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Damnation Alley : Roger Zelazny Library - Roger Zelazny

Damnation Alley

By: Roger Zelazny

eBook | 15 May 2013

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Hell Tanner isn't the sort of guy you'd mistake for a hero: he's a fast-driving car thief, a smuggler, and a stone-cold killer. He's also expendable - at least in the eyes of the Secretary of Traffic for the Nation of California. Tanner doesn't care much for those eyes. You'd also never mistake Hell Tanner for a humanitarian. Facing life in prison for his various crimes, he's given a choice; rot away his remaining years in a tiny jail cell, or drive cross-country and deliver a case of antiserum to the plague-ridden people of Boston, Massachusetts...if anyone is still alive there to receive it, that is. The chance of a full pardon does wonders for getting his attention. And don't mistake this mission of mercy for any kind of normal road trip - not when there are radioactive storms, hordes of carniverous beasts, and giant, mutated scorpions to be found along every deadly mile between Los Angeles and the East Coast. But then, this is no normal part of America, you see. This is DAMNATION ALLEY... Roger Zelazny's post-apocalypse novel predates the George Peppard-Jan-Michael Vincent movie vehicle by about a decade and represents the fine storytelling talents of one of science fiction and fantasy's most daring writers (likely best remembered for his imaginative Amber series). Speaking of vehicles: the coolest part of the movie--and likely, thankfully, the only part most people remember--turns out to be even cooler in the book: the flame-spewing, .50-caliber-bullet-belching, grenade-throwing, gigantic all-terrain vehicle that's responsible for getting a crucial antiserum shipment from Los Angeles to Boston to stop a deadly plague. The driver, a despicable lowlife named Hell Tanner, has been given a not-so-difficult choice. He can either get the drugs to the East Coast intact, save humanity, and receive a full pardon for his crimes, or he can refuse and spend the rest of his life in a "zebra suit." So what's the catch? Thanks to World War III, Middle America is now an electrical-storm-torn, heavily irradiated playground for dino-sized Gila monsters, "freak spiders," humongous bats "that eat off the mutie fruit trees down Mexico way," and 120-foot-long snakes as big around as garbage cans. And the native humans still scrambling around the wasteland aren't much less dangerous.
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