Doorways in the Sand
is a 1976 novel by Roger Zelazny
. It tells the story of perpetual college student Fred Cassidy, who has found himself a suspect in the theft of a priceless alien artifact. While clearing his name, Fred has to deal with alien abduction, telepathic plants, overly patriotic Brits, the perils of mirror-reversal, and — worst of all — administrators who are trying to force him to graduate.
This novel provides examples of:
- Ain't No Rule: Turns out there's no rule barring the university from awarding a PhD to a student who doesn't have a B.A. Over his objections.
- Benevolent Alien Invasion: Roughly speaking. It's not an invasion, and it's officially benevolent, but there are sinister behind-the-scenes aspects.
- Brilliant, but Lazy: Fred Cassidy.
- Clear My Name: Fred is suspected of stealing the Star Stone. Correctly, more or less.
- Cliff Hanger: Chapter 8 of the book ends:
But then everything was going to turn out all right, wasn't it? It always does in the various mass entertainment media.
I sprang toward Jamie, my arms outstretched.
His hand slowed in an instant's indecision, then swung the gun back toward me and fired it, point-blank.
My chest exploded and the world went away. So much for mass entertainment.
- Chapter 9 begins, "It is good to pause periodically and reflect on the benefits to be derived from the elective system of higher education." It continues in that vein for several paragraphs before returning to the question of what happened after Fred was shot in the chest.