Night Walk (novel)

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First edition (publ. Banner)
Cover art by Frank Frazetta

Night Walk is a science fiction novel by Bob Shaw, first published in 1967.

Plot[edit]

Emm Luther is a planet ruled by a single, worldwide theocracy. It is evenly populated, and a couple of railroads run up and down the coasts of the largest continent. Earth sends secret agent Sam Tallon to Emm Luther to infiltrate the theocracy, and extract the coordinates of the jump points of a newly discovered world for the purpose of colonizing it, a closely guarded secret.

When the religious secret police discover he has false credentials, and has entered the world under false pretenses, a frantic chase and flight ensues, terminated only when they break down his hotel room, and a high-ranking officer Cherkassky erased some of his most valued memories with a frowned upon machine, this drives Sam close to mad and tries to kill Cherkassky, but after he closely survived and Sam is hurt from Cherkassky fires his dart gun into Sam's eyes, permanently blinding him. He is taken to a secret prison complex in the southernmost tip of the most distant continent to convalesce. While he is there, he enlists the aid of the scientific elite in the ranks and files of the political prisoners there, and together they design a pair of electronic "sonar" eyes. Equipped with an audio feedback system depending on which direction he turns his "eyeglasses" or headgear, he discerns a different kind of audio tone. The whole operation is funded by Helen Juste for her private agenda. After they create a better device Tallon and Winfield try to break out but while walking through the surrounding swamp Winfield gets hurt and ultimate shot by a heat-seeking turret guarding the swamp.

After this event Tallon travels across the diameter of the planet getting into trouble every few miles, and reaching his secret contact. Tallon manages to cross the single continent of Emm Luther, rendezvous with secret agents whose covers are not yet blown, and while he should escape the planet by boarding a spaceship and departing from the local planet, he falls in love and goes back for her. Later, he finds his ship is filled with police and he with a lot of sacrifice gets into the ship and starts a null-space jump into nowhere, warping him into a random point in the universe. Now blind since there isn't anyone in the ship he must master the intricacies of the "jump stick," a form of jump drive via portals to "null-space" (a hyperspace parallel universe passing through which instantaneous space travel is achieved). But little does he know Cherkassky is in the same ship, after killing him, he finds a mouse to function as his eyes. He solves the mathematical problems concering null-space travel allowing him to go where he pleases at a punch of a button, eventually reaching home with his enemy, dog and loved one dead. With this power he achieves world-peace and all is well.