Threshold (Palmer novel)

Last updated
Threshold (Palmer novel).jpg
Author David R. Palmer
CountryUnited States
SeriesTo Halt Armageddon
Genre Science fiction
Publisher Bantam Spectra
Publication date
December 1985
Media typePrint (Paperback)
ISBN 0-553-24878-2 (first edition, paperback)
OCLC 13000483
Preceded by Emergence  
Followed bySpēcial Education 

Threshold is a science fiction novel by American writer David R. Palmer, published by Bantam Spectra in December 1985. It was his second book published, following Emergence , and was intended to be the first book of the To Halt Armageddon trilogy. [1]

Science fiction Genre of speculative fiction

Science fiction is a genre of speculative fiction that has been called the "literature of ideas". It typically deals with imaginative and futuristic concepts such as advanced science and technology, time travel, parallel universes, fictional worlds, space exploration, and extraterrestrial life. It often explores the potential consequences of scientific innovations.

David R. Palmer is an American science fiction author. His works have been nominated three times for Hugo Awards. He writes as David R. Palmer.

Bantam Spectra is the science fiction division of American publishing company Bantam Books, which is owned by Random House.


Plot introduction

Threshold is a space opera novel, involving interstellar intrigue, mysteriously alluring space aliens, and a hero who is larger than life. Its protagonist, the penultimate issue of millennia long alien breeding program: Peter Cory, billionaire, hard driving adventurer, and unrequited rescuer of damsels. (Due to a "clerical" error in the program, his future wife was born late and is now only a child, but there is no time to wait.) One of the aliens, a "wWyh'j" (witch) named Megonthalyä (Meg) and her obese feline familiar (Memphus) come to Earth to enlist Peter's help.

Space opera Subgenre of science fiction

Space opera is a subgenre of science fiction that emphasizes space warfare, melodramatic adventure, interplanetary battles, chivalric romance, and risk-taking. Set mainly or entirely in outer space, it usually involves conflict between opponents possessing advanced abilities, futuristic weapons, and other sophisticated technology. The term has no relation to music, but is instead a play on the terms "soap opera" and "horse opera", the latter of which was coined during the 1930s to indicate clichéd and formulaic Western movies. Space operas emerged in the 1930s and continue to be produced in literature, film, comics, television and video games.

Plot summary

Due to what they call a 'racial mental block' a quasi-immortal race called the Isi are unable to prevent a galactic catastrophe. The Isi think humanity (specifically Peter) will help them overcome this hurdle, hence the book's opening line "Peter, we are losing Armageddon..." Unless he joins forces with them "... the galaxy is doomed...!"

While Peter (and the reader) is understandably skeptical, the talking cat, as well as a crash course in telepathy rapidly convince him of Meg's sincerity. Soon he is using his uniquely human perspective to unveil new applications of ancient Isi mental powers, and develops some startling new abilities. Armed with complete control of his cellular structure (which allows for slow but complete cellular metamorphosis), and a "gnNäáq" (knack) which allows the mental manipulation of electrical energy, Peter and Meg travel to Meg's home planet of Isis where he will be taught the "mMj'q" (Magic) necessary to help save the galaxy from its impending destruction.

Publishing history

Threshold was first published in 1985 and reprinted in 1987 by Bantam Spectra. After being out of print for approximately two decades, Palmer made arrangements with Eric Flint's Ring of Fire Press in 2018 to have his works reprinted [2] ( ISBN   978-1948818193).

An out-of-print (OOP) or out-of-commerce item or work, such as a book, is something that is no longer being published. The term applies to all types printed matter, visual media, sound recordings, and video recordings.

International Standard Book Number Unique numeric book identifier

The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a numeric commercial book identifier which is intended to be unique. Publishers purchase ISBNs from an affiliate of the International ISBN Agency.

Literary significance and criticism

Touted as the first book in a trilogy, [1] subsequent novels have yet to be published, although the author has made it clear that the second book is indeed written. In 1990, Palmer pointed out that when his personal finances permitted taking time to survive off of slim publisher advances, he would return to writing. [3]

A reviewer for Amazing Stories wrote in 2013 that the book is "easy to read, and has a fair smattering of clever repartee and wit." [4]

<i>Amazing Stories</i> American science fiction magazine

Amazing Stories is an American science fiction magazine launched in April 1926 by Hugo Gernsback's Experimenter Publishing. It was the first magazine devoted solely to science fiction. Science fiction stories had made regular appearances in other magazines, including some published by Gernsback, but Amazing helped define and launch a new genre of pulp fiction.


Although written twenty years earlier, Spēcial Education ( ISBN   978-1948818513), the long waited for sequel to Threshold was finally released in September 2019 through Eric Flint's Ring of Fire Press.

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  1. 1 2 Palmer, David R. (1990) [1984]. Emergence (Signature Special ed.). Bantam Spectra. p. 297. ISBN   0-553-25519-3. Threshold (Book I of the To Halt Armageddon trilogy)
  2. "David R. Palmer". Eric Flint's Ring of Fire Press .
  3. Palmer, David R. (1990) [1984]. Emergence (Signature Special ed.). Bantam Spectra. p. 297. ISBN   0-553-25519-3. At that point I will again quit reporting and devote all my time to writing.
  4. Gaffen, Adam (August 27, 2013). "Lost In Space! Reviews of Unknown or Underappreciated Books Threshold by David R. Palmer". Amazing Stories .