Review by Win Wiacek
On a distant world life is harsh and brutal, and debased humans live short, pointless lives, with their life-expectancy merely eight days. The planet has a lethal orbit that moves from burning heat to absolute cold in moments. When their ship crashed uncounted generations ago, the humans found a miraculous twilit valley that could sustain human life, and there adapted and devolved to simplistic survival-machines. They linger between catastrophic day that vaporises flesh and cataclysmic night that freezes the blood, with only a single hour a day when the light overhead is tolerable. In that brief span rains fall, crops grow and humans can luxuriate in light that nurtures, but doesn’t burn.
Man has evolved to an existence both futile and savage, filled with nothing but breeding and dying. Even under these conditions war is still common. Yet young Sim dares to love, and dares to hope. He dreams of a better life, and believes the mythical “scientists” have a way to escape…
Klaus Janson’s not known for writing, but this is a raw, epic adaptation of the Ray Bradbury short story. He’s on home ground with his impressively scratchy art, and that he was also responsible for the colours enhances the original tale with unexpected sensitivity, and great feeling as reflects the different light. In order to simplify the drama of the conditions, Janson sacrificed subtler subplots and references to ongoing war on Earth, and that works in focussing attention on the core story. This remains a fine tale well-told and compellingly illustrated.