Literature / The Gap Cycle

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The Gap Cycle by Stephen R. Donaldson is a five part Science Fiction Epic, borrowing heavily from Richard Wagner's Ring Cycle. The setting is in a dystopian future where Earth is dependent on the resources of deep space and governed by a man who is in control of both the police [UMCP] and the biggest company in human history [UMC]. Most of the plot is driven by an Evil Plan of the UMCP director, seeking to undermine the control of the UMC CEO. The storyline follows several branches and perspectives which are brought together as more and more information is revealed about what is going on behind the scenes.


Contains examples of:

  • Actually Pretty Funny: After Warden frees Angus from all control and gives him everything in his secret database, Angus goes into a laughing fit, realizing the Irony.
    Its got to stop, he croaked at Davies as if that were the funniest thing hed ever heard. Its got to stop.
  • And I Must Scream / Fate Worse Than Death: Bio-retributive cyborgs are people not only enslaved with zone implants, but Body Horror cases where they've been completely altered. One poor woman has massive breasts that she cuts off against her will with a dull blade - on a nightly basis.
  • And This Is For...: Davies punches Hashi in the face, breaking his jaw in three places.
    Davies: Thats for Angus. He wanted to do it himself. But he was afraid you would fry his brain.
  • The Atoner: Warden. His Catch Phrase of "It's got to stop" is sincere. He acknowledges he's as responsible for the fucked up state of space exploration and mining as Holt. He even refuses to be completely cured of the mutagen, and tells Angus before he dies in an explosion to "tear [Holt's] fucking heart out", the only time he's not The Stoic. Angus naturally approves.
  • Axe Crazy: A small percentage of the population experiences mental disturbances called "Gap sickness" after going through hyperspace. Symptoms vary from individual to individual, but they usually add up to Axe Crazy.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Averted. Morn starts out as gorgeous but is a complete mess by the end of the books. However, she's moved beyond her looks by then.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: The Amnion are appropriately alien with a Hive Mind. They can't understand why humanity would reject their Body Horror gifts.
  • Cloning Blues: Poor Davies has the mind of a woman in the body of the man who raped her.
  • Consummate Liar: Hashi Lebwohl makes no psychological distinction between saying true things and false things.
  • Corrupt Cop: An unusual case. The UMPC is divided by those truly dedicated to justice and law (led by Min Donner), and the fact that it's not a governmental agency leaves it wide open for abuse by the higher ups in United Mining.
  • Dead Guy Junior: Morn gives her son the name of her father, because she's more than partly responsible for his death.
  • Driven to Suicide: Ciro, out of guilt of nearly killing everyone including his sister. Angus puts that self-destruction to good use in the climax.
  • Fiction500: Holt Fasner owns most bigger Enterprises, the Police and buys the World Governments' support whenever he needs it
  • Freudian Excuse: Angus Thermopyle's childhood was not pretty, and he'll do anything to avoid being in a position of being helpless again.
  • Gambit Pileup: And how. Everyone has their own motives and secret plans. Much of the fun in the books after The Real Story is about how people wrongly interpret the actions of others, especially after the reader knows the real reasons for their actions.
  • The Gloves Come Off: Doubles as Wham Line, when Warden tells Angus: "Ive heard how you justify yourself, Angus. Now I want you to hear me. Were facing a total crisis here. An outright apotheosis... Are you listening, Angus? Vestabule has his guns aimed at Suka Bator. If we dont do what he wants, hes going to give us a super-light proton vasectomy. Those words both free Angus from his programming, then gives him access to every single file in his database.
  • It Is Pronounced Tro PAY: Angus's surname is pronounced Ther-mo-pi-lay. He gets very annoyed when Nick calls him Thermo-pile.
  • Living Lie Detector: Warden Dios's prosthetic eye enables him to read IR emissions and detect signs of stress associated with lying. (As described above, Hashi Lebwohl has no such stress, so is unreadable.)
  • Meaningful Rename: As a result of the events, the United Mining Companies Police (UMCP) becomes the Space Defense Police.
  • Mercy Kill: Angus accedes to Norna's request for euthanasia, because being kept alive and immobile in a bed is particularly offensive to him. "I wouldn't do this to a fucking Amnion".
  • Space Is an Ocean: Also asteroid fields are dangerous reefs and starships manoeuvre much like sea vessels. Averted with hyperdrives and g-related issues.

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