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The survival man

Novella (15,150 words)

The story is presented as the diary of a missing Himalayan explorer, Michael Hillman, though the style makes little attempt to reproduce typical diary entries.

Hillman together with one Sherpa guide survives an avalanche that kills the rest of his party. The next day he finds his remaining guide savagely killed, and is kidnapped by a man called Oram, who takes him to the secluded valley of Muztaghir. Here a Greek doctor known as The Patriarch has set up a community which, thanks to a special quality of the valley's environment, will be capable of surviving nuclear holocaust and repopulating the planet after World War III. Unfortunately the community has developed a fascist eugenics outlook, and Hillman seeks to escape, rescuing in the process his beautiful Irish attendant Sandra. He must somehow circumvent the Abominable Snowmen who act as the valley's guardians.

Serialised in the Evening Standard, 31 August to 11 September 1959.

Toronto Star Weekly, 13 February 1960.

Included in the collection Short Stories and Novellas; the Exotics, ed. John Higgins, 2011.