Shortly after I wrote Alexei that fan letter on Star Well in October 1968, Richard Nixon was elected president — and from that point on, the world grew steadily darker and more paranoid.
Alexei had begun working on the third Villiers book by then, and where the first two had poured out of him quickly and easily, this one came slow and hard. It was darker as well — a story set entirely at night — and there was an air of doubt and apprehension underlying the wackiness. By the time he finished, just before our wedding that June, it was clear that to push on with the fourth book would only lead further in the direction of negativity, violence, and disintegration.
All we knew at the time was that real-world events were making it difficult to hold onto the light-hearted spirit these books required. But in retrospect, there was something deeper going on. The chaos vision, which had provided the central organizing principle for the Villiers books, was breaking down under pressure, falling into self-doubt and turning bleak and violent and increasingly paranoid.
Alexei was faced with a choice between two paths. One was to follow the chaos vision into decadence and despair, as so many did over those next few years. The other was to set chaos aside, along with the Villiers books, and focus instead on holism, multiculturalism, and the successor to chaos, all of which retained their idealistic sheen. And in the course of 1969-70, that was exactly what he did.