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Briefing for a Descent into Hell, Doris Lessing 
We are inside the mind of Professor Charles Watkins (Classics, Cambridge)... this wildest of trips is firmly anchored in the reality of a mental breakdown. Watkins is a patient at Central Intake Hospital and an enigma to the physicians  who try with... powerful drugs - as if competing for his soul - to subdue his mind's adventure, to bring him into "controllable" range. -- Back Cover
Hardback Cover River God, Wilbur Smith   

Synopsis: A magnificent, richly detailed saga of ancient Egypt. The slave of a powerful Pharaoh plots to overthrow his master and lead his fellow slaves to power. "A grand tale of intrigue, deception, true love and exile."-- Denver Post

Not Dostoyevsky
THE IDIOT, Fydor Dostoyevsky 

"Compassion is the essential, and perhaps it is the only law in the life of all humankind." -- Fydor Dostoyevsky, The Idiot

Samuel R. Delaney Dahlgren, Samuel R. Delaney 
"Here I am and am no I.  This circle in all, this change changing in winterless, a dawn circle with an image of, an autumn change with a change of mist.  Mistake two pictures, one and another.  No. Only in seasons of short light, only on dead afternoons.  I will not be sick again.   I will not.  You are here." -- Samuel R. Delaney, 'The Ruins of Morning,' Dahlgren
Lord of Light, Roger Zelazny 
"His followers called him Mahasamatman and said he was a god. He preferred to drop the Maha- and the -atman, however, and called himself Sam.  He never claimed to be a god.  But then, he never claimed not to be a god.  Circumstances being what they were, neither admission could be of any benefit." -- Roger Zelazny, Lord of Light
A Canticle for Leibowitz, Walter M. Miller, Jr. 
      "...Shall I call the repair service again, Father Abbott?"  
.     "...That contraption - listen Brother, they claim it thinks.  I didn't believe it at first... But do you know what?... Nothing could be that perverse without premeditation!  It must think!  It knows good and evil, I tell you, and it has chosen the latter!" -- Walter M. Miller, Jr., A Canticle for Leibowitz. 
A masterful achievement that ranks with Brave New World and 1984, this mesmerizing tale of the terrible aftermath of nuclear war has captivated generations of readers since its first publication in 1959. --Chicago Tribune. BDD ONLINE feature. 
The Fifth Business, Robertson Davies 
...being neither protagonist nor antagonist, that character who is incidental to the main action but  necessary in bringing about the denouement of the story.  The Fifth Business is a tale about the magick that coexists daily with the mundane of our lives. (-- a wonderful book opening  Mr. Davies' The Deptford Trilogy.  I haven't read this in years and now that it's come to mind, I've got to pick up another copy.)
The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K. Le Guin 
Light is the left hand of darkness   
and darkness the right hand of light.   
Two are one, life and death, lying 
together like lovers in kemmer,   
like hands joined together,   
like the end and the way. 
   -- Ursula K. Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness 
  Mott The HoopleWillard Manus 
Somewhere between traditions of the beat writers and the gonzo free-for-all writing style of Hunter S. Thompson sprung Willard Manus' Mott The Hoople.  I'm still trying to figure out what possessed the rock band to name itself after the unlikely hero for which the book is named; but for all his excesses from gambling to gluttony to sex, Norman Hoople is a hero nonetheless, Striving to pursue his own personal code of honor Norman boldly faces irony and hypocrisy  without despair or bitterness in a world that is really quite mad.
Only Begotten Daughter, James Morrow 
Murray Katz, the celibate keeper of an abandoned lighthouse near Atlantic City, has been blessed with a daughter conceived of his own seed and a holy ovum. Like her half brother Jesus, Julie Katz can walk on water, heal the blind, and raise the dead.  But being the Messiah isn't easy, and Julie, bewildered by her role in the divine scheme of things, is tempted by the Devil and challenged by neo- Christian zealots in this lively odyssey through Hell and New Jersey. Winner of the World Fantasy Award.  - Amazon.com
Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand 
I've always had mixed feeling about Ayn Rand as a writer.  At the same time I find myself going back to Atlas Shrugged every five or ten years because I find her philosophy of self-determinism reassuring when faced with the same despair as the novel's protagonist Dagny Taggart through much of the plot.  A world of petty passions, ideals and abilities enslaving those who would dare a different vision...[I need to refocus this.  In the meantime, check out check out some of the reviews at the above link. -jbk]