Golden Age was a novel by Lawrence Burton published in late 2020. It was written contemporaneously with his Faction Paradox novel Against Nature. Rather than a direct sequel or a tie-in to Against Nature, Golden Age was "both a pendant and a reaction to the same", describing unrelated, parallel events that only barely cross paths on the fringes of either novel.
Written contemporaneous with Against Nature, Golden Age is both a pendant and a reaction to the same but not a sequel, and definitely not a "tie-in". Composed by hurling lawn darts at a map of the future in accordance with numerous compositional techniques first developed by A.E. van Vogt, Golden Age follows persons from 15th century Mexico, 21st century Texas, the planet Ganda Mnemma, and wherever gnomes come from - first to Jim's diner, San Antonio, and then the tunnels which run beneath the universe connecting unrelated worlds for no adequately explained reason. Various unusual encounters occur along the way, with a fatal and horrendously smelly one right at the end, and you can read about them all in this powerful new addition to the canon of blue collar science-fiction.
Ray Leinster and Jay Kreutznaer are getting started at their new job, inspecting monitoring equipment installed by the organisation that employs them in various caves across the world. As they explore the network of tunnels, however, they experience shifting gravity. Ray catches a glimpse of a mysterious human figure, too tall by far and with an unnerving smile with too many teeth. Moments later, the figure vanishes both from sight and from his memory. Jay tries to convince him that he has simply hallucinated due to the disorientation.
Meanwhile, a party of three — two humans, Arnen and Leña, and one Mnemmen, Hevrhasrana — are exploring the labyrinth to which, unbeknownst to Ray, the cave is one particular entry point. As they are starting to run out of water, the three travellers are in a hurry to get to the next "terminal" on their map, the Yauhtepec Map: a planet none of them have ever heard of, called Aloophoa.
At a café called Jim's, Ray sits alone, having seemingly forgotten about Jay's existence. However, the thought that he has forgotten "something" in the caves nags at him, and he makes his mind up to return. There, retracing his steps, he comes across a gnome called Gordon, who points out that he has had his memory of his partner wiped, and demands to speak to "his King". In a daze, Ray agrees to drive Gordon to his boss.
Arriving at Aloophoa, which turns out to be a largely empty planet, albeit one with a breathable atmosphere, the explorers come across a shaggy man dressed in rags. He turns out to be Jay Kreutzneuer, who has been stranded here for over a decade. Arnen has a vision of the grinning man, who asks her how he "can get to them", without explaining who "they" are. When she tells the others what she has seen, Jay recognises the figure as "Mister Cold", a "ghost" who has also been haunting him.
- This novel contained references to his short stories in the 2010 anthology The Great Divide, among others. The premise of The Great Divide was given in its official summary: "What if those Space Gods we were all supposedly waiting for had turned out to be so far in advance of even our wildest technological expectations that they found a way to wipe themselves out so completely as to leave virtually no trace of their ever having existed?" The retroactive porting over of this anthology into the DWU's continuity has evident implications regarding the development of the War in Heaven as Burton pictured it.
- Burton noted that he wrote the books in daily 800-hundred-words increment, in accordance with principles set down by A. E. van Vogt.