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       Red Orc's Rage, p.1

           Philip José Farmer
 
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Red Orc's Rage


  Red Orc's Rage

  World of Tiers Book 6

  by Philip José Farmer

  eVersion 4.0

  Back Cover:

  "Faithfully reproduces the sweat and fire of scientific enquiry. . .' Farmer's work is always interesting. Here he is more interesting than usual.. fans have wished for many years for a sixth book in the [World of Tiers] series." -- Analog

  Jim Grimson is a young man with a lot of problems, a teenage troublemaker who finally goes over the edge and gets placed in a mental hospital. . . where a doctor sends him to the world of Tiers to make him well!

  Philip José Farmer returns to his towering World of Tiers, where immortal Lords fight bloody wars over a host of pocket universes.

  "The greatest science fiction writer ever." -- Leslie A. Fielder

  This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are

  fictitious, and any resemblance to real people or events is purely coincidental.

  RED ORC'S RAGE

  Copyright © 1991 by Philip Jose Farmer

  All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce

  this book, or portions thereof, in any form.

  Cover art by Doug Beekman

  A Tor Book

  Published by Tom Doherty Associates, Inc.

  175 Fifth Avenue

  New York, NY 10010

  Tor ® is a registered trademark of Tom Doherty Associates, Inc.

  ISBN 0-812-50890-4

  Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 91-20577

  First Edition: September 1991

  First mass market printing: December 1992

  Printed in the United States of America

  0 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

  Dedicated to A. James Giannini, M.D., F.C.P., F.A.P.A., Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Ohio State Uninversity, the consultant during the writing of this novel.

  In 1977, Doctor Giannini was in residency as a psychiatrist at Yale when he got the idea for what herein is called Tiersian therepy. Its actual development began in 1978 when he was in private practice in Youngstown, Ohio. In a letter dated December 28, 1978, he informed me that he was using a novel method of psychiatric therapy to treat troubled adolescents. The technique was based on my five-volume, science-fictional World of Tiers series. The patients, all volunteers, read the series and chose which character or characters to identify with and to try, in a sense, to become. The goals and methods of this therapy are outlined in this novel.

  At present, Doctor Giannini and colleagues are preparing for publication the technical papers describing the actual therapy and its results.

  Wellington Hospital Medical Center, Belmont City, Tarhee County, and all the people and events in the work at hand are fictional.

  My thanks to David McClintock of Warren, Ohio, for the Youngstown area data.

  Chapter 1

  November 26, 1979

  JIM GRIMSON HAD never planned to eat his father's balls.

  He had not expected to make love to twenty of his sisters. He could not foresee that, while riding a white Steed, he would save his mother from a prison and a killer.

  How could he, seventeen years old in October of 1979, know that he had created this seemingly ten-billion-year-old universe?

  Though his father often called him a dumbbell and his teachers obviously thought he was one, Jim did read a lot. He knew the current theory of how the universe was supposed to have started. In the very beginning, before Time had started, the Primal Ball was the only thing existing. Outside of it was nothing, not even Space. All of the future universe, constellations, galaxies, everything, was packed into a sphere the size of his eyeball. This had gotten so hot and dense that it had blown up, out, and away. That explosion was called the Big Bang. Eons afterwards, the expanding matter had become stars, planets, and life on Earth.

  That theory was WRONG, WRONG, WRONG!

  Matter was not the only thing that could be put under tremendous heat and pressure. The soul could be squeezed too much. Then: BOOM!

  God Almighty and then some! Less than a month ago, he had reluctantly entered the mental ward of Wellington Hospital, Belmont City, Tarhee County, Ohio State. Then he had become, among other things, the Lord of several universes, a wanderer in many, and a slave in one.

  At this moment, he was back on his native Earth, same hospital. He was freezing with misery, burning with fury, and pacing back and forth in a locked room.

  Jim's psychiatrist, Doctor Porsena, had said that Jim's trips into other worlds were mental, though that did not mean they were not real. Thoughts were not ghosts. They existed. Therefore, they were real.

  Jim knew that his experiences in those pocket universes were as real as his pain when, not so long ago, he had driven his fist against his bedroom wall. And was not the blood flowing from the whiplashes on his back a witness to quell all doubts of his story? However, Doctor Porsena, scientist, rationalist, and rationalizer, would explain all puzzling phenomena with superb logic.

  Jim usually loved the doctor. Just now, he hated him.

  Chapter 2

  November 3, 1979

  "ALL PREVIOUS PATIENTS," Doctor Porsena said, "have tried other types of therapy. These failed to improve the patients, though part of that might be attributed to the patients' hostility to psychiatric therapy of any kind."

  "Old Chinese saying," Jim Grimson said. " 'You have to be nuts if you go to a psychiatrist.' Another celestial proverb. 'Insanity is not what it's cracked up to be.' "

  L. Robert Porsena, M.D., F.C.P., head of the Wellington Hospital psychiatric unit, smiled thinly. Jim thought that he was probably thinking, Another smart-ass kid I got to deal with. Heard his rest-room-graffiti quotations a thousand times. 'Celestial proverb' indeed. He's trying to impress me, show me that he isn't just another ignorant drooling pimpled drugged-up rock-freak youth who's gone off his rocker.

  On the other hand, Doctor Porsena might not be thinking that at all. It was hard to know what went on behind that handsome face that looked almost exactly like Julius Caesar's bust except for the black Fu Manchu mustache and the patent-leather mod haircut. He smiled a lot. His keen light-blue eyes reminded Jim of the Mad Hatter's song in Lewis Carroll's Alice book. "Twinkle, twinkle, little bat! How I wonder what you're at! Up above the world you fly, Like a tea tray in the sky. Twinkle, twinkle --"

  Doctor Porsena's adolescent patients said he was a shaman, a sort of miracle worker, a metropolitan medicine man with control over magical forces and far-out spirits.

  Doctor Porsena started to say something but was interrupted by his desk intercom. He flipped a switch and said, "Winnie, I told you! No calls!"

  Winnie, the beautiful black secretary sitting at her desk on the other side of the wall, evidently had something urgent on the line. Doctor Porsena said, "Sorry, Jim. This won't take more than a minute."

  Jim only half listened while he gazed out the window. The psychiatric unit and Porsena's office were on the second story. The window was, like all windows in this area, covered with thick iron bars. Past breaks in the buildings beyond, Jim could see the tops of the waterfront structures. These were on the banks of the Tarhee River, which ran into the Mahoning River a mile to the south.

  He could also see the spires of St. Grobian's and of St. Stephan's. His mother had probably attended early morning Mass at the latter today. That was the only time she had now to go to worship. She was working at two jobs, partly because of him. The fire had destroyed everything except the painting of his grandfather, which had been brought out of the house along with him. His parents had moved into a relatively cheap furnished apartment some blocks from the old house. Too close to the Hungarian neighborhood to suit Eric Grimson. That ungrateful attitude was just like his father. E
va's relatives -- in fact, the entire Magyar area -- had contributed money to help them out of their plight. A large part of the cash had been raised by a lottery. This was remarkable, for charitable donations had dropped considerably in the past few years because of the economic distress in the Youngstown area. But Eva's family and friends and church had come through.

  Though she had been a semioutcast because of her marriage, she was still a fellow Hungarian. And, now that she was down, she should have learned her lesson and be properly contrite, as the old phrase went.

  The Grimsons had not been able to buy the insurance to cover property damage or loss from the collapse of underground structures. Though they did have fire insurance, they would not be paid if the fire had been caused by an act of God. That had not yet been determined.

  Eric Grimson could not afford a lawyer. But one of Eva's cousins, an attorney, had volunteered to take the case. If he won, he got ten percent of the payoff. If he lost, he got nothing. Clearly, he was donating his time because of clan unity and because he felt sorry for his cousin. That she was married to a non-Magyar who was also a shiftless bum and an atheist who had been a Protestant was bad enough. But to lose her house and all her possessions and to have a son who'd gone crazy . . . that was too much. Though a lawyer, he had a big heart.

  The money needed to keep Jim in therapy was provided by the medical insurance, but the quarterly payments were very high. Eva Grimson had taken on another job to pay for them. The two times she had visited Jim, she had looked very tired. Her weight had gone down swiftly, her cheeks were hollowing, and her eyes were ringed with black.

  Jim had felt so guilty that he offered to quit therapy. His mother would not accept that. Her son had been given the option of taking the therapy or being sentenced to jail. The district attorney had wanted to treat him as an adult, which would have meant a more severe sentence. She would do all she could to prevent that. Besides, though she did not say so, she could not hide her belief that Jim was genuinely crazy and would remain so unless he was treated by a psychiatrist.

  Jim's father had not visited him. Jim did not ask his mother why Eric Grimson stayed away. One reason was that Jim did not wish to see his father. Another was that he knew that Eric was deeply ashamed because he had a "crazy" child. People would think that insanity ran in the family. Maybe it did in Eva's family. All Hungarians were crazy. But not the Grimsons, by God!

  Actually, Jim had been very fortunate in being taken into therapy so quickly. Because of the lack of funds in the area, programs for treating the mentally disturbed had been cut far back. Normally, Jim would have been in the back of the long waiting line. He did not know why or how he had been jumped ahead to favorite-son status.

  He suspected that Sam Wyzak's uncle, the judge, had used his influence. Also, his mother's cousin, the attorney, maybe brought some pressure to bear, probably not all of it with strictly legal procedures. Though Doctor Porsena would not comment on how Jim had been leapfrogged over others, he may have had something to do with it. Jim had the impression that the psychiatrist thought that he was a very interesting case because of his history of stigmata and hallucinations.

  Maybe he was just being egotistical. After all, he was really nothing unusual, just another jerkoff, blue-collar, mongrel, squarehead-Hunkie punk. When he got down to the ungilded basics, that was what he was.

  Doctor Porsena finally hung up the phone.

  He said, "We were talking about other patients now in this program who had previously tried other types of therapy. Those had not succeeded with these patients, all of whom were hostile to psychiatric therapy of any kind.

  "What I'm offering you -- there's no pressure or force used here -- is immediate entrance into a type of therapy we've had much success with."

  Doctor Porsena spoke very rapidly but clearly. He was remarkable in that his speech had very few of the pauses or hesitations halting most people's talk. No uh, ah, well, you know.

  "It's not easy; no therapy is easy. Blood, sweat, and tears, and all that. And, like all therapy, the success depends basically upon you. We don't cure the patient. He or she cures himself with our guidance. Which means that you have to want to be able to handle your problems, genuinely desire to do so."

  The doctor was silent for a moment. Jim looked around the office. It seemed quite luxurious to him with its thick (Persian?) carpet, overstuffed leather chairs and couch, big desk of some kind of glossy hardwood, the classy-looking wallpaper, the many diplomas and testimonials on the wall, the wall niches with busts of famous people in them, and the paintings which seemed abstract or surrealistic or whatever to Jim, who knew little about art.

  "You understand everything I've said?" Porsena asked. "If there's anything you don't comprehend perfectly, say so. Patient or doctor, we're all here to learn. There's no shame in exposing one's ignorance. I expose my own quite often. I don't know everything. Nobody does."

  "Sure, I understand. So far. At least you're not talking down to me, just using monosyllables, none of that psychological gobbledygook. I appreciate that."

  Doctor Porsena's hands were flat on top of Jim's opened case file. They were slim and delicate and had long thin fingers. Jim had heard that he was an excellent pianist who usually played classical music, though he sometimes played jazz, dixie, and ragtime. He would even knock out some rock now and then.

  He only had two hands but could have used four. He was very busy, which was to be expected. Not only did he run the psychiatric unit of the hospital, he had a private practice in an office a block away on St. Elizabeth Street. He was also head of an organization of northeast Ohio psychiatrists and a teacher at a medical college.

  Porsena's accomplishments awed Jim. But what most impressed him was the doctor's 1979 silver Lamborghini. Now, that was in the WOW! category.

  The doctor turned a page of the file and read a line or two. Then he leaned back.

  "You seem to be a wide reader," he said, "though you prefer science fiction. So many young people do. I have been a fan of science fiction and fantasy since I started to read. I began with the Oz books, Grimms' and Lang's fairy tales, Lewis Carroll's Alice books. Homer's Odyssey, the Arabian Nights, Jules Verne, H. G. Wells, and the science fiction magazines. Tolkien quite captivated me. Then, while I was in residency in Yale, I read Philip José Farmer's World of Tiers series. Do you know those books?"

  "Yeah," Jim said. He straightened up. "Love them! That Kickaha! But when in hell is Farmer going to finish the series?"

  Porsena shrugged. He was the only man Jim had ever seen who could make a shrug seem an elegant gesture.

  "The point is that, while I was at Yale, I also read a biography of Lewis Carroll. A phrase in the commentary on the chapter in Alice in Wonderland titled 'A Caucus Race and a Long Tail' sparked something in my mind. I then and there got the idea for Tiersian therapy."

  "What's that?" Jim said. "Tiersian? Oh, you mean from the World of Tiers?"

  "As good a word as any and better than some," Doctor Porsena said, smiling, "It was only a glimmering of an idea, a zygote of thought, a brief candlelight that might have been blown out by the hurly-burly winds of the mundane world or by common sense and logic rejecting divine inspiration. But I clung to it, nourished it, cherished it, and at last brought it to full bloom."

  This guy is really something, Jim thought. No wonder they call him The Shaman.

  However, Jim had been misled and deceived by adults so many times that he did not entirely trust the psychiatrist. Wait. See if his words matched his deeds.

  On the other hand, Porsena was this side of thirty. Old but not real old. Young-old.

  It was a good thing that he was in biology class, Jim thought. Otherwise, he would not have known what the doctor was talking about when he had spoken of "zygote of thought." A zygote was any cell formed by the union of two gametes. And a gamete was a reproductive cell that could unite with another similar one to form the cell that develops into a new individual.

  He had started o
ut as a zygote. So had Porsena. So had most living creatures.

  As he listened to the doctor explain the therapy, Jim understood that, in a psychotherapeutic sense, he was a gamete. And the object of the therapy was to become a zygote. That is, a new individual composed of the old personality and another one which was, at this moment, imaginary.

  Chapter 3

  "THE TIERSIAN THERAPY patients form a small and elite volunteer group," Doctor Porsena said. "Usually, they start out with volume one, The Maker of Universes, and read the rest in proper sequence. They choose a character in the books and try to BE that character. They adopt all the mental and emotional characteristics of the role model whether they're good or bad. As therapy progresses, they come to a point where they start getting rid of the bad qualities of the character they've chosen. But they keep the good features.

  "It's rather like a snake shedding its skin. The patient's uncontrolled delusions, the undesirable emotional factors which brought him or her here, are gradually replaced by controlled delusions. The controlled delusions are those which the patient adopts when he or she becomes, in a sense, the character in the series.

  "There's much more to the treatment than this, but you'll understand that as therapy proceeds. You follow me?"

  "So far," Jim said. "This really works, right?"

  "The failure rate is phenomenally low. In your case, even though you've read the series, you will have to reread it. The World of Tiers will be your Bible, your key to health if you work with it and at it."

  Jim was silent for a while. He was considering the series and also wondering which character -- some of them were really vicious -- he would like to adopt. To become, as the doctor said.

 
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