THANK YOU ABRAM!
I read this book back in the 1970s. I think it was a Bantam edition and couldn't ever remeber the title even though I've never forgotten the story!
Hey! I just wanted to draw attention to an author that virtually nobody has heard of: Doris Piserchia.
Though she has authored many strange, wonderful and now out-of-print novels, folks who mine for the best of forgotten things agree that A BILLION DAYS OF EARTH is one of her greatest. Let me give you a little run-down of it:
In the far distant future, human beings have evolved into aloof, indolent creatures with incredible psychokinetic powers, and are called "gods" by those who have taken man's place in creating culture and running civilization. These new men are very close in appearance to homo sapiens, but there are some notable differences -- they have evolved from rats and dogs, after all. Chief among these is their lack of developed hands; to get over this handicap, most of them wear ingenious mechanical hands over their paws. It's all business as usual -- cults, college, corrupt politicians, pointless raids on sentient cat-bees -- until Sheen, an ego-devouring entity of silvery liquid, flows up from the bowels of the earth to take what's his. Has the apocalypse arrived? What role will Rik the rat-man play in determining the fate of the world?
This novel is full of action, emotion and so much vivid weirdness that you can barely get through a page without exclaiming "Zounds! How cool and creepy is that?" You also get a liberal dose of Piserchia's dry, dark humor (which is right up my alley).
Piserchia has also authored a number of other notable works, including MISTER JUSTICE, a fantastic tale of a masked, time-traveling vigilante, the government agents who want to take him down, and the superhuman criminal syndicate he wants to smash. Though most people who read the book agree that it's terrific (Clute and Nicholls even gave it an unqualified thumbs-up in their ENCYCLOPEDIA OF SCIENCE FICTION), what's in print is only HALF OF THE STORY! Ace didn't want it all because it would make the ACE DOUBLE they aimed to compile too fat on one side. Just sayin' . . . it sure would be cool to...