Stephen Donaldson was born in 1947 in Cleveland, Ohio. Between the ages of three and sixteen he lived in India, where his father, an orthopaedic surgeon, worked with leprosy sufferers. This inspired his fictional character, Thomas Covenant.
Donaldson served two years as a conscientious objector doing hospital work in Akron, then attended Kent State University, where he received his M.A. in English in 1971. He now lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Drawing on a rich vein of science fiction, Donaldson brings to a resounding, though not triumphant, conclusion his Gap series, begun with The Gap into Conflict (1992) and continued through The Gap into Madness (1994). The struggle between Warden Dios, director of the United Mining Companies Police, and Horst Fasner, CEO of United Mining Companies itself, reaches a climax here. So does the tension between the human race and the alien Amnion, exacerbated by human development of a drug that prevents people from being mutated into the aliens. Meanwhile, much-victimized Morn Hyland and her motley crew are heading for Earth and arrive at the same time as an Amnion warship. The first third of the novel wins no marks for pacing, but later portions pick up speed, with the final battles near Earth satisfying all requirements for logic, excitement and catharsis. Donaldson's usual weaknesses are in evidence: substitution of scenery-chewing and angst for characterization, and an abundance of prolix passages. Too, this volume may confound those new to the series. But it's a crowd-pleasing story told on a grand scale, SF adventure with a genuinely galactic feel. (Apr.)
Donaldson closes out his best-selling "Gap" series with this sf tale.