BSFA Award nominee 1995.
The luscious and seductive southern states of North America and the mysterious universe of the Second Ether, where nothing is quite as it seems.
As Jack Karaquazian and his friend, Sam Oakenhurst, play out their days from New Orleans to Memphis, the draw of the Terminal Cafe is never far from their thoughts, for it hovers on the very edge of the Biloxi Fault – an inexhaustible source of electrical energy and of an unreality that threatens their world with entropy.
Jack and Sam, their lovers Colinda and the Rose, are jugaderos, the very best at their trade, enjoying a special status unthreatened by even the most ferocious and cynical of warlords. They live or die by a strict moral code, prepared to risk their sanity or their lives on the turn of a card, on the memorised reproduction of an electronic dimension.
The physical world breaks down into patches of colour, patches of chaos and patches of nothing at all as the pull of the Fault expands and the code on which the jugaderos base their lives is eroded. Colinda disappears gambling on a patch of colour for her own. Jack vows to find her. He and Sam move west towards the notorious Paul Minct, a dissolute whitey, and towards the fiefdom of the ruthless Machinoix, drawn deeper and deeper into the game of the Second Ether where the play is for nothing less than their immortal souls and an eternal future.
Michael Moorcock (born 1939) is a prolific English writer primarily of science fiction and fantasy. Moorcock's most popular works have been the Elric novels, starring the character Elric of Melniboné. In 2008 the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America named him as a Grandmaster of SF.