“the best Thai writer in the universe!” – David Copperfield.
Chronicles of the High Inquest:
Utopia Hunters (Inquestor Series Book 3)
“His multicultural viewpoint may yet give us the best SF novel of all time” — Analog
For twenty thousand years, the godlike Inquestors have held sway over the one million worlds of the Dispersal of Man. S.P. Somtow’s limitless imagination has created a universe of breathtaking majesty, amazing beauty, and shattering cruelty.
In games of makrugh played in elegant floating palaces, planets are destroyed or saved to preserve the balance of the galaxy. Exotic languages and customs, servocorpses, tachyon bubbles, childsolders with implanted laser-irises, people bins that hold populations of entire planets, delphinoid ships that sail the overcosm, utopias that must be hunted down and destroyed in the name of the High Compassion, thinkhives that connect the galaxy via the space between spaces …
All this must end. And end it does, in what Theodore Sturgeon has described as “the greatest magnitude of color and spectacle since Stapledon.”For the fortieth anniversary of the publication of the first Inquestor story in Analog, Diplodocus Press is bringing back revised editions of all four of the original Chronicles of the High Inquest — and releasing a fifth volume, Homeworld of the Heart.
“he can create a world with less apparent effort than some writers devote to creating a small room … yet these tales are intricately wrought as those handcarved oriental balls within balls”— The Washington Post
“his dense, poetic prose is as unique as his name”— Los Angeles Times“One of SF’s formidable talents!”—Publishers Weekly
About the Author
S.P. Somtow, Once referred to by the International Herald Tribune as ‘the most well-known expatriate Thai in the world,’ Somtow Sucharitkul is no longer an expatriate, since he has returned to Thailand after five decades of wandering the world. He is best known as an award-winning novelist and a composer of operas.
Born in Bangkok, Somtow grew up in Europe and was educated at Eton and Cambridge. His first career was in music and in the 1970s, his first return to Asia, he acquired a reputation as a revolutionary composer, the first to combine Thai and Western instruments in radical new sonorities. Conditions in the arts in the region at the time proved so traumatic for the young composer that he suffered a major burnout, emigrated to the United States, and reinvented himself as a novelist.
His earliest novels were in the science fiction field and he soon won the John W. Campbell for Best New Writer as well as being nominated for and winning numerous other awards in the field. But science fiction was not able to contain him and he began to cross into other genres. In his 1984 novel Vampire Junction, he injected a new literary inventiveness into the horror genre, in the words of Robert Bloch, author of Psycho, ‘skillfully combining the styles of Stephen King, William Burroughs, and the author of the Revelation to John.’ Vampire Junction was voted one of the forty all-time greatest horror books by the Horror Writers’ Association, joining established classics like Frankenstein and Dracula. He has also published children’s books, a historical novel, and about a hundred works of short fiction.
In the 1990s Somtow became increasingly identified as a uniquely Asian writer with novels such as the semi-autobiographical Jasmine Nights and a series of stories noted for a peculiarly Asian brand of magic realism, such as Dragon’s Fin Soup, which is currently being made into a film directed by Takashi Miike. He recently won the World Fantasy Award, the highest accolade given in the world of fantastic literature, for his novella The Bird Catcher. His seventy-plus books have sold about two million copies world-wide. He has been nominated for or won over forty awards in the fields of science fiction, fantasy, and horror.
After becoming a Buddhist monk for a period in 2001, Somtow decided to refocus his attention on the country of his birth, founding Bangkok’s first international opera company and returning to music, where he again reinvented himself, this time as a neo-Asian neo-Romantic composer. The Norwegian government commissioned his song cycle Songs Before Dawn for the 100th Anniversary of the Nobel Peace Prize, and he composed at the request of the government of Thailand his Requiem: In Memoriam 9/11 which was dedicated to the victims of the 9/11 tragedy.
According to London’s Opera magazine, ‘in just five years, Somtow has made Bangkok into the operatic hub of Southeast Asia.’ His operas on Thai themes, Madana and Mae Naak, have been well received by international critics.
Somtow has recently been awarded the 2017 Europa Cultural Achievement Award for his work in bridging eastern and western cultures. In 2020 he returned to science fiction after a twenty-year absence with “Homeworld of the Heart”, a fifth novel in the Inquestor series.
To support S.P. Somtow’s work, visit his patreon account at patreon.com/spsomtow.