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The Janus Syndrome

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Published: 1981
Language: English
Wordcount: 92,356 / 265 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 85.8
LoC Category: PS
Downloads: 3,584
Added to site: 2007.08.01 17785
License: ©

"A freewheeling intergalactic agent trained to troubleshoot the hot spots of space... wild escapades that find him fending off the advances of a bevy of extraterrestrial beauties, fighting shoulder to tentacle with a madcap collection of alien companions... leading to an all out war against the deadliest beings in the universe -- a race known only as The Enemy."

(c)1981, 2007 by Steven E. McDonald. Originally published by Bantam Books, 1981.

Show Excerpt

ore from crawling on the sidewalk.

I wiped my hands down the sides of my pants and looked through the glass, watching for a moment. The cops weren't doing too well; a couple of them were stretched out, and the rest were simply blasting away with no hope of hitting him.

They needed a tactical squad, and, if my guess was good, one might even be gearing up now. They didn't know what they were up against.

I did.

I dropped down and crept back to Kerry, passing on the situation as I settled down. I added, "He's going to massacre those cops unless somebody takes a bomb to him."

She looked at me. "You're offering?"

"Well, you aren't." I picked up her jacket and ripped out two Bullets, passed one to her. "There's your ticket home."

"Hoo-ha, Area Fourteen is going to have words with me." She took the Bullet, held it up to look at it. "I wasn't supposed to have that needle-spitter, you know."

"Those Enemy cats weren't supposed to have those lasers either," I said,

Reader Reviews

Average Rating of 3.3 from 7 reviews: ****
JoJo Biggins

Language so foul I couldn't get past the first page.


Space pulp with a lively and entertaining assortment of alien characters. The book definitely grew on me as I continued reading. I found the ending to be both unexpected and interesting.

Rachel J

On the whole I'd recommend this- a fun space-adventure story, which is in fact pretty much as described in the blurb. As others have indicated, however the "twist" ending is a let-down, being a.) predictable, b.) pretentious and c.) basically a cop-out. Read it for the other nine-tenths of the story.


Started off reasonably well but then got all serious whereas I was reading this for a little space based light humor. Really didn't like the ending, maybe I'm not intellectual enough to understand it :)

R Stephan

The book lives from the main character and his tolerant attitude against all aliens. The rest is mad shooting, girls and a silly ending. Fits perfectly in the modern pulp section.


Looking at the cover you wouldn't assume there's much character development going on, but this is a pretty rich little story. The hero, Kevven Tomari, spends much of the book meeting odd creatures from around the universe and figuring out how to not get annoyed with them. It's a metaphor but a really fun one, with an imaginative cast. The actual plot is a run-and-gun space war with a heartfelt payoff. The first few scenes of the book are overwritten and even a bit hard to follow, but be patient; the author finds his groove. If your favorite part of Star Wars is the cantina scene, try this book.


Not sure if you'll like it? Imagine Jim "Black Samurai" Kelly in space. Does that thought amuse you or make you cringe? There's your answer.



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Author of the Day

Chadwick Wall
Chadwick Wall has written for the New Orleans Times-Picayune, the Sewanee Purple, the Riverside Reader, the Baton Rouge Advocate, and most recently After years living in many cities and regions, he counts himself lucky enough to reside in the laid-back yet vibrant, friendly and creative city of Austin. Here he spends many of his days and nights either holed up like a hermit, reading or writing away-or prowling around, investigating all of the live music, delicious cuisine, and cultural hotspots he can find. As our Author of the Day, Chad tells us all about his latest book, The Second Cortez.
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