Humans are spread throughout the galaxy, but Earth is unknown. I believe it is a John Brunner novel.

In the opening scene the main character is arriving at a space port; he is amused at using the alias John Carter, as he knows the origin of the name but it is unknown here. The region is filled with rival governments. At the end, the main character is revealed to be head of a government (empire?) than any in the region.

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    Please could you expand on this question a bit? As it stands I'm not quite clear what it all means, and in story-ID questions every little detail can be useful.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented Mar 13, 2016 at 20:57
  • John Brunner wrote a number of stories that Ace published, particularly in the early sixties. Nothing immediately leaps to mind about a character using the alias of John Carter. Anything additional that you might remember would help. Commented Mar 13, 2016 at 22:16
  • Int the opening scene the main character is arriving at space port as he is amused at using the alias John Carter as he knows the origin of the name but it is unknown here.Region is filled with rival governments. At the end main character is reveled to be head of a government (empire?) than any in the region.
    – GrayM
    Commented Mar 13, 2016 at 22:41
  • I think I have read that novel and have a copy of it - boxed and packed up unfortunately. No title in the list of John Brunner novels from before 1970 sounds particularly like it could be the one. As I remember the protagonist was identified as coming from beyond the known region of space and thus agents of various local planetary governments were after him to find out if he was a spy for an invasion from beyond known space. Commented Mar 14, 2016 at 2:39
  • That sounds right. My copy is also boxed up. I have looked through lists of Brunner's books and can't identify it. Maybe it was a different author.
    – GrayM
    Commented Mar 14, 2016 at 13:42

2 Answers 2


This is 'No Man's World' by Kenneth Bulmer (also published as 'Earth's Long Shadow'). From the inside cover, and can be seen on Goodreads.

When John Carter came to the Horakah Cluster, it was in the guise of an interstellar salesman. If anyone there suspected he was more than that, it would mean his instant execution.

But Carter's unusual personality made it possible for him to put over the deception and even gain a visa to the forbidden central planet, an arsenal of space war factories. Of course, had to make some special deals to do it, and those proved his undoing.

For he found himself caught between two menaces: the tyrannical militaristic moguls and a fantastically greater threat fro beyond the ends of space.

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    Just as a tip, I'd recommend reporting the quote's text into the answer's body (as well as including a summary, even if it's copy-pasted from somewhere, with a link to the source). This serves two purposes: the answer's body being indexed by search engines (Google can find matching words, but not search them inside an image, at least not that easily) - and it can be read out loud by text-to-voice softwares, for the visually impaired for instance. Great find nonetheless, have an upvote! :)
    – Jenayah
    Commented Nov 20, 2018 at 23:01

One John Brunner story with a somewhat promising title is "The Man from the Big Dark". However, the cover of Great Science Fiction Adventures, which includes "The Man from the Big Dark", can be seen at the link destination. And as well as I can remember that makes it a different story from the one GrayM asks about. The story I think GrayM is asking about was a full length novel, while the stories in Great Science Fiction Adventures must be shorter. I think that "The Man from the Big Dark" arrives in his small personal space ship while the one GrayM asks about seems to come on a spaceliner.

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