Trying to locate an old book I read before.

I vaguely remember reading a book years ago about a guy sent to a prison planet. It was no ordinary planet. The walls of the prison were black, absorbed all light, and were known to make people "crazy". While there, he was able to meditate and "connect" with something in the void walls of the prison, while others could not. The planet was the worst kind of planet, some type of jungle, and something could either kill you or poison you. But for this main character, it was nothing. He had seen worse.

But the meat of the book was him figuring out that the prison wasn't built, it was found, and the walls, as mentioned, were not what they thought. I remember, and I know the old saying "don't judge a book by its cover", but if an artist could connect with me visually, I would read it as a kid. The cover, from memory, had a jungle planet and a square prison with lights, with a guy cross-legged, maybe in a "space suit" or something (no helmet), and it was black/silver with raised lettering perhaps! I think he helped a lady escape as well, but I don't remember too many details about it.

The book itself was WELL above my level of reading comprehension at the time, I was in middle school perhaps, but enjoyed every minute of it, because I remember it well into my 40's.

  • The black walls is ringing a bell but I can't put my finger on it. Is there something living inside the walls? Some form of intelligence that the protagonist learns to communicate with? Nov 30, 2020 at 13:29

1 Answer 1


This sounds a bit like Alfred Bester's The Stars My Destination (1956), also published as Tiger! Tiger!, and the subject of several previous answers (with "hub" question here).

To quote a relevant passage from the novel's Wikipedia page:

... Foyle cannot be broken, and he is put into a jaunte-proof prison. There he meets Jisbella McQueen, who teaches him to think clearly, and tells him he should find out who gave the order not to rescue him. Together they escape...

The prison is underground and kept completely dark to prevent its captives, who are all capable of teleporting if they can see their surroundings, from escaping. A different answer has some more details about the main character's time in the prison.

  • That prison was on Earth, no? Dec 1, 2020 at 0:03
  • @OrganicMarble, it's been a while since I've read it, so I don't recall. Reading the description again, this book is not such a great match, after all. I'll leave the answer up on the chance that the OP might have misremembered or conflated plot details and/or the cover from another book.
    – Otis
    Dec 1, 2020 at 4:58

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