The galaxy's inhabited planets are held together by the repressive Eron Company, the apparent holder of the secret to faster-than-light travel through the Tubes, the network linking the scattered worlds together. Mysterious parties have hired the adventurer Horn to assassinate the company's general manager, Garth Kohlnar. The subject of a massive manhunt, he encounters Wendre Kohlnar, the general manager's daughter and possible heir to the empire.
Escaping through a transdimensional Tube, Horn finds himself on the planet Eron, a world consumed by the Eron Company. There he encounters a corrupt aristocracy, a brewing power struggle, a covert revolution, and the mystery of who actually knows the secret of the Tubes.
With an Afterword by James Gunn describing the history of the book.
James Gunn writes:
I had no idea that Star Bridge had any claims to classic status until writer Ed Bryant showed up in Missoula, Montana, where the Science Fiction Research Association met in 1976. Ed had just attended a convention in Washington and he told an audience that a novel named Star Bridge had turned him into a science fiction writer, and he added, turning to Jack and me in the audience, "I'm not sure I thank you."
A month later I was having breakfast in New York City with John Brunner and Samuel R. Delany, and I mentioned the incident. Delany said, "The same thing happened to me." And we put Delany's comment on the cover of the Berkeley reprint that Jonas reviewed.
Since then Bryant wrote, in an introduction to volume #4 of The Collected Stories of Jack Williamson: "I think I was about twelve, probably in the sixth grade, when the TAB Book Club delivered a paperback of Star Bridge by Jack Williamson and James E. Gunn. To this day, I refuse to understand why this novel is not accorded the same classic status as The Stars My Destination or The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress."
PRAISE FOR STAR BRIDGE
"...reads more like a collaboration between Heinlein and Asimov. The concept is pure, classic science fiction. A vast empire spans the galaxy, controlled from the planet Eron which alone holds the secret to faster-than-light travel."
--Gerald Jonas, science fiction critic for the _New York Times_
"A fast-moving blood-and-thunder novel."
--The New York Times
PRAISE FOR JACK WILLIAMSON
"I have no hesitation in placing Jack Williamson on a plane with two other American giants, Isaac Asimov and Robert Heinlein."
--Arthur C. Clarke
"A pair of science fiction classics, as fresh and apposite today as they were nearly half a century ago."
--Kirkus Reviews on The Humanoids
PRAISE FOR JAMES GUNN
"Transcendental shows exactly why Gunn attained Grandmaster status in the first place."
--Paul Di Filippo
"One of the very best portrayals of contact with extraterrestrial intelligence ever written."
--Carl Sagan on The Listeners