The Gone-Away World

A world-ending weapon that makes its targets “go away” has, perhaps predictably, gone awry and left large parts of the world uninhabitable. Now, an enormous and impossible fire risks destroying the mysterious architecture that protects the livable zone from the literal apocalypse that the war left behind. Gonzo Lubitsch and his friends are the only ones skilled and crazy enough to try to put the fire out, but on their way out the door, they are warned not to take the job. The story that unravels features several impossible escapes, various monsters, the longstanding rivalry between two schools for martial arts, mimes, and a heartbreaking and astonishing surprise. Here as in many a story, who turns out to be the monster and who is human is not as clear-cut as it may at first seem.