Wizard” series.
The “Warlock’s Heirs” series continues the story on Gramarye, but the focus has moved away from Rod and Gwen to their children, who have now reached adulthood.
The “Rogue Wizard” series follows the life of Rod’s eldest son Magnus, when he leaves Gramarye. Magnus travels in his spaceship Herkimer, searching for worlds where the people are oppressed by their overlords, and joins in their struggles.
The “Starship Troupers” series (straight science fiction), by the same author, is set in the same universe as the Warlock series, and describes events occurring before “Escape Velocity”.
“Mind Out of Time” (collection) is a collection of short stories, some of which are set in the Warlock universe.
The author has chosen some of the lesser characters in the “Warlock” series to continue in spin-off series. These are:
- Saint Vidicon, in a series of that name
- Dr Angus McAran and Yorick, in the GRIPE series
I found the Warlock series a fascinating series, with an interesting hybrid science fiction/fantasy setting. Also, the author has developed a detailed historical background. Initially I thought the spinoff “Rogue Wizard” series was a promising direction, but since I have found it a bit repetitive. I have enjoyed the “Warlock’s Heirs” series, which is set on Gramarye, but focusing on the younger generation. After the poorer books “The Warlock Insane” and “The Warlock Rock” of the main “Warlock” series, I think the series needed a change of direction.
Escape Velocity (1983)
This book is a prequel to the main series (written after the first few books), and tells the story of Rod’s ancestors, as well as the events leading to the colonisation of Gramarye.
Dar Mandra has been living on the former prison world of Wolmar. He and Samantha Bine travel to the planet Falstaff, and from there to Earth, but are constantly being attacked by unknown enemies who are under the impression they are dangerous telepaths.
The Warlock in Spite of Himself (1969)
Rod arrives on Gramarye and discovers the barons are about to revolt against the Queen. He must prevent the revolution. He falls in love with the witch girl Gwendolyn.
King Kobold Revived (1984)
[This is a rewrite of an earlier version called King Kobold (1971). The earlier book does not fit with the continuity of the later-written books in the series.]
The people of Gramarye are attacked by beastmen from across the sea. These beastmen have the Evil Eye, which freezes the defending soldiers in their tracks. All the witches and warlocks are summoned to combat them.
The Warlock Unlocked (1982)
The Gallowglass family stumble through a time-portal to an alternative universe, where magic really works. They rescue a boy-king from his tyrannical uncle, and have a brush with a vicious fairy duke.
Meanwhile, on Earth, the Vatican receives a message that Rod is about to acquire psychic powers of his own, and dispatches a priest, Father Aloysius, to give him guidance. Meanwhile, back on Gramarye, civil war is brewing between Church and State.
The Warlock Enraged (1985)
Rod didn’t just pick up psychic powers in the alternative universe, he also gained a terrible temper. The King sends him north to investigate rumours, and he discovers a sorcerer who is overthrowing barons, exerting mind control over the soldiers and peasants, and causing anarchy. Rod must control his temper if he is to defeat the sorcerer.
The Warlock Wandering (1986)
Rod and Gwen are ambushed and sent through a time-portal into the past. The story is very reminiscent of “Escape Velocity” as they find themselves on Wolmar, and subsequently travel to Otranto, and to Earth, having to be on the lookout for attackers all the way.
The Warlock is Missing (1986)
While Rod and Gwen are away, their four children are having adventures of their own. Accompanied by the elf Puck, the leprechaun Kelly, a unicorn and the robot horse Fess, they encounter a dragon, a witch, a sorcerer, a troll, a giant and gangs of lawless men.
The Warlock Heretical (1987)
The Abbot – the head of the Catholic Church on Gramarye – declares the Church separate from the Church of Rome, and announces that the King and Queen must be subject to him. It looks as if the conflict between Church and State is starting up again. People throughout the country have to decide where their loyalties lie.
The Warlock’s Companion (1988)
The Gallowglass family trek across country to take possession of a castle granted to them by the King. As they travel, Fess, the robot horse, tells them their family history: he has been with the d’Armand family for generations. Arriving at the castle, they discover it is haunted – and ghosts can be very real in Gramarye.
The Warlock Insane (1989)
This is one of the weaker stories. Rod is experiencing hallucinations, and feelings of paranoia, and being afraid he might harm his family during these apparent attacks of insanity, he wanders into the forest. Has he been drugged? In this state he appears to be in the land of his grandfather’s fairytales, and is joined by the knight Beaubras and the dwarf Modwis, as they rescue the Lady Haughter and combat the sorcerer Brume.
The Warlock Rock (1990)
This is another weak story, full of puns related to rock music, which don’t help, although the story’s resolution is satisfactory. Musical rocks have appeared throughout the land of Gramarye, and the nation’s youth are being enticed away from their homes and into strange behaviour. The Gallowglass family set out to find the source of the rocks.
Warlock and Son (1991)
Rod’s eldest son Magnus finds himself in a dilemma. If he leaves home, will the family be able to cope without him? On the other hand, can he really find self-fulfilment if everyone knows him as the High Warlock’s son? He rides off into the forest to work this out. Rod follows in the distance, to keep an eye on him – which is fortunate, because there are various unscrupulous people living in the forest: an evil witch, a seductress, and a self-appointed bishop ruling his village with threats of Hellfire and damnation.
The Warlock’s Grandfather (1992) (short story)
(Appears in “Mind Out of Time” (2003) (collection).)
This story is set in the time of Rodney d’Armand’s childhood, on the asteroid Maxima. Rodney’s grandfather, Count Rory, has relinquished control of the family business to his eldest son, Rupert, but now starts to behave strangely. He seems to imagine that he is in the medieval Court of Glancarte, in a setting like Earth, rather than the stark landscape of the asteroid. He also becomes a shameless flirt at social gatherings, causing the family much embarrassment. Rodney’s parents, Robin and Rose, finally come up with a solution, one in which Rodney and his brother Richard continue to enjoy the stories of Glancarte told by their grandfather.
As well as giving some of Rod’s background, this story provides the reference for his grandfather’s fairytales as mentioned in “The Warlock Insane”.
To the Magic Born (1986), also published as Warlock: To the Magic Born (1990)
- Escape Velocity
- The Warlock in Spite of Himself
The Warlock Enlarged (1986)
- King Kobold Revived
- The Warlock Unlocked
- The Warlock Enraged
The Warlock’s Night Out (1988)
- The Warlock Wandering
- The Warlock is Missing
Odd Warlock Out (1989)
- The Warlock Heretical
- The Warlock’s Companion
- The Warlock Insane
A Wizard in Absentia (1993)
[Previously I had this as part of the “Rogue Wizard” series, but the publisher’s information includes it as part of the “Warlock’s Heirs” series. This is consistent with having a book in this series for each of the Warlock’s children.]
Magnus leaves the planet Gramarye, and returns to Rod’s family home on the asteroid Maxima. Failing to find his destiny there, and having been given a spaceship called Herkimer by the family, he leaves and joins SCENT, the same agency to which his father belongs. The SCENT team lands on the planet Taxhaven, a world where the working class serfs are oppressed by the upper class. The SCENT goal is (as for Gramarye) to guide the world towards democracy. Magnus takes on the role of a mercenary soldier, taking the alias Gar Pike. (By the end of the story, Magnus has had a falling out with SCENT, and heads out on his own.)
[Magnus’s adventures continue in the “Rogue Wizard” series.]
M’Lady Witch (1994)
Prince Alain proposes marriage to Cordelia Gallowglass, but in such an arrogant way that she turns him down. Geoffrey, Cordelia’s brother, decides the prince needs to learn something about real life, so he and Alain set off on a quest. They rescue peasants from outlaws, kill an ogre threatening a village, and escort a damsel, Delilah, stranded in the forest. At this point, Cordelia, watching from afar, decides that Alain is paying too much attention to Delilah, and joins the group. But when the outlaw Forrest joins them, Cordelia finds it difficult to choose between the prince and the outlaw. And is Delilah everything she appears to be?
Quicksilver’s Knight (1995)
Geoffrey Gallowglass is a knight-errant, who travels the country righting wrongs. The King sends him to arrest the bandit-chieftain Quicksilver, who has taken over the land of a Count, with a band of outlaws. However, Geoffrey discovers that Quicksilver is a beautiful warrior woman, with psychic powers, and falls in love with her.
The Spell-Bound Scholar (1999)
Gregory Gallowglass is a wizard and a scholar, a seeker of knowledge. He is entrusted with escorting the witch Moraga across country to the palace, where she may join the Royal Coven. However, Moraga is in fact Finister, treacherous agent of the anarchists, intent on overthrowing the King and Queen, and to achieve that aim, she intends first to destroy the Gallowglass family. Her psychic attack on Gregory backfires, and as she lies unconscious, Gregory discovers he is in love with her. Should he kill her, or can she be healed of the anarchists’ conditioning?
Here Be Monsters (2001)
Allouette (formerly Agent Finister) has now forsaken her evil ways, through the help and mental healing of Gwen and Cordelia, and is now Gregory’s fiance, living and studying with him in their ivory tower. Then Allouette receives a vision of monsters attacking Gramarye. So she and Gregory set out to find the source of this threat. Not wanting to miss out on this adventure, Geoffrey and Prince Alain follow, followed in turn by Quicksilver and Cordelia. As they continue to encounter rare and dangerous monsters, they wonder whether a sorcerer is responsible for them.
The Warlock’s Last Ride (2004)
[Some lists on the internet include this book in the “Warlock” series, which is probably not surprising given the title. Chronologically it follows on from the other books of the “Warlock’s Heirs” series, so I think it’s best placed here.]
A triple wedding is held for Cordelia, Geoffrey, Gregory and their partners. However shortly afterwards Gwen falls seriously ill. Magnus hurries home from his space travels, accompanied by his female companion Alea, to see his mother before she dies.
After Gwen’s death, Rod mounts his robot horse Fess, and heads off into the forest, searching for the mystical land Tir Na Nog, where he believes he will meet his wife Gwen again. The rest of the Gallowglass family are trying to come to terms with Magnus’s arrival – will he try to take over his father’s position as head of the family, and give his siblings orders? Also Magnus and Alea have both had unhappy past experiences with the opposite sex – can their relationship develop beyond friendship?
In the meantime, the anarchists and the totalitarians are active again, stirring up both the peasants and the lords to rebellion against the Crown. With Gwen dead, and Rod off on his travels, can the Gallowglass family win the fight against the forces that threaten their world?
[Magnus is referred to by his alias “Gar Pike” (or just “Gar”) whenever he lands on a planet, but as “Magnus” when he returns to his ship.]
A Wizard in Mind (1995)
The planet Petrarch has a number of city-states, where peasants are ruled by aristocrats. The city of Pirogia, however, is run by merchants along almost democratic lines. When Gianni Braccalese, son of a prominent merchant, sets out on a trade trip, he and his men are attacked by a mercenary company in the pay of Prince Raginaldi, who wants to return Pirogia to aristocratic rule. Gianni enlists a mercenary soldier called Gar (alias Magnus d’Armand), to help fight back.
A Wizard in Bedlam (1979)
This book was written before most of the Warlock series. The author has obviously written several of the “Warlock”, “Warlock’s Heirs” and “Rogue Wizard” books in such a way that they lead up to this point.
On the planet Melange, the “churls” – the working class – are oppressed by the upper class lords. Dirk Dulaine returns to his home planet to assist the rebel leaders in the coming revolution. The churls, however, are waiting for the long-dead legendary outlaw DeCade to rise again. A mysterious visitor from off-planet – Gar Pike (alias Magnus d’Armand) – may be the key to their success.
A Wizard in War (1995)
Dirk Dulaine has joined Magnus on board his spaceship Herkimer, and they travel to the world of Maltroit. The nobles of this world are constantly at war with each other and the king, with the serfs suffering the worst from the conflict. Gar and Dirk, assisted by the runaway serf Coll, spend time with the king’s army, the outlaws in the greenwood, and a travelling troupe of players, building an underground movement for a revolution.
A Wizard in Peace (1996)
Gar and Dirk arrive on another planet, whose people live under the rigid rule of the Protector and his magistrates. On this world marriages are compulsory, and usually unhappy, and travel beyond one’s village is only possible with a permit. Gar and Dirk enlist the help of Miles, a runaway from an arranged marriage, and a group of insane individuals living in the Lost City, who are convinced they are aristocrats.
A Wizard in Chaos (1997)
Life on the planet Durvie is almost constant war between the bosses of the domains. Gar and Dirk join a mercenary company. But Gar has somehow offended someone, and the company soon find armed men attacking them without apparent cause. They take refuge in the Quilichen domain, where Dirk falls in love with Magda, sister to the Squire. When they discover the Fair Folk of the Hollow Hills, Gar comes up with a plan for peace and order.
[Dirk remains behind on the planet at the end of this story.]
A Wizard in Midgard (1998)
Gar arrives on the planet Siegfried, whose people have adopted the culture and religion of the ancient Vikings. The inhabited part of the planet is occupied by three nations: the people of normal size (the Midgarders), the giants and the dwarves. The Midgarders wage war against the giants and dwarves, and enslave those of their own people who are bigger or smaller than normal. Gar is captured and enslaved, but escapes, and meets Alea, a woman who has also escaped from slavery. Alea turns out to have psychic powers of her own, although not as powerful as Gar’s. Together they travel the land, encountering the various groups, and attempting to plant the seeds of cooperation.
A Wizard and a Warlord (2000)
Alea has joined Gar on board Herkimer, and they travel to the planet Brigante. The inhabitants appear to live a peaceful Neolithic lifestyle, with villages, farms and temples, but there seems to be no government. Gar and Alea wander the land disguised as peddlers. However, the outlaw warlord General Malachi is gaining strength, attacking villages, killing or capturing people as recruits, and has ambitions to make himself king. But the villagers who have not been attacked seem not to be concerned, relying on a mysterious Scarlet Company to protect them. Should Gar and Alea take action?
A Wizard in the Way (2000)
Magnus and Alea arrive on the planet Oldeira. Here rival magician-lords have divided up the land between them. The common people are serfs, working the land for the magicians, some of whom are quite cruel, using their powers to subjugate their people.
The magicians’ powers include ghost-leading (summoning and commanding ghosts), fire-casting, and wyvern-handling. (The wyverns are actually small dragon-like creatures indigenous to the planet.)
Gar and Alea rescue two young people – a girl called Mira, fleeing from a cruel magician, and a boy called Blaize, whose master had been killed by a rival magician. Blaize has the ability to communicate with ghosts.
Gar and Alea decide to teach the people the philosophy of Taoism – “the Way” – and its emphasis on harmony and balance. They set themselves up as sages on a mountaintop, with Mira and Blaize as their apprentices. Soon the curious serfs come to learn from them.
But the magician-lords attack, but Gar, Alea, and their apprentices manage to defeat them: Gar and Alea with their psychic powers, Blaize with his ghost-leading, and Mira with her newly discovered ability to communicate with and direct wyverns.
But to avoid further attacks, the four of them leave the mountaintop and make their way to the ruins of a city. There they find rival clans of outcasts, who soon accept them, and are keen to learn of the Way.
But then the magicians attack again.
A Wizard in a Feud (2001)
The ship’s computer is having memory problems, so they land on the nearest habitable planet, which turns out to have a lost colony of humans from Earth. The people have lost their high technology, and the former rule of law has collapsed, and they have returned to basic farming.
However, each clan is feuding with their neighbours – generally over some injury done them many generations before. With their flintlock rifles, there are constant deaths on each side of each feud. Gar and Alea are accepted as guests of one clan, as they assume the role of members of clans from far away.
Gar and Alea move on, but separately, taking on the role of traders.
Gar encounters an outlaw band in the forest. These are people cast out of their clans for suggesting that fighting and killing is not always the answer. A young man, Kerlew, from this band joins Gar as he continues on.
Alea, having learnt modern basic medicine from Gar and the ship’s computer, finds herself healing illnesses in the clan households she enters. She meets a Druid priest who tells her her proper role is as a healer. (The Druids and their gods had previously been the guiding force of this society, but now hardly anyone takes them seriously.)
But as Alea travels from one clan to the next, she is joined by a young woman, Moira, a Druid seer, who has foretold the coming of a man and a woman who will end the feuds. Alea and Gar want to do this, but how can they change such an entrenched way of life?
The story of the Rogue Wizard is continued in “The Warlock’s Last Ride” in the “Warlock’s Heirs” series.
This series describes the adventures of a company of actors who travel from planet to planet putting on plays. The story is told in the first person, alternating between the characters Ramou and Horace.
(I personally didn’t find the series as interesting as the other series in the Warlock universe.)
A Company of Stars (1991)
We Open on Venus (1993)
A Slight Detour (1994)
- The Warlock’s Grandfather (1992)
- The Martyrdom of St. Vidicon of Cathode (1982)
- Mind Out of Time (2003) (novella
Take Note: “Mind Out of Time” (2011) (Kindle Edition) contains only the novella “Mind Out of Time”, plus “Time and Tide”, an excerpt from an upcoming GRIPE story “Stealing Time”.
The Martyrdom of St. Vidicon of Cathode (1982) (short story)
(Appears in “Mind Out of Time” (2003) (collection).)
The story of the martyrdom of Saint Vidicon of Cathode was initially told in “The Warlock Unlocked” by Father Aloysius. It is also revealed in various places in the “Warlock” series that all monks on Gramarye belong to the order of Saint Vidicon.
According to “The Warlock Unlocked”, this story is set in the year 2020.
Father Vidicon is an engineer priest, who is normally called in to fix the technological equipment in the Vatican. He dies of electrocution while trying to maintain the broadcast equipment during an important broadcast to the world by the Pope. He is subsequently declared a saint and a martyr, the one that people call on for help when technical equipment goes wrong.
The Afterlife of St. Vidicon of Cathode (2004) (Published in the anthology “Masters of Fantasy” (2004))
On the planet Gramarye, the Abbot visits Sister Paterna Testa at the convent of the Order of Cassettes. Sister Paterna Testa is effectively the Mother Superior, but the Order has no official status. [Sister Paterna Testa and the nuns of her Order came to Rod Gallowglass’s assistance in “The Warlock Insane”.] The Abbot is willing to support the Order’s recognition and suggests that they have a legitimate claim. This relates to a monk who had rescued two of their original leaders. This monk had told stories of Saint Vidicon – in particular the story of his afterlife. The Sister tells the story to the Abbot.
After Saint Vidicon dies, he is dismayed that he seems to be descending to hell instead going to heaven. But then he concludes that God has a further mission for him before he ascends to heaven. He enters a Hellmouth and finds himself in what must be the throat of hell. He finds himself battling the forces of chaos and entropy – Finagle, Murphy (of Murphy’s Law fame), the Imp of the Perverse and the Gremlin. As he encounters each foe, he prays to God, and a suitable weapon miraculously appears in his hand.
Ultimately, it seems, Saint Vidicon assists God in the actual Creation of the Universe.
Saint Vidicon to the Rescue (2005) (novel)
The story “The Martyrdom of St. Vidicon of Cathode” (see above) is repeated at the beginning of this book.
The story of Saint Vidicon from “The Afterlife of St. Vidicon of Cathode” is expanded in this book (although the Gramarye elements are not included). Tony Ricci’s encounters with the Saint are inserted throughout the earlier version of the story. Another theme of the story is Tony’s developing relationship with the young woman, Sandy Clavier.
Tony Ricci is a computer troubleshooter. In one of his jobs he finds a virus consisting of scrolling text telling the story of the afterlife of Saint Vidicon, and finds himself transported to the place (the “throat of hell”) where Saint Vidicon is.
Saint Vidicon sends Tony as his agent to various places in the world in response to people’s prayers. Saint Vidicon generally remains in the throat of hell to battle the beings of chaos, but occasionally he has direct involvement in the problems of the world.
Tony finds himself in surreal environments – scaled down to miniature sizes and battling viruses, gremlins and other impish beings which make technological equipment go wrong. He even finds himself travelling back in time, and required to resolve a temporal paradox. [The time travel story involves an agent of Doc Angus, from the GRIPE series.] In return, Saint Vidicon gives Tony advice in his love life.
This book is a little discontinuous, as it tells a series of somewhat independent stories from the point of view of the people getting into difficulties, who then pray to Saint Vidicon to help solve their problems, with Tony Ricci arriving unseen to fix them.
The following stories are about Angus McAran (later to be called Doc Angus) and his time-travelling organisation GRIPE : Guardians of the Rights of Individuals, Patentholders Especially. (The acronym also indicates Angus’s feeling towards the future time-travelling organisations which stole his technology.)
Angus’s assistant is the Neanderthal man, Yorick.
Refences to Angus McAran and Yorick in previously published stories
Doc Angus and/or Yorick appear in a few places in the “Warlock” series, as well as “Saint Vidicon to the Rescue”. These appearances occur later in Angus’s life than the GRIPE stories so far.
- “King Kobold Revived”. Yorick is a significant character in this story – one of the “beastmen”, but a benevolent one. He talks a lot about Doc Angus (mostly referring to him by his nickname, “the Eagle”). Doc Angus himself only appears fleetingly towards the end of the book.
- “The Warlock Unlocked”. The message received by the Vatican about Rod Gallowglass getting psychic powers comes from Dr Angus McAran. Yorick meets Father Aloysius and briefs him on his mission, and gives him some of Doc Angus’s background.
- “The Warlock Wandering”. Rod and Gwen Gallowglass meet Yorick again on the planet Wolmar. Towards the end of the story Yorick takes them by time machine to Doc Angus’s base on Earth, where Doc tells them about his organisation.
- “Saint Vidicon to the Rescue”. Doc Angus sends an agent to China of 1863, during the Tai-Ping Rebellion, to prevent Charles Gordon from being killed. The mission results in a time loop. Saint Vidicon sends Tony Ricci to resolve it.
Mind Out of Time (2003) (novella)
(Appears in “Mind Out of Time” (2003) (collection).)
This story tells how Angus McAran (later to be called Doc Angus) develops the time machine, assisted by the Neanderthal man, Yorick.
Angus lives in America in the 1950’s or 1960’s. (There seem to be some contradictions in the dates.) He is a scientific genius, but his body is deformed, and this has resulted in him being a bit of a loner. He works for the company InterContinental Business Mechanisms (ICBM).
Angus first meets Yorick in the company lunchroom, where he is discussing with other staff the discovery of an apparent Neanderthal skull in Michigan, although Neanderthals are not supposed to have reached the Western Hemisphere. Angus has seen pictures of it and insists it must be Neanderthal. Yorick challenges him to invent time travel, to go back and prove it.
Using a meditation technique, Angus discovers he can separate his mind from his body, and travel through the fifth dimension. He travels back in time, and finds himself sharing the mind of a Neanderthal called Alasper. Alasper recognises Angus – he knows Angus’s future self, after he has set up his time-travelling organisation, GRIPE. In fact, Alasper is located in this time and place as a sentry for GRIPE.
Angus returns to the present and meets Yorick again. He discovers that Yorick is also a Neanderthal, and an employee of GRIPE from the future, and knows Angus’s future self. Yorick confirms that Angus will invent the time machine, and set up GRIPE, but it must be of Angus’s free will.
However, they will be opposed by the time travel agencies of the future regimes SPITE (the anarchists) and VETO (the totalitarians). [These organisations appear in the “Warlock” series.] These agencies have time travel technology because they have stolen it from Angus. But they wish to destroy GRIPE because of its support for democracy.
Angus’s mental travel in time has given him a sense of the nature of the fourth and fifth dimensions. As he starts to develop the time travel technology, he struggles to decide whether he should proceed with this development. But he is constantly attacked by enemy agents from the future, who are trying to kill him before he invents time travel. However, he is protected by Yorick and other agents of his own future organisation.
Draft GRIPE stories on author’s website
Christopher Stasheff has written draft versions of additional GRIPE stories, which he has placed on his website. Presumably these are eventually to be published formally in book and e-book form.
The main story is “Stealing Time”, which presumably will be published as a novel. The other stories, currently separate, will presumably be incorporated into “Stealing Time”.
These stories include:
- Recruitment of Ada Berkshire from Victorian England to be the company lawyer, and her education in 1970’s American educational institutions;
- Raising money by recovering King John’s long-lost treasure;
- Infiltration by a rival time-travelling organisation;
- Raising money by buying up unknown artworks from Vincent Van Gogh.