Hell Tanner isn't the sort of guy you'd mistake for a hero: he's a fast-driving car thief, a smuggler, and a stone-cold killer. Facing life in prison for his various crimes, he's given a choice: Rot away his remaining years in a tiny jail cell, or drive cross-country and deliver a case of antiserum to the plague-ridden people of Boston, Massachusetts. The chance of a full pardon does wonders for getting his attention. And don't mistake this mission of mercy for any kind of normal road trip-not when there are radioactive storms, hordes of carnivorous beasts, and giant, mutated scorpions to be found along every deadly mile between Los Angeles and the East Coast. But then, this is no normal part of America, you see. This is Damnation Alley....
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You've gotta love to hate the 1977 movie Damnation Alley, a cheese-filled classic from sci-fi's cinematic canon. But there's at least one good thing you can say about this otherwise awful flick: it's prevented the movie's far superior source material from being forgotten. Roger Zelazny's post-apocalypse novel predates the George Peppard-Jan-Michael Vincent vehicle by about a decade and represents the fine storytelling talents of one of science fiction and fantasy's most daring writers (likely best remembered for his imaginative Amber series).
Speaking of vehicles: the coolest part of the movie--and likely, thankfully, the only part most people remember--turns out to be even cooler in the book: the flame-spewing, .50-caliber-bullet-belching, grenade-throwing, gigantic all-terrain vehicle that's responsible for getting a crucial antiserum shipment from Los Angeles to Boston to stop a deadly plague. The driver, a despicable lowlife named Hell Tanner, has been given a not-so-difficult choice. He can either get the drugs to the East Coast intact, save humanity, and receive a full pardon for his crimes, or he can refuse and spend the rest of his life in a "zebra suit." So what's the catch? Thanks to World War III, Middle America is now an electrical-storm-torn, heavily irradiated playground for dino-sized Gila monsters, "freak spiders," humongous bats "that eat off the mutie fruit trees down Mexico way," and 120-foot-long snakes as big around as garbage cans. And the native humans still scrambling around the wasteland aren't much less dangerous.
Damnation Alley might not be Zelazny's best, but for reading on, say, a road trip, you can't do much better. Throw in some '60s-style, freak-out closing riffs, and a trip down the Alley becomes pretty hard to pass up. --Paul HughesAbout the Author:
Zelazny wrote many novels, short stories, and novellas, including Nebula and Hugo Award winners "24 VIEWS OF MOUNT FUJI, BY HOKUSAT", "PERMAFROST" and "HOME IS THE HANGMAN".
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Book Description I Books, U.S.A., 2001. Trade. Book Condition: New. Square, solid, and unread, with perfect spine -- what more could you ask for? When you receive this book, you'll feel as though you've received a rare gift from one of Scheherazade's fabled djinn! You MAY even cartwheel with glee! NOTE: IN archival bag for protection. Remainder dot. Bookseller Inventory # 022678
Book Description I Books, 2001. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110743413172
Book Description I Books, 2001. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0743413172