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Damnation Alley

3.55 of 5 stars 3.55  ·  rating details  ·  2,650 ratings  ·  92 reviews
HELL AND DAMNATION

Hell Tanner ... the vicious loner, last survivor of the exterminated cycle gangs, condemned to death -- with one chance for a dubious reprieve....

Damnation Alley ... the savage route across a blasted continent, teeming with monsters, deadly radiation, and insanely lethal storms....

Hell Tanner's passage through Damnation Alley is an epic which gives Roger
...more
Paperback, S1846, 157 pages
Published June 1970 by Berkley Medallion (first published July 14th 1968)
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TK421
Okay, this was my first full Zelazny experience, and I have to say I liked it—a lot. The story is simple enough: in a post apocalyptic America, where the country has been split into two nations, one being the Nation of California, the other being whatever the citizens of Boston have decided to call it, runs a stretch of road that has been named the Damnation Alley. Since constant hurricane force winds prevent air travel, it is the only umbilical between the two countries. Enter Hell Tanner. Hell ...more
Willow
I remember when I was a wee one, I watched the movie Damnation Alley, and I was terrified by the flesh eating cockroach scene. I’ve always wanted to see it again, because I know the film has got to be the best, craptastic, colossal turkey ever! Yay. :D

It’s not an easy movie to come by though. :(

This is one of the reasons I read the book. I wanted to read more about the cockroach scene (which isn’t in the book, damn it!) And practically everyone gives DA rave reviews.

Damnation Alley is pretty si
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Henry Avila
In some unstated date in the future, a three day war occurred.Not a long one, by historical standards,but bad enough.....Missiles fall on the Earth,and life virtually ceases. Apparently around twenty or thirty years later, the few people still alive , are struggling to survive.This is when Hell Tanner(real name),biker,gangster,killer, all around bad guy, gets a pardon.He will be free as an eagle,and that bird,is no longer in existence.Neither is the United States(just a few petty states), from p ...more
Dan Schwent
Aug 26, 2009 Dan Schwent rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Post-Apoc cheese
Shelves: zelazny
Damnation Alley is about a biker named Hell Tanner who has to take some plague serum from LA to Boston, travelling a route called Damnation Alley across the nuclear wasteland that is the United States in a car that might as well be a tank. Along the way he encounters such mutants as giant Gila Monsters, spiders, bats, butterflies, and snakes.

Hell Tanner should be regarded as Snake Plissken's ancestor of sorts. Every time he had dialogue I kept hearing Kurt Russell's voice. The writing is a litt
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Jim
After an apocalyptic war, one of the worst men does one of the best things for all the wrong reasons - mostly. Hell Tanner, the hero, is not a good man. He's strong, cunning & has just the right talents for the mission, but he's also a thief, murderer, rapist & convict. Only desperate circumstances force society give him a second chance & he leverages that for all its worth.

Zelazny gives this anti-hero a heroic mission to perform. The book is action packed from start to finish, occa
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Raegan Butcher
Apr 13, 2008 Raegan Butcher rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: cyberpunks and other virgins
When I read this I was struck by the similarities between the deal offered to Hell Tanner to run the serum thru Damnation Alley to a plague stricken Boston in order to recieve a full pardon for every criminal act he's committed in the Nation of California...hmmm. That sounds a lot like the deal offered to Snake Plissken, who seems to share a lot of other similarities with Hell Tanner, who admittedly came first in 1969.Being a big fan of Plissken's exploits I can't help but like this pulpy sci fi ...more
Bev Hankins
I hadn't read anything by Zelazny since, oh, maybe 1981. I remember loving the short stories in The Doors of His Face, the Lamps of His Mouth, but really couldn't tell you why I never went on to read anything else by him. I have The Last Defender of Camelot but it just sits in my TBR pile.

Absolutely enjoyed Alley--despite the raw, post-apocalyptic background and the anti-hero that was really hard to like. Is it better that a good man decline to do something for the right reasons or for a bad man
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Mike (the Paladin)
I gave this a 3 as a tribute to Roger Zelazny. I picked this book up after the movie and barely remember it. i have little recollection of it being that much different from the movie aside from the, convict taking on suicide mission for a pardon. Post apocalyptic America left broken up into police states. Three vehicles heading from L. A. to Boston to deliver plague vaccine across Damnation Ally. That's the part of the west/south west left a dangerous ruin.
Manny
Tough, nasty Hell's Angel with a heart of gold transports a case of vaccine across a post-Holocaust America, to save the inhabitants of plague-ravaged Boston. It's quite good if you're in the mood for that kind of thing.

As several people have pointed out, the main character rather reminds one of Snake Plissken in Escape from New York, though this novel predates the movie.

Einar Nielsen
This book is short which is always nice in the time of the 1000 page epic. It is a fast read and has good moments. The text flows well and the conversations are fine.The main protagonist is absurdly cool who makes Snake Plisskin look like a wimp and his name is Hell Tanner (I mean come on!). There are ridiculous mutants in a nuclear wasteland and unstoppable armoured cars with flamethrowers. So it isn't a very deep story. The characters aren't very deep any many of the actions scenes are finishe ...more
Paul
Hell and Corny! This is a fairly straightforward adventure story. It's fun but I like other Zelazny stories better.

The protagonist, Hell Tanner, follows the template that many of Zelazny's men do: the chain-smoking, wise-cracking type. A couple of good moments from him really made me laugh, especially on the last page: he's about done-for but still giving people crap — that's funny. I also enjoyed the exchange with Corny about the back rub; in fact I liked their relationship all around, simple t
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Sam
I'm an incredible fan of "Lord of Light", another great Zelazny book. Zelazny is the king of the pulp sci-fi novel. He has clever ideas, but he doesn't get lost in his own science. His prose is terse and minimalist, like a lot of pulp. His characters, almost always stoic male types, can get lost in their own bravado, but he has good tough guy dialogue. Damnation Alley has really descriptive settings. Hell Tanner, the main character, a hell's angel badasss, drives across a post-apocalyptic United ...more
Brian Schwartz
DAMNATION ALLEY might best be termed bubblegum science fiction. The creatures that inhabit Damnation Alley are straight out of B-movie material. The story is bereft of subplots. Hell Tanner is not a man given to flights of introspection. He has no character arc. Other than a few days of love for a woman whom he did not take the time to learn anything about, Tanner remained a passionless person, driven only by his desire to be free and his desire to drive.

Zelazny’s prose is sparse. Except for the
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Thomas
The novella this novel is based on is one of the best action-adventure stories ever written. I had always resisted reading the book because expanding on that virtually perfect work of pulp art always seemed kind of like bullsh*t. Well... sad to say, it is. The novel still works pretty well, but it doesn't have the tightly plotted forward momentum of the original. It feels like Zelazny just sort of added some irrelevant stuff to bulk it out. It just doesn't feel right.

The original, which is in Th
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Joshua Canaan
To say that this book--which prefigured both of these comparisons by a goodly distance--is a more Mad Maxy version of "The Road" is no Rolling Stone-esque hogwash, or blind youthful insistence that the contemporary is the all; it is merely and delightfully accurate. Zelazny was a brilliant writer, and the most lyrical of his genre. He and Ellison led the fine and too short-lived generation of science fiction/fantasy/horror writers who believed that the offerings of literature could be offered h ...more
Martin Reaves
This was a second trip through Damnation Alley for me. I loved it the first time and loved it again. Roger Zelazny is far more than a Sci-Fi writer; he is a literary craftsman. There are moments of true transcendence here. Highly recommended.
Evgeny
A guy on a death row is given a chance to live if he can deliver anti-plague serum from LA to Boston - he happens to be a very good driver. The problem is, this all takes place in post-apocalyptic US, and the road in question is called Damnation Alley for a reason.

Sounds fairly familiar; I can recall quite a few books and movies with the same plot. Still, this is probably one of the first books with such plot; also Roger Zelazny is a Master of science fiction even in his minor efforts (such as
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Simon
This is a bit like a Seventies road movie, say "Vanishing Point", in a post apocalyptic setting, say "Mad Max". It's an entertaining enough story but it's not deep, a bit of SF candyfloss. Not that there's anything wrong with that. But not quite what I was expecting after the only other of Zelazny's SF I have read, Lord of Light.

Short and sweet. Not much more to be said about it really.
Becky
OMG...post apocalypse at it's BEST...ergh, i wish i could remember the epitaph the main character writes for his girl who dies along the way...something like: 'Here lies Cordelia / it might not matter to no one but she was my girl and I loved her..' Dang! Anyways, wonderful book, wonderful introduction to Zelazny - if you enjoy reading books about what happens after the world ends, you can't miss this one.
Nick
picked this up at the strand for 4 bucks - looks like a fun, easy summer read, w/ some post-apocalypse stuff thrown in for extra fun.

Update: I read this on the plane to and from LA. It was the perfect plane read, which is not the same as saying it was a good book - the characters were less well-developed than the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Chris
Rather enjoyed this. A story of a motorcycle gangleader, Hell Tanner, turned driver in a postapox world. Charged with the task of delivering a cure to the plague to Boston from California. What fallows is a road story across the wastelands. Simple and straight forward, it was a great read.
Sam Dean
I was all psyched when I found a Zelazny book on sale after talking to a bunch of people about A Night in the Lonesome October, but this really sucked. Bad writing, lameish plot, a forced character arc and a bunch of monsters cribbed from B movies. I'd read Lobo comics, or The Stand, instead.
Steve
Forget the movie. Read the original book.

Two guys make the trip across a post-apocalyptic America to deliver a life-saving vaccine. Or something like that. It's been a while since I read it. But I do remember that one of the two men making the trip was named "Hell" Tanner, a former Hell's Angel. He can take care of himself. And the kid he accompanies.

In the movie they turn Tanner into a wimpy soldier. Not a Green Beret or Special Forces type of soldier, but... not a former Hell's Angel kind of g
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Roddy Williams
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Reinhold
Ganz anders als die Verfilmung

Vor vielen Jahren habe ich den Film "Straße der Verdammnis" gesehen - als ich herausfand, dass die Vorlage von Roger Zelazny stammt, musste ich es unbedingt lesen. Das Empfinden bei dem Buch war allerdings sehr zwiespältig.

Dass die Verfilmung mit der Vorlage nicht übereinstimmt ist per se natürlich ein absolut neutrales Faktum, in vielerlei Hinsicht ist jedoch der Film facettenreicher als dieses Büchlein. Damit sind wir auch schon bei einer kurzen Inhaltsangabe. Die
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Indy Kochte
It was an okay novel. A bit dated now, and was a better read when I was a kid than a few decades later as an adult. :-D

Hell Tanner is the antihero of the story. He's the last of the Hell's Angels bike gang, put on a task to carry a serum from California to Boston where a plague is ravaging what is left of the city, this some years after a three-day nuclear war. Along the way Tanner, driving a nifty armed and armored 'car' (which lacked enough description for me to form a good mental image of it
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Mike
I am an unabashed fan of Zelazny’s Amber books, yes I even love the second series starring Merlin, but other than Amber I am far too under-read when it comes to Zelany’s body of work. Last year, when tracking down post-apocalyptic novels to read I came across Zelazny’s Damnation Alley, purchased a used copy, then promptly forgot about it on a bookshelf. I noticed the bright yellow spine of the Gollancz SF paperback and decided finally give it a go.

Damnation Alley is a post-apocalyptic action nov
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Julian Meynell
Quite an important book for the influence it had on other things. The famous Judge Dredd story The Cursed Earth is a direct rip off of the book and you can clearly see the influence on the Mad Max movies.

However, the book feels like a bit of a missed opportunity. The central premise is great: a journey through a radioactive wasteland to deliver supplies of a vaccine. The reason they cannot fly there is a bit of delightful hokum. However the scenes on the road are not as well executed as they mig
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John Wiswell
May 03, 2008 John Wiswell rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Zelazny fans, post-apocalyptic readers
I can't tell how serious Zelazny was in writing this novella. The opening is almost pure cheese and pulp action glitz, with such unforgivably bad (and therefore fun) dialogue as, "I just want to tell you that you're the lowest human being I've ever encountered. You have killed men and raped women. You once gouged out a man's eyes just for fun. You've been indicted twice for pushing dope and three times as a pimp. You're a drunk and a degenerate, and I don't think you've had a bath since the day ...more
Modboy
Really 1.5 stars. The plot, character development and overall writing is quite terrible. It's hard to like Hell. Yes, that's the name of the main character. To get out of jail the anti-hero makes a deal to transport a plague cure to Boston. Of course, he'll need to travel from L.A. through the wasteland. It makes no sense that the coasts are mostly clear but the middle of the country has been bombed out but that's the least of our worries. The story goes from one fight to the next: destroying mu ...more
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3619
Roger Zelazny made his name with a group of novellas which demonstrated just how intense an emotional charge could be generated by the stock imagery of sf; the most famous of these is 'A Rose for Ecclesiastes' in which a poet struggles to convince dying and sterile Martians that life is worth continuing. Zelazny continued to write excellent short stories throughout his career. Most of his novels d ...more
More about Roger Zelazny...
Nine Princes in Amber (Amber Chronicles, #1) The Great Book of Amber (The Chronicles of Amber, #1-10) Lord of Light The Courts of Chaos (Amber Chronicles, #5) The Guns of Avalon (Amber Chronicles, #2)

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