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Reviews by Contributor: Chalker, Jack L. (3)

Adventure Calls

Exiles at the Well of Souls  (Saga of the Well World, volume 2)

By Jack L. Chalker  

14 Jan, 2024

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You


1978’s Exiles at the Well of Souls is the second volume in Jack L. Chalker’s Well World Saga.

The ancient Markovians’ technology gave them the power of gods, able to reshape reality according to their whims. While humans might not be able to duplicate that achievement on their own, access to abandoned Markovian relics allowed brilliant scientist Gilgram Zinder to reverse-engineer Markovian technology. Now he too can alter reality as he sees fit. Too bad Zinder is as naïve as he is smart.

Councillor Antor Trelig has a simple dream: become unquestioned ruler of the three hundred and seventy-four human-colonized worlds belonging to the Council of Worlds. At present, his talent for conniving and skillful use of drug-based blackmail has provided him with de-facto control of one hundred seventy-five worlds. Zinder’s discovery can provide Trelig with the rest.

Zinder has no interest in helping Trelig conquer humanity but Trelig did not get where he is today by caring what other people want.

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Nobody Callin’ On The Phone

Midnight at the Well of Souls  (Saga of the Well of Souls, volume 1)

By Jack L. Chalker  

26 Feb, 2023

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You


Midnight at the Well of Souls is the first of at least ten volumes1 in Jack L. Chalker’s Saga of the Well of Souls.

Having reached the stars, most of humanity settled into stultifying conformity. Archaeologist Skander is no conformist; he’s a visionary (and perhaps a little mad). He has stumbled upon a secret that he believes will allow him to liberate humanity by manipulating the (cue megalomaniacal laughter) laws of nature! That secret is found on Dalgonia, a backwater world littered with the enigmatic relics of the long-vanished Markovians.

When Skander discovers that someone else (brilliant mathematician Varnett) has stumbled upon Skander’s secret, Skander does the only reasonable thing he can do: murder every other human on Dalgonia. Or rather, he attempts to do so. Skander and Varnett grapple near a Markovian gate and find themselves teleported away.

Drawn to Dalgonia by a distress call, freighter captain Nathan Brazil finds seven dead bodies. Brazil and his companions (malevolent drug lord Datham Hain, Hain’s drug-addicted victim Wu Julee, and courier

Vardia Diplo 1261) find the same Markovian gate. Like Varnett and Skander, they are all teleported away. Far, far away.

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Feel the Way the Breezes Blow

Lilith: A Snake in the Grass  (The Four Lords of the Diamond, volume 1)

By Jack L. Chalker  

11 Aug, 2020

Big Hair, Big Guns!


1981’s1 Lilith: A Snake in the Grass is the first volume of Jack L. Chalker’s The Four Lords of the Diamond quartet.

The human Confederacy utterly dominates its region of the Milky Way. All known alien intelligences have been either subjugated to serve human needs, or where that was not possible, exterminated. Unbeknownst to the Confederacy, there are rivals. The first inkling the Confederacy gets that a new player has entered the game comes in the form of a failed infiltration of a defense facility by a sophisticated android double of a Confederacy functionary. 

The android eludes capture. The Confederacy lets it flee in a stolen starship (at the cost of some expendable red-shirt lives), hoping that the android will lead humans to the alien home world. The mysterious rivals have technology equal to or perhaps superior to that wielded by humanity. The fact they have not fallen on humanity zap-guns blazing suggests that the aliens are not certain they would win, even with surprise on their side. If the Confederacy can find the aliens, they might be able to crush them.

The android does not flee to the alien empire, wherever it may be. Instead it leads the navy to the Warden Diamond, human worlds apparently in league with the aliens. Human worlds from which escape is impossible! 

Dispatching an agent to the Warden Diamond will require a special agent and some extraordinary measures.

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