They stole the focus of futurity

New Worlds 142Ace Double

Ace double 441-78400, 1970
Bound with MASK OF CHAOS by John Jakes, cover art by Kelly Freas
Hayakawa, 1992 (Japan)

Expanded from the short-story "The Star Virus" (published in New Worlds no.142, May-June 1964).

B J Bayley's action-packed tale of the man-settled worlds of the Galactic Hub, where an ambiguous device could influence the fate of the universe.

Barrington J. Bayley may sound like the name some Eminent Victorian, but the young man who owns it is definitely in the 60s. Hiding his light under a bushel of pen-names, Bayley has written for all the British magazines since he was 15. Here's a tale of high adventure, romance and colour among the spaceways - which also has the subtleties of situation and character which modern sf readers demand.

art by Jack Gaughan "This complex and somewhat gloomy space epic, along with its successors, has had a strong though not broadly recognized influence on such UK writers as M. John Harrison; perhaps because BJB's style is somewhat laboured and his lack of cheerful endings is alien to the expectations to the readers of conventional Space Opera, he has yet to receive due recognition for the hard-edged control he excercises over plots whose intricate dealings in time paradoxes and insistent metaphysical drive make them some of the most formidable works of their type." - John Clute, Encyclopedia of Science Fiction

"An existential barrier surrounds the Galaxy, and the swarming tribes of humanity seek to transcend it. Bayley's first novel, a meandering space opera with its good bits ... but rather thinly spread." - Andy Robertson, Interzone

Barrington Bayley: "At the time I was writing him I also liked Rodrone, the main character of Star Virus, but I don't know what I would think now."