Psychamokby Brian Lumley
Brian Lumley is an international horror phenomenon, with books published in thirteen countries, including China, the Czech Republic, Germany, Japan, Russia, and Spain. More than two million books have been sold in his Necroscope series alone, but that barely taps the potential of this wildly imaginative author. Lumley's horror often crosses the dividing lines
Brian Lumley is an international horror phenomenon, with books published in thirteen countries, including China, the Czech Republic, Germany, Japan, Russia, and Spain. More than two million books have been sold in his Necroscope series alone, but that barely taps the potential of this wildly imaginative author. Lumley's horror often crosses the dividing lines between fantasy and horror or between science fiction and horror. The Psychomech trilogy, of which Psychamok is the conclusion, is a perfect blend of science fiction, adventure, and horror, combining in a fast-paced whirlwind of a story that leaves the reader doubting the evidence of his or her own senses.
Richard Garrison was once a corporal in the British Military Police, until a terrorist's bomb destroyed his eyesight and his career. Repaying Garrison for saving his wife and child from the blast, millionaire industrialist Thomas Schroeder introduced him to the Psychomech, an amazing machine that could either gift its users with astonishing mental powers-or destroy them utterly.
Having successfully harnessed the Psychomech, Garrison discovered the Psychosphere, a strange plane of existence where mental abilities were all. Thought became intent, word became deed, and Garrison became like unto a god.
Two decades later, Garrison is utilizing his unique powers to explore the universe. On Earth, his son, Richard Stone, is happily in love, until his beloved falls victim to "The Gibbering," a plague of madness that destroys men and women by destroying their minds. There is no obvious cause. There is no cure. There are no survivors.
When Richard Stone himself is infected by the Gibbering, the mental powers he inherited from his father enable him to defeat the madness, at least for a while. Then, to his horror, Stone discovers that the Psychomech has run amok and that the Gibbering is the result! Even though the insanity it creates batters his struggling mind, Stone realizes he is the only man with the knowledge and power capable of destroying the berserker mind-machine.
The son of Garrison is at war with Psychomech. Who will survive the final
battle, man or machine?
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By Lumley, Brian
Tor BooksCopyright © 2002 Lumley, Brian
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For each force there exists a counterforce, and every action has its reaction. For darkness there is light, for day night. Time is measured in space and space in time, and neither may exist without the other. These are Laws of Nature which apply to all matter, to every living creature in every biosphere, and to every psychic emanation--every thought--in the great Psychosphere which encompasses all the worlds of space and time wherever life exists.
And the Principal Law is this: There Shall Be a Balance. For laughter there shall be sorrow, and for life death. That is to say: for every birth or emergence there shall be a life or existence, running its course and coming to an end. With time tipping the scales, even mountains die and turn into sand....
...Except that in 1952 a man was born on the planet Earth who would break that Prime Law. His name was Richard Allan Garrison, and his destiny was immortality.
* * *
Garrison's childhood was never easy, rarely happy. Life's knocks were hard; he was shaped on an anvil of pain. Finally the loss of his mother, the only one who ever cared or mattered, finished the job. Dipped naked in his sorrow, he emerged case-hardened. Cynical, a little--a rebel, somewhat--and bitter, yes. But not completely.
Garrison's flesh was weak as all flesh, but his will was unbendable. He had taught himself a trick: hecould take disappointments, hurts and frustrations, and absorb them, drown them in the deep dark wells at the back of his mind. A trick, a defense mechanism. One which would serve him well.
But there were other tricks in Garrison's mind of which he was unaware...until September 1972, in Northern Ireland. By then he was a Corporal in the Royal Military Police, a "target," as he and every other soldier out there thought of themselves. Boots and a uniform, a flak jacket and a Sterling submachine gun, and eyes in the back of your head if you fancy a pint in the mess tonight.
September 1972, and a dream--or nightmare--that persisted in bothering Garrison. A warning, an omen, a glimpse into a strange future, the dream had concerned a man-God, a dog and a Machine...and Garrison himself. And it had ended with a bomb. While its repetition worried him he could hardly hope to recognize it for what it was; in Northern Ireland many men dreamed of bombs. But Garrison's bomb was real....
Thomas Schroeder was in Belfast, too, on business. Millionaire industrialist, ex-Nazi, arms manufacturer, international financier, he was there with his aide, Willy Koenig, and with his family. Schroeder's young wife, their baby son and the child's nanny, had rooms in a hotel in an assumed "safe area" of the city. From there, upon conclusion of his business, they were to fly to Australia; a holiday in the sun. That holiday never happened.
Garrison was on duty when the bomb warning came, was there at the Europa when Schroeder and Koenig returned from certain "business" talks with the IRA (whose proposals they had viciously rejected) to find the building cordoned off and in process of evacuation. In an effort to get Schroeder's wife, child and nanny out of the hotel, Garrison had killed two young terrorists--after which he had been caught in the bomb blast. He was blinded, Schroeder crippled, the nanny killed outright. But Schroeder's wife and child were saved unharmed.
At the last, however, when the blast came, Garrison had expected it. He had known it was coming and also that it would blind him--as it had in his dream. He later remembered Schroeder's face from that dream, too--the face of the man-God....
* * *
In early 1973 Garrison accepted schroeder's invitation out to his estate in the Harz Mountains. There he became aware of the man's consuming interest in ESP and the "fringe" sciences, theories and beliefs--especially reincarnation and immortality.
Like any vastly rich man as he grows old, the German loathed and feared death's inevitability. His intention had been gradually to transfer his own mind and personality into his child. A man is after all "reborn" in his son; but Schroeder had been intent upon a far more substantial rebirth. Now, however, it could not be. The boy was as yet a baby, his mind unformed, and Schroeder was dying as a result of the bomb. If he had had ten more years...but he had not even one.
On the other hand, he did have Richard Garrison....
Under Schroeder's tuition Garrison began to discover and practice the hidden talents of his mind, finally coming to believe that indeed a man might achieve immortality! They made between them a pact, which was this:
If Schroeder could return from beyond the grave--if there was any way in which his psyche could subsume or Gestalt itself within Garrison's--then that Garrison would accept him, become host to another's mind. In return...
Schroeder numbered among his friends the world's greatest seer, Adam Schenk. Schenk plumbed the future for Garrison and it was seen he would become rich and powerful beyond all dreams of human avarice. But money and power were not everything, there would be much, much more. The future was never lucid, ever misty; but there would be...a machine, the Machine of Garrison's dream. And through the Machine his sight would be restored to him.
His pact with Schroeder was sealed....
During his stay in the Harz Garrison met Vicki Maler. She, too, was blind and already beginning to burn bright with a rare cancer. But they loved each other, however briefly and intensely, before he lost her. Since she knew she was dying--unwilling to burden Garrison--Vicki simply went away.
Within six months Thomas Schroeder was dead, and not long after that Vicki Maler, too. Schroeder was cremated; Vicki's ravaged body was cryogenically "suspended" at Schloss Zonigen in the Swiss Alps. This latter had been Garrison's wish and he had his reasons--even if he did not fully understand them.
Meanwhile, much of Schroeder's wealth had passed down to Garrison. Along with it came Willy Koenig, to look after the blind man as he had once looked after his beloved Colonel Schroeder; for Koenig believed that something of Schroeder had already found its way into Garrison. And there was also a dog: Suzy, a black Doberman bitch.
Years passed and Garrison married. Perhaps he loved Terri initially, it is doubtful that she loved him; there had been a man before Garrison and eventually she would turn to him again, though not for some years yet. He was the psychiatrist Gareth Wyatt, into whose hands had fallen a certain machine. A machine called Psychomech, a mechanical psychiatrist.
Wyatt was desperately in need of funds. His practice, once flourishing, was almost defunct; to make matters worse, there was a problem of a far more serious nature. Wyatt was a murderer. His victim had been the war criminal Otto Krippner who deserved death (even if he did not die for his crimes), and the weapon Wyatt had used was Psychomech.
Perhaps ironically, Psychomech had been built by Krippner, a man whose origins, background and ideals were as far removed from Thomas Schroeder's as the dark side of the moon. Krippner had been a psychiatrist in a so-called "remedial medicine unit" of the SS. Certain of his practices there had guaranteed his name's later appearance on the world's most-wanted lists of war criminals. Some years after the war, with the help of an organization known as Exodus, he had made his escape from Germany to England.
Wyatt, of sympathetic persuasions, had been recruited by Exodus in Germany while a student of psychiatry. When Krippner's escape was planned, Wyatt was contacted and instructed to "employ" the man and assist with his absorption into his new identity and environment. There was no way he could refuse (Exodus would take such a refusal very badly) but things would not be so bad. Krippner had been, still was, a brilliant psychiatrist in his own right. There was a great deal Wyatt might learn from him....
And so, after his many years of fear, flight and evasion, Krippner settled in to work--ostensibly as a gardener in the grounds of Wyatt's large but largely untended country home in Sussex--and at first he had seemed more than grateful. He displayed his gratitude, again ostensibly, by slowly constructing Psychomech in an empty upstairs room of Wyatt's house.
Psychomech was to be the culmination of many years of research and experiment, and through the machine Wyatt's fortunes would be restored to their previous standing. The German did not tell Wyatt that Psychomech was an unfinished Nazi project to create supermen--and that he, Otto Krippner, intended to be the very first of such!
By the time Psychomech was completed in 1976, Amira Hannes and her network of Israeli bloodhounds had already tracked down many of Krippner's contemporaries; it was only a matter of time before they got him, too. Exodus got in touch with Krippner, advised him to move on. Wyatt was also contacted, told to waste little time seeing Krippner on his way and covering the Nazi's tracks.
He did no such thing but used Psychomech to murder Krippner, weighed his body down and slipped it into a deep, dark, tree-shaded pool in the grounds of his home. This way Krippner could never be tracked down; Wyatt's connection with Exodus would never be discovered--
--All of which occurred three years before Wyatt's second affair with Terri Garrison.
* * *
In 1980 Terri arranged a meeting between her lover and her husband, and Garrison's ESP at once pinpointed Wyatt as a crucial factor in his future. In short, he "knew" that Wyatt was the key to the Machine, "knew" also that the psychiatrist actually had possession of Psychomech.
Wyatt was still desperately in need of money. He claimed that while Psychomech was incomplete and in need of much more work yet, nevertheless its potential was enormous. It would repay any investment many times over. If Garrison were willing to fund the project, he would surely reap a large share of the eventual profits. Garrison did better than that: he employed an expert in microelectronics to strip Psychomech down and replace bulky, obsolete and dangerous parts with new and compact high performance components.
When in 1981 the new Psychomech was ready to be tested, Garrison demanded that he himself be the guinea pig. This suited the illicit lovers very well. Their original plan had been this: that when Psychomech became a success, Terri would desert Garrison for Wyatt. They would manage a living on Psychomech's commercial earnings. But now...Wyatt had used Psychomech once to commit a murder. Why not twice? Terri's inheritance would be vast.
As for the Machine itself, Psychomech was supposed to function like this:
The patient would be caused to dream, to experience nightmares born of his own worst fears. This would be achieved by the stimulation of his brain's fear-centers. Psychomech would blow up his neuroses and psychoses out of all proportion, simultaneously supplying him with the physical (more properly mental) strength to overcome these fears. The conflicts within the patient's mind would be utterly real to him; having subconsciously "defeated" his personal, inner demons, he would discover upon awakening that the conscious manifestations of his neuroses were similarly vanquished.
And indeed the Machine might well effect just such cures--but that was merely a spin-off from its primary function, which was this:
That the subject's mind be utterly cleansed of all fear, and that his ego and potential ESP abilities--latent in all men--be expanded almost infinitely. So that he would emerge a fearless mental giant, a near-superman!
The mad dream of an insane Fuehrer? Perhaps...
* * *
Garrison went on to Psychomech on a Sunday morning in June 1981. Certain precautions had been taken to ensure that the "experiment" would not be interrupted; surprisingly, Garrison himself had been responsible for the arrangements. Willy Koenig had been sent on holiday to Hamburg; Suzy the Doberman pinscher--Garrison's "familiar"--was safely lodged in the kennels at Midhurst. Be that as it may, both Koenig and Suzy knew the exact moment that Garrison went on to the Machine, and they would later hear and answer his mental SOS when Wyatt tried to kill him.
Wyatt's method was simple--or should have been. He would magnify fear-stimulation to the full and cut the Machine's relief systems to their minimum. Garrison would be driven mad and the Machine would not be able to help him; its fail-safe would not function; eventually, in paroxysms of absolute terror, he would expire. The log of the experiment would be falsified, the controls reset. It would all be seen as a terrible accident; Wyatt would sigh, shrug and point out that Garrison had known the dangers, had known that Psychomech was, after all, only a prototype....
But Garrison did not go insane and he did not die. While his wife and her lover sated themselves, he reached out from his mechanically induced nightmares and took control of Psychomech with his mind, turning certain of the Machine's energies to his own advantage. The battle was joined, unendurable mental horror against almost limitless psychic strength! Something had to give, and because Psychomech was a machine that something must be the flesh-and-blood Garrison himself.
The pact! That pact he had made with Thomas Schroeder, dead these eight years. Schroeder was there now in Garrison's bloated nightmares just as he had been in that much earlier dream in strife-torn Belfast, and his plea now was that same plea he had made then: that Garrison let him in! Even Psychomech could not destroy both of them.
Garrison capitulated, freely admitted Schroeder into his mind, subsumed the long-dead German's disembodied psyche within his own id, his own being.
Hitler's advisers had envisaged a machine to turn ordinary men into supermen. But what would happen if the subject was a man whose powers of ESP were already honed to an extraordinary edge? What if, instead of one mind returning from such a voyage, a multimind should emerge--a psychic sentience expanded to almost cosmic proportions? Superman--?
Not God, no--not even a god--but a man with near-godlike powers. This was the Garrison/Schroeder which Psychomech had created. And this was the Garrison/Schroeder who freed himself from the Machine to find the lovers desperately, fearfully coupling in their bed--find them out in all their treachery.
Then...miracles and madness!
By the will of Garrison/Schroeder, Vicki Maler was brought from Schloss Zonigen to England and returned to life. But it was Schroeder's will alone which transferred the living cancer that killed her into Gareth Wyatt and Terri Garrison! And it was Garrison, humane as he had always been, who ended it by destroying both of them in an instant.
* * *
Outside Wyatt's house when all was done, Garrison/Schroeder and Vicki found Koenig waiting. Suzy was there, too, but she was dead; Wyatt had blown her part with a shotgun. No longer blind--golden-eyed and awesome--Garrison/Schroeder had looked at Suzy, commanding her that she be whole again and live. And Suzy lived.
And Koenig, too--the ever-faithful Koenig--he also was rewarded. He and Garrison/Schroeder embraced, and when it was done Koenig's clothes fell empty to the earth.
Then, as the house of Wyatt and all it contained melted down behind them and became slag, Garrison/Schroeder/Koenig, Vicki and Suzy moved on toward their futures....
Copyright 1985 by Brian Lumley
Excerpted from Psychamok by Lumley, Brian Copyright © 2002 by Lumley, Brian. Excerpted by permission.
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Meet the Author
Brian Lumley is the author of the bestselling Necroscope series of vampire novels. The first Necroscope, Harry Keogh, also appears in a collection of Lumley's short fiction, Harry Keogh and Other Weird Heroes, along Titus Crow and Henri Laurent de Marigny, from Titus Crow, Volumes One, Two, and Three, and David Hero and Eldin the Wanderer, from the Dreamlands series.
An acknowledged master of Lovecraft-style horror, Brian Lumley has won the British Fantasy Award and been named a Grand Master of Horror. His works have been published in more than a dozen countries and have inspired comic books, role-playing games, and sculpture, and been adapted for television.
When not writing, Lumley can often be found spear-fishing in the Greek islands, gambling in Las Vegas, or attending a convention somewhere in the US. Lumley and his wife live in England.
Brian Lumley is a Grand Master of Horror and a winner of the British Fantasy Award. His many novels, including Necroscope, have been published in more than thirteen countries around the world. He lives in England with his wife, Barbara Ann.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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Two decades have passed since Richard Garrison entered Psychosphere to cleanse evil from the planet. The world has surprisingly lived in harmony since as Pax Psychomech has descended on the Earth. However, the tranquillity ends when the Psychomech goes insane seeking balance in the differing universe. People become victims of the Gibbering, an irreparable plague of insanity and some die. Though Richard Stone uses the power he inherited from his father, the prime inventor of the Psychomech machine running amok, he has had limited success containing the disease. With the world out of control as the Psycho device makes an effort to return the planet to its normal state of equilibrium, villains such as Gubwa and Craig resurface leaving Richard wondering what to do next to end the Chaos Psychomech era of destruction. The reprint of the third and final Psychomech tales, PSYCHAMOK, is an exciting science fiction tale that will please readers of the series and those individuals who enjoy a world going amok. The story line is fast-paced, loaded with action, yet uses a mundane but practical climax. Fans of the books will relish this novel while newcomers need to start at the beginning to fully appreciate and comprehend the complex story line(s) created by Brian Lumley. Harriet Klausner