Ether Frolics Steampunk stories
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Topic Summary - Displaying 15 post(s).
Posted by: Forum Administrator Posted on: 03. Aug 2018 at 17:01
Reading Margery Allingham's mystery Tiger in the Smoke, set in the late 1940s, there's a gang that seemed like it would be not out of place in some of Blaylock's steampunk. Led by an albino in dark glasses, they include a fellow who's a bit mad from a trauma in the war, a dwarf who sometimes becomes hysterical and gets strapped into a wheelchair with a plaster over his mouth, and a miscellany of other characters. Together, they traipse around London in the fog as a band, playing drums and cymbals and things, collecting alms and biding their time until they can get the treasure they dream of. During the course of the story they kidnap the heroine's fiancé, imprisoning him in their lair because they can't work out what to do with him...
Posted by: Swancrash Posted on: 05. Jun 2018 at 01:47
Going back and forth between Zeuglodon and Thirteen Phantasms, I opted for a re-read of Night Relics. When I first read it, back in the mid-90s, I was surprised by how outside of works such as The Elfin Ship and The Paper Grail it seemed. Coming back to it 20 years later, I really enjoyed it. Well worth the second read, and resplendent with Blaylock style, I think now. I thought there were also a few echoes of Tim Powers, as well, but maybe that was because I'd just read Down and Out in Purgatory...
Posted by: Swancrash Posted on: 26. Jul 2017 at 10:11
I just finished re-reading Kurt Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle. Good stuff. Now I've got a Dick Francis mystery (Forfeit) and C.J. Cherryh's Visitor up next because I'm going to be on a plane for a loooong time, from Korea to the US west coast, and those are my two 'airplane authors'. For some reason, I can enjoy their works on an airplane, but nothing else. Still waiting on River's Edge. Maybe I'll re-read Zeuglodon when I get back. I liked that one a lot.
Posted by: Swancrash Posted on: 18. Dec 2016 at 23:41
Just finished a sequence that started with Jane Eyre, followed by The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde (odd mystery), then a Star Trek short story + old Larry Niven short story for palate cleansers, and now I've just started a re-read of All The Bells on Earth. I haven't read this one since it first came out in...1995?
Posted by: Swancrash Posted on: 30. Jun 2016 at 21:45
Lovecraft: interesting stuff. Even from the 21st century vantage point, creepiness pervades the atmosphere when reading him. I was reading a short story recently that got creepier and creepier and then the writer used a word that sounded very Lovecraftian: Yog-Sothoth. And, Internet Be Praised, I easily discovered that yes it was, and that the author, Michael Collings, was a Lovecraft devotee of some kind.
Posted by: Mike Posted on: 18. Apr 2016 at 04:01
Re-Reading all of Lovecraft's works.  I purchased "H.P. Lovecraft: The Complete Fiction" from Barnes & Noble.  

Also slowly making my way though "The Lives of Tao," by Wesly Chu.
Posted by: Swancrash Posted on: 13. Apr 2016 at 22:32
I finished Digging Leviathan a while ago, which led to a new topic on this website. And now, laggard though I am, I've finally got my fingers on a copy of Beneath London...well, my electronic fingers, virtual fingers, since it's the e-book version. I much prefer a nice heavy paper book in my hands, but when one lives 5,000 miles away from the nearest English bookstore that might carry such a book, sometimes the e-book is just the best solution. Same words, anyway. Now to get stuck in.
Posted by: Swancrash Posted on: 05. Feb 2016 at 00:59
Just started re-re-reading the Digging Leviathan. I'm pretty excited. Look! There's William Ashbless himself! And Basil Peach, and Giles. My literary life is going to be awfully interesting for a while.
Posted by: Forum Administrator Posted on: 19. Nov 2015 at 11:04
As I recall, Tubby Frobisher appears only in the one Wodehouse novel (though I've only read about 70 of Wodehouse's 90+ books...). I hope Jim won't mind my quoting him here, but fans will be interested in this glimpse of the character's origins:

"I was indeed heavily influenced by Wodehouse, and I brazenly stole the name Tubby Frobisher. He first appeared back in the early? 80s in "The Idol's Eye." I remember being at Roy Squires's house (You might remember him from The Digging Leviathan) and having a conversation about the large number of Frobishers in pulp stories. That conversation tipped the scale. At the time I had no notion of writing a series of St. Ives stories, but that's what happened. Frobisher and his uncle came into their own years later." -JPB
Posted by: Swancrash Posted on: 17. Nov 2015 at 22:48
Forum Administrator wrote on 17. Feb 2015 at 17:04:
St Ives fans might like to give PG Wodehouse's Ring for Jeeves (also published under the title The Return of Jeeves) a look. It contains the original "Tubby Frobisher" who inspired Blaylock's character. The Wodehouse character is someone frequently mentioned who never appears in person - he lives out in the East, in Malaya or somewhere in the Empire.


Reading Right Ho, Jeeves, and I've encountered a character named Tuppy Glossop, who bears a first name similar to our noble Tubby Frobisher, but thus far no personality equal to Tubby's. I'm guessing the character referenced above is a different one. This one is also not in Malaya, but rather in Worcestershire. He does appear to share Tubby's appetite, however.
Posted by: Swancrash Posted on: 15. Oct 2015 at 04:28
I'm in the middle of a mystery called Ten Second Staircase by Christopher Fowler, and I came across this sentence as we are following one of the septuagenarian lead detectives: "Arthur Bryant's office was starting to look like a collision between a greenhouse, a secondhand bookshop, and a cryptozoological museum." Brilliant. And the reference to cryptozoology alone merited a mention in a Blaylock forum, I thought.
Posted by: Swancrash Posted on: 19. Aug 2015 at 21:48
I just finished The Ebb-Tide, by Robert Louis Stevenson, not James Blaylock (I know Blaylock avoided the hyphen). I know Blaylock has cited Stevenson as an inspiration, and when I saw the title of this story, I had to read it. Although not Blaylockian in tone, Mr. Stevenson had quite the deft touch with characterization and turn of phrase. I have yet to read anything by him that was less than entertaining. Certain terms and attitudes, however, would be potentially upsetting to many modern readers; like Twain, Stevenson did not varnish his times via euphemism or editing.
Now I feel like I should read Blaylock's The Ebb Tide again to hunt for associations. I think I'll do that. Delightful homework.
Posted by: Swancrash Posted on: 02. Jul 2015 at 21:01
Speaking of references, albeit non-Blaylockian, I was reading a short story by Connie Willis the other day (The Winds of Marble Arch) and at the end of the story she referenced Paddington, the bear, not the station. She didn't use the name, but she mentioned a second-hand market at Portobello Road which had "everything under the sun", taking me straight to Mr. Brown's shop. I could be wrong. There could be such shops in reality...probably are. But I choose to believe it was a conscious cross-literary reference, which I find quite charming.
Posted by: Mike Posted on: 09. May 2015 at 00:30
Ashbless goes all the way back to the Elfin Ship.  The Beddlington Ape, if I remember correctly, would blurt out lines from an Ashbless poem.
Posted by: Swancrash Posted on: 11. Mar 2015 at 08:47
Just finished The Stone Giant.  Haven't read the other Balumnian books in decades, so I was pretty fresh to this world.  I hadn't enjoyed it so much when I read it in the past, but I really liked it this time.  I can see how Blaylock moved from this to The Paper Grail. I sometimes felt that this Escargot was much closer to Blaylock's other, later, Californian heroes, and that he [Blaylock] wanted to burst out of the story's world, perhaps like Escargot felt the occasional tug to return to Twombly Town.  Escargot did move between worlds...he just didn't quite get to Northern California.
Loved that Blaylock threw in an Ashbless reference, too: while pondering how to greet an Elf galleon captain, Escargot tried to think of "something to impress Captain Appleby with.  A quotation would be nice - something profound.  A snatch of verse from Ashbless, perhaps."