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The Walking Shadow

Short Stories
Where Paul Heisenberg had stood there was now a silver statue, dressed in the same white tunic, but reflecting from the surface that had, once been bare flesh all the light which had been carefully directed to compose the glowing nimbus.

The glow was even brighter now, and in the stillness which followed the interruption of the beautiful voice, there was a profundity which seemed terrible ...'

In front of 80,000 people Heisenberg, the new Messiah, the darling of the media, had gone into a trance of immeasurable depth. His body had gone into limbo, awaiting some future awakening, and it wasn't long before others had similarly gone into stasis and followed him.

Soon there were thousands fleeing through the aeons, congregating at meeting points hundreds of years ahead and then leaping off ever further into the future until finally they reached the very end of time.

But then where would they go? And where were the people they'd left behind?

Published in 1979 by Fontana.

Cover art by Terry Oakes

Dedicated to : "...members of my poker school, and most especially for Tina, Carol, John, Ian and Paul"

  "The Walking Shadow deserves a wide audience. " - David Pringle in Science Fiction: the 100 Best Novels

In front of 80,000 fans, Paul Heisenberg, the new messiah, the darling of the media, "freezes" into a deep trance, so deep that his adoring disciples are moved by empathy to follow him into the same glowing stasis. Suddenly they all shoot through a lesion in the fabric of time, fleeing the past and congregating at mass rallies hundreds of years ahead.

And now with awe and wonder, Paul and his flock approach the very edge of time where "focus points" - signs of life in the universe - are very hard to find.

" Brian Stableford is among the very best of the adventure science fiction writers. " - Science Fiction Writers

Published 1st June 1989 by Carroll & Graf.


Paul Heisenberg is mysteriously endowed with the ability to jump through time. Together with thousands of eventual followers, he begins a journey that eventually takes him a billion years into the future. The Earth has been devastated by war with an alien race, and the changes that have resulted from the degradation of the world's biosphere force him--and others--to rethink their own humanity. His pilgrim's progress through the coming time is beset by doubts, distractions, and temptations as various voices attempt to distract him from his determination to follow the process through to its end. He eventually witnesses the complete transformation of the Earth, and the evolution of a single omnipotent but mindless Gaean organism. Is intelligence itself just a brief candle, forever doomed to burn out? Or can Paul find some other alternative for his race. A marvelous science fiction adventure in the tradition of Olaf Stapledon!

Published 15th March 2013 by The Borgo Press.
ISBN: 978-1-4794-0050-8

  Translated into German as: Zeitsprünge.
Translated into Spanish as:La Sombre Errante./td>

Review by Ian Braidwood

Cast Of Characters:
Paul Heisenberg, Joseph Herdman, Adam Wishart, Officer Sheehan, Nicholas Diehl, President Lindenbaum, Ricardo Marcangelo, Rebecca, the robot, Paul Scapelhorn, Remila, Gelert Hadan.

It's 1992. Paul Heisenberg has built up a modest following by touring and giving quasi-religious talks, espousing a meta-scientific nihilism. Then, at the height of his rhetorical zeal, he is suddenly transformed into a silver figure, like a statue.

He emerges over a century later to find the USA in terminal decline following a nuclear holocaust. In this world, the cult of Paul Heisenberg has grown into a major religion and he finds himself the centre of a power struggle, hunted and fought over, until he repeats his time jumping feat.

Escape however, is not on the agenda. Paul's third incarnation finds the cult even stronger, because not only is it picking up new disciples, but some of the old ones have found that they can time-jump as well. Also, Earth has been invaded by aliens, who have remodelled it to Arcadian splendour. These aliens are now urging Paul to decide between their symbiosis or 'third-phase' life, which they claim will devour the Earth.

The story now jumps forward repeatedly, as Paul and the other time-jumpers resolve their difficulties and eventually meet the ultimate fate not just of humanity, but of life itself.

With this novel Brian combines the best of Stabledon and Silverberg: delivering good characterisation with a feeling for the immense scope of the story.

One of Brian's very best and definitely one you want.

The Brian Stableford Website