cover image PSYCHAMOK


Brian Lumley, . . Tor, $24.95 (318pp) ISBN 978-0-7653-0481-0

First published in 1985, this final novel of the Psychomek Trilogy (Psychomek; Psychosphere) features British author Lumley's trademark rapid-fire profusion of characters and horrific events colored with eccentric science. In Lumley's universe, aka the Psychosphere, inventor Richard Garrison's colossal, all-powerful machine, the Psychomech, can alter civilization, bringing the belligerent world into a state of happiness and peace. In particular, the Psychomech (whose mass of tubes, wires and pipes calls to mind a Frank R. Paul illustration for the old Amazing Stories) revives Vicki Maler, hitherto blind and dying of incurable cancer, whom Garrison placed in a cryogenic preservation tank. Unfortunately, the principle of balance, that everything must confront its opposite, eventually kicks in. Thus a lot of people are suddenly reduced to mad gibbering horrors, while Vicki is killed in an auto accident, but this time her body dissolves into a putrescent mess. Garrison, who has absorbed the psyche of others, also dies if only for the moment. Even Garrison's pet Doberman dies, but is restored from the Psychosphere. Villains include religious fanatics Charon Gubwa, a hermaphrodite albino who would be God, and James Christopher Craig, who will settle for less, considering the superfluous last five letters of his middle name. Craig even has his dozen disciples, his power deriving from PSISAC, an aspect of the Psychomech. Lumley's own disciples will relish this peculiarly engrossing mishmash and ask no questions. (Aug. 21)