A young man must deal with the consequences of a demonic possession—from the science fiction author whose “best writing is turbo-charged with ideas” (BBC).
In The Ladder in the Sky, a starving youth, trapped in poverty and with no hope of escape, is taken prisoner and offered up in an actual “deal with the devil,”—servitude for a year and a day in return for helping a resistance group free their imprisoned planetary leader. When he returns to consciousness, he is told that the devil has taken up residence inside him. At first, he thinks nothing is changed and he can take advantage of the situation but some upsetting surprises are in store for him. With an SF setting and a fantasy premise, this is one of Brunner’s best hybrids of action, magic, technology and suspense.
“One of the most important science fiction authors. Brunner held a mirror up to reflect our foibles because he wanted to save us from ourselves.” —SF Site
John Brunner started his career as a productive writer of Ace Double Science Fiction novels, sometimes writing both sides of the same double. He produced a wide variety of entertaining and well-conceived science fiction adventures before testing his ambitions with more and more complex and stylistically sophisticated novels. Among his triumphs are Stand on Zanzibar (Hugo winner for Best Novel), The Jagged Orbit, The Sheep Look Up, The Shockwave Rider, and A Maze of Stars. Although he wrote relatively little fantasy, he was widely acclaimed for a series of short stories collected as The Compleat Traveller in Black. Brunner also wrote mysteries, thrillers, and several well-regarded historical novels.