|Cover artist||Jack Gaughan|
|Publisher||G.P. Putnam's Sons|
|Media type||Print (hardback & paperback)|
The story opens in a post-apocalyptic Southern California, in a hellish world shattered by nuclear war decades before. Several police states have emerged in place of the former United States. Hurricane-force winds above five hundred feet prevent any sort of air travel from one state to the next, and sudden, violent, and unpredictable "garbage storms" and giant, mutated animals and insects make day-to-day life a mini-hell. Hell Tanner, an imprisoned killer, is offered a full pardon in exchange for taking on a suicide mission—a drive through "Damnation Alley" across a ruined America from Los Angeles to Boston—as one of three Landmaster vehicles attempting to deliver an urgently needed plague vaccine.
Barry Malzberg found the book "an interesting novella converted to an unfortunate novel," faulting it as "a mechanical, simply transposed action-adventure story written, in my view, at the bottom of the man's talent." Zelazny himself agreed with Malzberg, stating that he preferred the novella and only expanded it at his agent's request to make it more viable for a movie deal.
In 1977, a film loosely based on the novel was directed by Jack Smight. Roger Zelazny liked the original script by Lukas Heller, which was more faithful to his book, and expected that to be the filmed version; he did not realize until he saw it in the theater that the shooting script (by Alan Sharp) was vastly different. As a result, he never liked the movie and was embarrassed by it.
The setting and premise of the 2011 Lonesome Road add-on for the post-apocalyptic computer game Fallout: New Vegas was inspired by Damnation Alley, according to lead designer Chris Avellone. The film adaptation of Zelazny's novel was also one of several sources of inspiration for the original Fallout, according to designer R. Scott Campbell.
- "Books," F&SF, May 1970, p.26-7
- Kevin O’Neill interview, Death Ray #17, February/March 2009
- http://fallout.bethsoft.com/eng/vault/diaries_diary15-9-20-11.php Archived 2013-05-11 at the Wayback Machine
- "No Mutants Allowed - Your Post Nuclear News Center!".
- Levack, Daniel J. H. (1983). Amber Dreams: A Roger Zelazny Bibliography. San Francisco: Underwood/Miller. pp. 26–29. ISBN 0-934438-39-0.
- Ackerman, Forrest J. (1994). Reel Future: The Stories that Inspired 16 Classic Science Fiction Movies. New York: Barnes & Noble Books. pp. 396–471. ISBN 1-56619-450-4.