From the Garlowe Clusters in the north to the Veils of Darkness in the south, the Star Kingdom sprawled over roughly a fifth of the galaxy. But the onslaught of a roving region of peculiar pseudo-energy threatened this stellar empire with civil war . . . and annihilation!
From the Garlowe Clusters in the north to the Veils of Darkness in the south, the Star Kingdom sprawled over roughly a fifth of the galaxy. So huge was this realm that those who tussled for power over it seemed unable to appreciate that it faced annihilation by the Patch, a roving region of peculiar pseudo-energy a light-year across which drained the life-force from any living thing it encountered.
The Patch had moved into the Kingdom and was systematically feeding on system after system. Cynically unperturbed by the appalling loss of life, the royal houses merely tried to involve the Patch in their machinations, to the extent that civil war broke out all over again. But in the event, the Patch was to provide the crucial factor in the struggle for absolute power. The Annihilation Factor!
Barrington J. Bayley (1937-2008) was born in Birmingham and began writing science fiction in his early teens. After serving in the RAF, he took up freelance writing on features, serials and picture strips, mostly in the juvenile field, before returning to straight SF. He was a regular contributor to the influential NEW WORLDS magazine and an early voice in the New Wave movement.