Damnation Alley

Damnation Alley is a 1969 science fiction novel by American writer Roger Zelazny, based on a novella published in 1967. A film adaptation of the novel was released in 1977.

Damnation Alley
Cover of the first edition
AuthorRoger Zelazny
Cover artistJack Gaughan
CountryUnited States
GenreScience fiction
PublisherG.P. Putnam's Sons
Publication date
Media typePrint (hardback & paperback)

Plot introduction

The story opens in a post-apocalyptic Southern California, in a hellish world shattered by nuclear war decades before. Several police states have emerged in place of the former United States. Hurricane-force winds above five hundred feet prevent any sort of air travel from one state to the next, and sudden, violent, and unpredictable storms make day-to-day life a mini-hell. Hell Tanner, an imprisoned killer, is offered a full pardon in exchange for taking on a suicide mission—a drive through "Damnation Alley" across a ruined America from Los Angeles to Boston—as one of three Landmaster vehicles attempting to deliver an urgently needed plague vaccine.


Barry Malzberg found the book "an interesting novella converted to an unfortunate novel," faulting it as "a mechanical, simply transposed action-adventure story written, in my view, at the bottom of the man's talent."[1] Zelazny himself agreed with Malzberg, stating that he preferred the novella and only expanded it at his agent's request to make it more viable for a movie deal.

Film adaptation

In 1977, a film loosely based on the novel was directed by Jack Smight. Roger Zelazny had liked the original script by Lukas Heller and expected that to be the filmed version; he did not realize until he saw it in the theater that the shooting script (by Alan Sharp) was quite different. He never liked the movie and was embarrassed by it. However, assertions that he requested to have his name removed from the film (and that the studio refused) are completely unfounded. The movie was released before he ever discovered he did not like it.[2]

Related works

The novel Hardwired by Walter Jon Williams is an homage to Damnation Alley. The two authors (Zelazny and Williams) later became good friends.

Kevin O'Neill has said that the 2000AD story The Cursed Earth was inspired by Damnation Alley.[3]

The Hawkwind album Quark, Strangeness and Charm contains a song inspired by the story.

The setting and premise of the 2011 Lonesome Road add-on for the post-apocalyptic computer game Fallout: New Vegas was inspired by Damnation Alley, according to lead designer Chris Avellone.[4] The film adaptation of Zelazny's novel was also one of several sources of inspiration for the original Fallout, according to designer R. Scott Campbell.[5]


  1. ^ "Books," F&SF, May 1970, p.26-7
  2. ^ "...And Call Me Roger": The Literary Life of Roger Zelazny, Part 4, by Christopher S. Kovacs. In: The Collected Stories of Roger Zelazny, Volume 4: Last Exit to Babylon, NESFA Press, 2009.
  3. ^ Kevin O’Neill interview, Death Ray #17, February/March 2009
  4. ^ http://fallout.bethsoft.com/eng/vault/diaries_diary15-9-20-11.php
  5. ^ http://www.nma-fallout.com/article.php?id=60788


  • Levack, Daniel J. H. (1983). Amber Dreams: A Roger Zelazny Bibliography. San Francisco: Underwood/Miller. pp. 26–29. ISBN 0-934438-39-0.
  • Ackerman, Forrest J. (1994). Reel Future: The Stories that Inspired 16 Classic Science Fiction Movies. New York: Barnes & Noble Books. pp. 396–471. ISBN 1-56619-450-4.

External links

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Be My Slave is a 1983 album by the American heavy metal band Bitch, released on the Metal Blade Records label under the genre "dominatrix metal". Be My Slave was cited by Tipper Gore, during the Parents Music Resource Center campaign against violent and sexually explicit content in the music industry and was held as an example in the hearing before the United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation on September 19, 1985. The album was re-issued in 1989 on a single CD with the EP Damnation Alley.

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Damnation Alley is a 1982 album by female-fronted heavy metal band Bitch, and was released on the Metal Blade Records label. The EP-length release has the distinction of being the first album by a single artist and the second album of any kind released on Metal Blade Records (the first was the 1982 compilation album Metal Massacre).

Damnation Alley (disambiguation)

Damnation Alley may refer to:

Damnation Alley, a 1967 science fiction short story by Roger Zelazny, expanded into a novel in 1969.

Damnation Alley (film), a 1977 film, directed by Jack Smight, loosely based on the novel by Roger Zelazny.

"Damnation Alley", a song by Hawkwind from their 1977 album Quark, Strangeness and Charm.

Damnation Alley (album), a 1982 album by female-fronted heavy metal band Bitch.

Damnation Alley (film)

Damnation Alley is a 1977 post-apocalyptic film directed by Jack Smight, loosely based on the novel of the same name by Roger Zelazny. The original music score was composed by Jerry Goldsmith and the notable cinematography was by Harry Stradling Jr.

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Hawkwind videography

The British space rock group Hawkwind have been active since 1969, but their earliest video release is Night Of The Hawk from their Earth Ritual Tour recorded at Ipswich on 9 March 1984. Since then, there have been numerous video releases covering the evolution of the band; some are professional broadcast shoots, others commercial, and a few are amateur.

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It Is the Business of the Future to Be Dangerous

It Is the Business of the Future to Be Dangerous is the eighteenth studio album by the English space rock group Hawkwind, released in 1993. It spent one week on the UK albums chart at #75.As with the previous album, Electric Tepee, the group remained a three-piece of guitarist Dave Brock, bassist Alan Davey and drummer Richard Chadwick. The album was recorded in 1993 at Brock's own Barking Dog Studios, produced with Paul Cobbold.

The title track "It Is the Business of the Future to Be Dangerous" is a quote from the mathematician/philosopher Alfred Whitehead's Science and the Modern World, which had originally been used on the sleeve notes to the Space Ritual album ("It is the business of the future to be dangerous; and it is among the merits of science that it equips the future for its duties"). The Arabic-influenced "Space Is Their (Palestine)" would be worked into the middle section of the live version of "Hassan I Sabbah", retitled "Assassins of Allah". "Letting in the Past" is a re-recording of "Looking in the Future" from the 1982 album Church of Hawkwind. "The Camera That Could Lie" is a reggae-influenced piece that fused music which had previously been used in the middle section of the live version of "Damnation Alley" on the 1992 album Palace Springs with lyrics from the song "Living on a Knife Edge" from the 1981 album Sonic Attack. "Gimme Shelter" is a cover version of the Rolling Stones song that the group had recorded with Samantha Fox for the Shelter benefit single "Putting Our House in Order", although this album version removes Fox's vocal. Drummer Richard Chadwick performs vocals instead.

The group undertook a 21-date UK tour in November to promote the album. This was followed by a 12 date Germany/Netherlands tour in December. Some shows were recorded and were released as The Business Trip and the mistitled Treworgey 1989 CD.

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Smight died from cancer in Los Angeles in 2003.

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The Landmaster is a unique 12-wheeled amphibious articulated vehicle constructed by Dean Jeffries at Jeffries Automotive in Universal City, California for the 1977 science fiction film Damnation Alley. Despite the appearance of two Landmasters in the film (achieved with process photography and models), only one was built, at a cost of $350,000 in 1976.

Leigh Phillips

Leigh Phillips is an award-winning composer, orchestrator, and conductor of music for film, media, and theatre. In addition to this, he is responsible for developing unique orchestrations and arrangements of film-music for live concert performance and recording.

Previous collaborations have included the, BAFTA Award-winning, composer John Ottman, Grammy Award-winning television composer Joe Harnell, The Halle Orchestra, The Golden State Pops Orchestra, soundtrack producers Silva Screen Records and Tadlow Music; his orchestrations and arrangements featuring in productions by companies such as Decca Records, SKY, IMAX, ITV, Channel 4, Prometheus Records, Classic FM and the BBC.One particularly prominent feature of Phillips' career has been his involvement in the reconstruction of classic (and previously unreleased) film scores. Some notable examples of reconstruction projects (both complete scores and compilation albums) that have utilised his orchestrations, include:

King of Kings (Miklos Rozsa)

Damnation Alley - vintage synth programming (Jerry Goldsmith)

The Curse of Frankenstein (James Bernard)

Dracula (James Bernard)

Thriller - vol. 2 (Jerry Goldsmith)

Ben Hur (Miklos Rozsa)

Thriller - vol.1 (Jerry Goldsmith)

The Thief of Bagdad (Miklos Rozsa)

Sodom & Gomorrah (Miklos Rozsa)

The Blue Max (Jerry Goldsmith)

Exodus (Ernest Gold)

Lawrence of Arabia (Maurice Jarre)

Conan the Barbarian (Basil Poledouris)

Conan the Destroyer (Basil Poledouris)

Taras Bulba (traditional folk-song arrangements)

Quo Vadis' (Miklos Rozsa)

The Salamander (Jerry Goldsmith)

Public Access (John Ottman)Other orchestration & composition projects have included:

Britannia (TV Series)

West End Stars in Concert (Tour)

The Bachelor King 3D (Film)

Ice Age Giants (BBC Documentary)

War Made Easy (Documentary)

The Legend Trip (Feature Film)In 2014, Leigh was presented with the IFMCA Special Award for his work on the reconstruction of Jerry Goldsmith's score, 'The Salamander'; previous recipients of this award have included Marc Shaiman, Haiti - The Symphony of Hope project, and James Horner.

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Quark, Strangeness and Charm

Quark, Strangeness and Charm is the seventh studio album by the English space rock group Hawkwind, released in 1977. It spent 6 weeks on the UK albums chart peaking at #30.This is Hawkwind's seventh studio album, hence "The Hawkwind Part 7" title on the inner sleeve. It is the band's first album without co-founding member Nik Turner, and drummer Alan Powell had also departed. In addition, Adrian "Ade" Shaw from Magic Muscle replaced Paul Rudolph during the recording session.

Robert Calvert starts to dominate proceedings with his science fiction-inspired lyrics, whereas the music is lighter and more commercial than with their previous offerings.

Sound 360

Sound 360 was the name of a motion picture sound system used by 20th Century-Fox to enhance the premiere engagements of their 1977 feature Damnation Alley.The format employed the standard 35mm magnetic stereo soundtracks (left, center, right and surround) in a unique configuration. The center channel was directed to the usual behind-the-screen loudspeaker. The left and right channels were redirected to a pair of large full-range speakers mounted on either side of the auditorium. The surround channel was reproduced by a single full-range speaker mounted in the back. The general effect was more enveloping (and often much louder) than a standard 35mm stereo presentation, and very similar to the Megasound process unveiled a few years later by Warner Bros. for the film Altered States. In addition to Damnation Alley, the film Damien: Omen II was also released in the Sound 360 process.

The 2011 DVD and Blu-ray release of Damnation Alley did not feature a "Sound 360" audio option, as the original elements were not salvageable.

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