The Earth and its neighbors were their victims

Ace pbAllison & Busby

Ace 441-20565-075, 1972, cover by John Schoenherr.
Urania 1972 (Italy) as "Dai bassifondi di Klittmann City".
Allison & Busby 0-85031-321-X, 1979, cover by John Harris, Young Artists

Outcast Klein was one of the "tankless" ones of the enclosed and self- sustained city of Klittmann. The inhabitants of that city survived by nutrient tanks, which came along from Earth when the settlers first landed on the dim, arid world of Killibol.

Klein was bitter, and made plans to steal a tank for himself - and anything else he could lay hands on.

It was when he allied himself with an arrogant, vicious tyrant that that he had second thoughts about the universe-strangling career he had launched himself upon.

In the huge termite-hills of cities that dotted the dead world of Killibol it seemed that nothing could ever change. Each city was enclosed and self-sustaining, in a stasis fixed by the one reality of power: the protein tanks in which organic nutrients could be reprocessed to provide food.

But gang-leader Becmath was a man with a vision: to build an empire for himself without breaking the stasis. His lieutenant Klein recognised Becmath's genius and stayed faithful to him even when they were forced to travel Killibol's arid surface in a desperate search for the lost gateway to Earth. He stayed faithful through murder, treachery and countless adventures. Only when Becmath's scemes reached incredible fulfilment was he able to realise that he had been serving an egomaniac and a monster...

"Something of a disappointment when compared to his precise shorter work of the time, it is still an engrossing story.." - Rhys Hughes

"It marks the start of a distinct fondness for writing about criminals and other low-life, perhaps mainly to act as thicko foils for the author's startling ideas." - Andy Robertson, Interzone

Barrington Bayley: "..it was probably after seeing Joe Macbeth that I started to write EMPIRE OF TWO WORLDS, whose gangleader, Becmath, is an obvious anagram. A few days ago I was at last able to see one of the films I'd never caught up on: Little Caesar. I was tickled to see Becmath in the flesh (or should I say in the celluloid) almost exactly as I had imagined him."