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The Yorkshire Moors below Mickle Fell in August would seem a safe enough place to be, yet it was there that Richard’s old schoolfriend, John Sinclair, disappeared for 13 hours. Two days later, while bathing in a mountain stream, Richard noticed that a strawberry birthmark was missing from Sinclair’s back.

Climbing, music, ancient Greece and the year 5000 AD: all these play a part in Fred Hoyle’s far-reaching and witty science fiction book, which teems with arresting ideas. Its central themes are time and the meaning of consciousness; around them the author of The Black Cloud and Ossian’s Ride has spun a glittering web of adventure and logical surmise. In this world of dual personalities and shifting time scales it is entirely plausible that October the first should have been too late.

Fred Hoyle's World of Science Fiction