Like most suburbanites, Pel Brown had problems in his basement. But his were somewhat out of the ordinary: a portal from a world of magic had opened, and now wizards and barbarian swordsmen were gathered in his house, demanding that he help them defeat Shadow, a strange, dark force that was taking over their world. On the other side of town, Amy Jewell had a similar set of problems: a spaceship had crashed in -- and trashed -- her backyard. Now Prossie Thorpe, a telepath from the Galactic Empire, wanted Amy's help against the powerful Shadow that sought to rule her world. Pel Brown, along with Amy, Thorpe, a menagerie of wizards, a lawyer, a disbelieving neighbor, and Pel's wife and daughter, went through the portal in his basement to peek at the world of magic, just for a second. Then Shadow attacked, and the portal back to Earth closed. The only escape was through yet another portal -- but this one led to the Galactic Empire. Though Pel had seen plenty of science-fiction movies, he soon realized that things were not going to work out the way they did on screen. This was no game, no fantasy. This was for keeps. Pel Brown and company soon found themselves entangled in escapades that would make heroes out of common men -- and corpses out of heroes.