Before the dawn of the New Era, the world was divided into nations with separate governments that engaged in wars, and populations ravaged by poverty, starvation, and disease. After a final bloody conflict, a single government emerged and took drastic measures to control the dangerous overpopulation in the Organic Commonwealth of Earth: Each citizen is “stoned” in suspended animation for six days each week and closely monitored at all times. Thus, resources are plentiful, and there’s peace and prosperity—or is there?
It seems the World Council has been lying. Now, rebel daybreaker Jeff Caird and Panthea Snick, formerly of the organic police force, must risk their lives to expose the truth about the corrupt government and rally the citizens of Earth to rise up against the powers that are robbing them of their freedom—and their lives. But what will become of Jeff and his multiple identities as the struggle draws to a close?
The breathtaking finale in the Dayworld Trilogy reveals the truth about the perverse government of Earth in the New Era, and the ramifications of its fall, along with a deeper understanding of the man who dares to challenge it.
About the Author
His first published novella, “The Lovers” (1952), earned him the Hugo Award for best new author. He won a second Hugo and was nominated for the Nebula Award for the 1967 novella “Riders of the Purple Wage,” a prophetic literary satire about a futuristic, cradle-to-grave welfare state. His best-known works include the Riverworld books, the World of Tiers series, the Dayworld Trilogy, and literary pastiches of such fictional pulp characters as Tarzan and Sherlock Holmes. He was one of the first writers to take these characters and their origin stories and mold them into wholly new works. His short fiction is also highly regarded.
In 2001, Farmer won the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement and was named Grand Master by the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America.
Read an Excerpt
Running away was also running toward.
Duncan, sprinting across the rooftop of the tower, thought of how true that old Chinese proverb was. Wherever he went in his flight from the organic police, the "ganks," he would find others. They were a horde of locusts. He and Panthea Snick, his fellow refugee, were the crops the locusts meant to devour.
"Not if I can help it!" he said, gasping.
"What?" she said close behind him.
He did not reply. He had to save his breath. But his anger was not a thing to need conserving. It had long been a red tide building up in him, pulled by the moon of the injustices he had suffered. His wrath beat at his reason and discretion and threatened to smash them.
The low night clouds pulsed with the light reflected from the towers of Los Angeles. In all of the twenty monoliths rising from the waters of the L.A. basin, lights were flashing on and off and sirens were screaming like animals caught in traps. These were the last warning for Monday's citizens to go into their stoners. There they became as hard as diamonds, unconscious until next Monday. At eight minutes to midnight, only a handful of today's citizens would not be in their cylinders. These were the Monday-interim ganks who stayed at their posts until relieved shortly after midnight by the Tuesday-morning interim police.
Today's interim ganks had seen on the wallscreens in the precinct stations and the streetscreens the messages which Duncan had transmitted. Since the override circuits were still working (and would until the engineers found out how to stop them), Tuesday's interim ganks would also see the screen messages and the printouts. And so would Tuesday's citizens when they stepped out of their stoners.
Citizens of the World!
Your government has kept secret from you a formula for slowing aging by a factor of seven. If you had this, you could live seven times longer. The World Council and other high officials are using this to prolong their own lives. They are denying you this formula. Here is the formula.
Below this were the chemical formulae and the instructions for making the age-slowing factor.
The second message:
Citizens of the World!
Your government has lied to you for a thousand obyears. The world population is not eight billion. It is only two billion. Repeat: two billion. This artificial division of humankind into seven days is not necessary. Demand the truth. Demand that you be allowed to return to the natural system of life. If the government resists, revolt! Do not be satisfied with the lies of the government. Revolt!
Authorized message by David Jimson Ananda. A.k.a. Gilbert Ching Immerman. Also authorized and transmitted by Jefferson Cervantes Caird.
Duncan and Snick ran across the rooftop toward an access structure at the east end of the tower. It was over two hundred yards to the structure from the hatchway out of which they had climbed. They had to get there before organic airboats landed on the rooftop or the ganks who had stormed the suite on the floor below the rooftop came up the ladder.
Duncan stopped, breathing heavily, at the metal cube which was the access housing to the staircase. Snick joined him; she was breathing less heavily. They stood with their right shoulders against the door of the access house. He pointed up and out into the darkness westward. Whirling orange lights, faintly illuminating a dark form below them, were speeding through the air toward the rooftop.
"They'll land near the open hatch," he said. "They'll talk to the ganks in Ananda's apartment. Then they'll look in all the access houses. They know we came up to the roof."
She said, "They'll order the lights turned on up here. We'll have to get an airboat. It's our only chance."
He knew what she was thinking. If they opened the door now, they would be revealed in the light that would stream from the access-house interior. When the airboat ganks came, they would see them and would radio to those in the apartment on the level below to get to the staircase.
Duncan said, "Get behind here," even as he was walking to the blind side of the structure. She followed him just in time to avoid being revealed by the lights springing into being from the huge round kliegs set along the four-foot-high walls around the rooftop.
He looked eastward over the parapet. So far, there were no lights indicating gank airboats coming from the other towers. But Snick, peeking around the access house toward the west, said, "One's on its way. It'll land in a few minutes. Maybe sooner."
A moment later, she said, "They're quicker than I thought. One boat, landing by the hangar-room hatchway. Two ganks."
He visualized the officers getting out of the canoe-shaped aircraft. The light from the half-open hatch would beam upward, a beacon for all the other boats soon to come. The hatch slid horizontally into recesses in the rooftop. Below it was the hangar room from which he and Snick had climbed by means of a ladder. The room led to the huge apartment suite of his grandfather, World Councillor Ananda, whose real identity was Gilbert Ching Immerman. Ananda and his underling Carebara were unconscious and the only ones left living in the suite.
He and Snick had been unable to leave the apartment by the door that opened onto the corridor outside it. The ganks in the hall outside the apartment had barred their exit and were destroying the door so that they could get in. For all he knew, they might by now have gotten to the hangar room. He had to do something. Snick had the same thought. She put her mouth to his ear and said, "Now or never."
She had her proton-accelerator weapon in her hand, its bulbous tip pointed upward.
"You look around that side," he said, tipping his head to indicate the corner around which they had come. "I'll take this side."
She went to the southeastern corner of the access house, and he went to the northeastern. When he got there, he glanced upwards again to make sure that no second boat was approaching from the west.
What to do?
As the ancient Roman, Seneca, once said, The gladiator plans his strategy in the arena.
Where did that thought come from? Certainly not from the persona known as Duncan.
He stuck his head halfway around the corner. An airboat had landed six feet from the edge of the hatchway. A green-uniformed and green-helmeted gank was standing by the hatchway. The top of another helmet was sinking below its opening. One gank was going down the ladder to investigate; the other was standing guard. His back was to Duncan.
Duncan withdrew his head and looked behind him. Snick was walking toward him.
"You saw?" he said.
When she was by his side, he said, "We have to try to take him" — meaning the man standing by the hatchway — "and do it without his partner knowing it. When I say go ..."
He closed his mouth. A man very near him was saying something in a low voice, though it was much louder than Duncan's. Ganks had come up the stairs from the 125th level. Snick whirled, crouching, her weapon leveled.
Duncan's heart bumped in the night of his body, but he did not panic. He tapped Snick's shoulder. She did not look behind her; nothing was going to take her gaze away from the corner.
He whispered, "I'm going around the other side."
He walked away very swiftly, his gun ready. He was thankful that his ankle-high boots had soft soles. The gank by the hatchway was bent over, his hands on his knees, apparently saying something to his partner in the room below. Duncan hoped that he would stay occupied. Before Duncan went around the next corner, he put his head around it just enough to see along the length of the access house. A woman's voice had, meanwhile, joined the man's.
The officer by the hatchway was still looking down into its opening. Duncan walked very quickly to the next corner of the structure, stopped, listened, then jumped around the corner.
Snick had come around her corner a second earlier. The ganks were facing her, their arms held high. Both had guns in their hands pointed upwards. Nobody had said anything, though Duncan had heard a loud gasp just before he had rounded his corner.
Snick, speaking softly, told the two to walk to the blind side of the access structure. She said, "If you're thinking of starting something, my partner is right behind you."
"That's right," Duncan said from behind them, startling them.
When all were behind the structure, Duncan reached up behind the man and the woman and took their weapons. Snick told the two to face the wall and lean toward it with their palms against it and to spread their legs. They did so, their faces grim and their lips squeezed with fury.
Both Duncan and Snick had spoken softly because it was possible that the ganks' helmet radios had been open to the precinct station operator. However, the man and the woman had obviously been talking to each other, not to the radio. Duncan touched a fingertip to his lips to signal that they should keep silent. Then he went behind them and turned off the R-T dials on the outside of their helmets.
Despite the chilly air, the ganks were sweating. Fear was mingled with the odor rising from their bodies.
"Take off your helmets and uniforms," he said softly. "Down to the underwear."
"Quickly!" Snick said. "Or we'll take them off your bodies!"
The ganks hastened to obey. When they were done, they stood shivering. Duncan held his gun on them while Snick donned the woman's uniform and helmet. The female organic was larger than Snick, but the uniform material shrank or expanded to fit the wearer. Snick then held her gun on the two ganks while Duncan put the man's weapon in the belt inside his jacket. He handed Snick the woman's gun before putting on the man's uniform. Before he was half-dressed, Snick, her gun set at MED STUN, shot the two prisoners in the back of the head. The violet-colored rays spat from the bulb at the end of the weapon, and the couple fell. The woman's head bounced off the floor; the man's, from the wall of the access structure. When they awoke, probably half an hour from now, they would have several broken blood vessels in their brains and severe headaches.
Duncan quivered, startled because a man's voice had come out of the earpieces in his helmet.
No. AB, a code for the man propped against the wall.
Duncan turned the dial on the helmet's cheek-piece, and said, "AB here." He hoped that his acknowledgment was properly stated.
He looked at the big white location code painted on the side of the structure.
"No sign of the suspects," he said. "We're looking across the rooftop from staircase access-house entrance Number Q1, 15. An organic airboat is located by an open hatchway ..."
"We have that report, AB," the voice said. "Note this. Keep your posts by the access. Tuesday is on the way to relieve you. When they get there, report the situation to them, then proceed immediately to the precinct station. Do not go to your apartments. Report to the precinct via wallscreen. Then go immediately to the emergency stoners there. Repeat. You must be stoned at the precinct station. Clear?"
"O and O, AB."
"O and O," Duncan said, and he turned the dial on his cheekpiece to OFF.
Panthea Snick said, "I heard it all."
He looked at his wristwatch. "One minute after midnight. Maybe the relief won't get here right away. They'll have their orders by now, but it'll take them at least ten to fifteen minutes. They have to get dressed, and so on."
Snick jerked a thumb to indicate the man on the other side of the structure, the man who had been standing by the open hatchway.
"He and his buddy will be relieved, too."
"We'll take him right now," Duncan said. "Set your gun for EP, tight-beam. I'll use STUN. When we approach him, he shouldn't get suspicious. If he does suspect us while we're still out of STUN range, drill him."
The gank by the hatchway was now pacing back and forth, probably wondering when he would be relieved. When he saw Duncan and Snick, he looked briefly at them from two hundred feet distance. Then he went to the edge of the opening and leaned over, his lips moving.
Now the gank had straightened up and was facing them as they approached. He was sixty feet away. Duncan raised the gun, which he had slipped out of his holster and concealed behind his leg while the man was looking down into the hangar. The man looked startled, and his hand flew down to his holstered gun. The pale violet beam from Duncan's gun struck the gank in the chest. His mouth open but silent, the gank staggered back and fell on his buttocks. Duncan shot him again, this time just below the chinstrap of his helmet. The man threw up his arms and fell onto his back, his helmeted head bouncing a little at the impact. His eyes were open and glazed when Duncan got to him. Snick had run past Duncan to the edge of the hatchway and was looking down into the glaring light of the hangar. She straightened up swiftly. "No one there. His buddy must've gone into the suite."
Duncan had put the unconscious man's gun powerpaks in his jacket pocket.
"Let's go," he said. He stepped inside the airboat cockpit and sat down in the pilot's seat. Snick was seated behind him by the time he had placed the safety webbing around him and snapped its lock. He pulled the canopy shut over him, then pressed the illuminated POWER button to ON. The LP (levitating power) READY lights came on as soon as Snick had locked her webbing. He pressed the LP ON button and scanned the instrument panel to assure that all systems were ready to operate. After pushing in the FL ON button, he lifted the wheel before him, and his left foot pressed down on the acceleration pedal.
The airboat rose slowly and pointed toward the northern edge of the tower. Snick said, "Oh, oh! Ganks coming out of the staircases! A dozen places!"
He did not look behind him. He sent the airboat to the north toward the wall rising four feet above the rooftop. When it was cleared, he moved the control wheel forward. The boat turned at a steep angle as swiftly as he dared to take it. Though he had not turned on the craft's running lights or searchlights, he could see the pale surface of the Los Angeles basin. Its water shimmered in the reflected lights of the towers. Then he straightened the boat out, but it still dropped. The only evidence of the sudden and large power output that slowed its fall was the glow on the ERG screen. The hull smashed into the water with a jarring crack. It felt as if its back had been broken. His back, too. There was silence except for his harsh breathing. But no water was pouring from the floor into the cockpit.
"Jesus!" Snick said. "I think my spine's sticking two inches out of my ass!"
His fingers flew, dimming the instrument panel illumination until he could barely make out their designations. Deciding that even this was too bright, he turned it off completely. He sent the boat down into the water until only the canopy was above the surface.
Six airboats, their signal lights flashing white, orange, and green, rode in formation from the west. They must have taken off from the central tower, where most of the organic airboats were headquartered. Very quickly, the looming wall of the mile-high tower hid the boats. They were landing on the rooftop.
"They'll be looking for us in a few minutes," she said. "Just as soon as they can talk to the gank you knocked out and find out what happened."
"He won't have the slightest idea what direction we took."
His throat was dry. His voice grated like gears running out of lubrication.
"Well?" Snick said.
He twisted around so that he could look at her. There was not enough illumination reflected from the clouds for him to discern her face. Those big brown eyes, the delicate skull structure, small nose, wide but perhaps too thin lips, and rounded chin were hidden. The helmet covered her black straight hair.
"The electrical power distribution tower is southwest," he said.
"I know. I was there when you called up the region maps," she said. "That was ... what? ... three days ago? You said ..."
"I said it was where the ancient Baldwin Hills area used to be, before it was leveled and the power distribution tower was built on it. Let's go there."
He told her.
She said, "You're crazy! But I like it. Why not try it? It's desperate, but ..."
"It might work. Anyway, what have we to lose? They'd never anticipate we'd do anything like that."
"What's one more crime against the state?" she said. "Against the criminal state?"
Her voice, not quite as hoarse as his, sounded eager.
"The cannon'll come in handy," she added. Her tone showed that she savored the thought.
Excerpted from "Dayworld Breakup"
Copyright © 1990 Philip José Farmer.
Excerpted by permission of OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA.
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