Picture a Terran-colonized galaxy... perhaps four, five centuries into the future, perhaps eight. Wormhole technology has facilitated hyperspeed travel; human and animal genome splicing has mitigated the rigors of colonization and exploration, but, save for unpleasant microbes, inedible algaes and tantalizing vestiges of civilizations risen and fallen millenniums past, ET and his home remain undiscovered. Humanity (pureblood, or “plud” or variously hybrid with other Terran fauna) is starkly, inexorably, alone.
Too rawthin bad! Meanwhile there's business to be done, money on the line, and... as ever, where pure or, even, adulterated humanity interacts... there are winners and losers.
The winners are the galaxy's political and economic elites: the transport, mining and vicelords whose wealth buys any depravity... from disposable child sex-slaves (including "pluds", at a higher premium) to reconstituted television signals ("chimes", the older the more valuable) retrieved illegally, and at considerable peril from the laws of both men and physics, from the perimeter of the great black hole at the center of the Milky Way.
The losers resemble those of today - menial workers, busted gamblers, derelicts, old folks with tapped-out pensions who crawl to Skid Rows like the Baawl, with its sterile, callous government offices, pawnshops, bars and cheap, shabby lodgings. Like the Andromeda Hotel.
Broonzy and Turpin are a couple of shiftless, ordinary hybrid starmen on religiously disturbed Captain Munson's cargoship Aegelweiss, detained on the nondescript planet nicknamed Doobydie or, simply, "Die" under the triple-suns local wits call Doobydoo. Cheated out of their wages, they drift... with the flotsam and jetsam of the galaxy... to the Andromeda, falling in among a rude (if picturesque) rabble, all dreaming of easy riches (the gambler and mastermind Rateyes, the corpulent, amphibious manager Gargareeva, old Mallah… who dreams of returning to Terra before death… various criminals, Old Believers and drinkers of the deadly Bah-roor, even the hotel's nosy, slum Boswell, "Al, from down the hall."
Surviving, barely (on their wits and Sailors’ Relief), under the dome on filthy, polluted Die beneath a constellation of humongous radiant advertising “ilaams” in low orbit around the planet shining through toxic clouds from the methane yards, the pair, abetted by Rats, Junkman Tony, the billionaire Arbatax and his tragic wife, Lyca, a one-legged hooker Quaia and her daughter, Marina, rehabilitate a junk boneship (a starship composed of strong, light human tissue), financing their appetite for spare parts with Rats’ gambling winnings and crimes including gunrunning, Broonzy’s hiring out as a hitman for an angry bus driver, Marge, and (once the boneship, dubbed the Marina, is navigable), flying upwards to siphon fuel plasma from a huge hemorrhoid-cream advertising ilaam. Taking on a corrupt chyme poacher, Dr. Kollucks, they attempt a daring crime at Bezend, the center of the galaxy; they come tantalizingly close to the mysteries of the ages, but meet that sort of fate customarily meted out to most little people trying to rise above their station.
BOOK ONE: “DIE!”
Have a glance at the current episode of our occult serial, wherein a young American encounters bizarre foreign artists and occultists – from Aleister Crowley and William Yeats to Alfred Jarry and a young, feral Adolph Hitler…
Follow the path of the dictator’s imperial army under the command of his mad General through the jungles of southeastern Mexico to the occult, ceremonial capital of its revolted Indians during the last successful Native American revolt a century ago in…