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When Commander Herries of the Space Line began to sell the water of Mars as a 'potion' for lengthening life he had no idea that he was going to create the world's greatest thirst and produce havoc among the two social grades of Earth - the Inelligentsia and the Normals. But produce it he did.
Among the confusion thus produced one man thinks clearly for his own ends - Vance Unthra, the leading scientist of the world - and he sees in the crisis which has hit Earth a way to be rid of all those who do not measure up to what he thinks as an intellectual standard. By his orders two synthetic worlds are created - Alpha and Omega - and to these are ruthlessly evacuated all the victims of the Martian water, there to rebuild there shattered fortunes and never cross the 'Dark Boundaries' which exist between those worlds and Earth.
Despite his careful planning, however, Unthra makes one mistake. In destroying the power of the Martian water over the evacuated thousands he miscalculates the strength of cosmic radiation on Omega with the result that the leader - the Controllix - of this world, Sylvia Grantham, becomes a far greater power in the grand scheme of things than her former lover, Dexter Carfax. Through the machinations of the wily Unthra open hostility breaks out between Dexter Carfax and the girl, and eventually their worlds are destroyed through the influence of a deadly chain reaction 'disease' from the Great Red Spot of Jupoter.
Both of them, however, through the various experiences they undergo, hold to one objective - to be avenged on Vance Unthra for his viciousness.
John Russell Fearn (1908-1960)John Francis Russell Fearn was born in Worsley, near Manchester, on 5th June, 1908. As a child he devoured imaginative fiction, beginning to write SF at the age of ten - in imitation of Wells and Verne - on a typewriter he was given for his birthday. Extremely prolific, Fearn used many pseudonyms. During the 1930s he wrote for magazines, including the US Pulp magazines, but during the Second World War he switched to books, becoming a central figure in the post-war paperback boom. He wrote numerous westerns, crime stories and romances as well as SF, most of which appeared under the names Vargo Statten and Volsted Gridban (the latter pseudonym being taken over from E. C. Tubb).
Altogether Fearn published 18 stories in the pre-war Astounding, and went on to write more than 100 other stories in all the leading American pulp magazines through to 1948. The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction notes that 'his best work is vigorous and occasionally vivid' and the influential British SF agent and editor, John Carnell, paid this tribute: 'Fearn was one of the Greats of the earlier ages, and his name should be there with Hugo Gernsback, John W. Campbell, Stanley G. Weinbaum, Murray Leinster, and all the others whose thoughts and works form ulated today's modern science fiction.'