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Message started by Swancrash on 15. Feb 2016 at 02:12

Title: Connexions
Post by Swancrash on 15. Feb 2016 at 02:12

I thought I'd start a new topic and see if anyone bites.
I'm reading The Digging Leviathan, and my reading of other Blaylock works, as well as Tim Powers' stuff, has been wide, but always interspersed with other stuff. So while I know there are multiple and sundry connections among O, These Many Books, I can't always keep them straight. Here's my plan: I'm going to throw out a question of my own now, and ask for questions, as well as observations of interesting connected themes and characters. Not that this isn't a favorite, and well trodden, aspect (can you tread on an aspect?) of Mr. Blaylock's work, but revisiting is harmless, much like an Axolotl in a pair of knee breeches. My question is, there is some mystery surrounding the Ashbless character in this book, including allusions to his indeciperhable age, that lends itself to a possible connection to Powers' Anubis Gates Ashbless, i.e., could it be the same character? Any takers?

Title: Re: Connexions
Post by Forum Administrator on 17. Feb 2016 at 16:47

I welcome all speculation on the subject of Ashbless, as the world awaits the definitive scholarly biography (or perhaps autobiography) of this intriguing gentleman.

Title: Re: Connexions
Post by Swancrash on 05. Apr 2016 at 22:08

Anubis Gates: published 1983. Digging Leviathan: published 1984. I wonder how much Powers and Blaylock were chatting while writing those two. If I were in my grad school mode I'd quote passages from Digging Leviathan, but there are multiple hints of this Ashbless' advanced age and his unclear but clearly long history are all over in that book, implying that this is indeed Powers' Ashbless from the Anubis Gates.
On the other hand, in the Digging Leviathan, at one point Ashbless appears with a photo he got from the "self-satisfied little snake" Steerforth Benner, and it is implied that Edward, and so probably the whole group, has had past dealings with "young Steerforth Benner." Blaylock includes no hints of weirdness from the fact that if this is indeed Powers' Ashbless, he'd be wearing Benner's body.
So...not completely clear after all. Doubts remain. Fun.

Title: Re: Connexions
Post by Forum Administrator on 07. Apr 2016 at 14:48

As a tangential curiosity, I thought I'd mention that Lavie Tidhar's The Bookman includes a mention (amongst a bunch of other books) of Accounts of London Scientists by William Ashbless, and James Bailey's Life of William Ashbless. Also, though Blaylock- rather than Ashbless-related, is a mention of the book Captain Eustacio Binky's Coffee Making as a Fine Art. See pages 140-2 of The Bookman Histories (an omnibus) by Lavie Tidhar.

Title: Re: Connexions
Post by Swancrash on 30. Jun 2016 at 21:52

I was re-reading Powers' Expiration Date and came across this line regarding methods of attracting ghosts: "...a nickel with a nail welded to the back so that it could be hammered into a wooden floor, where it would confound the patient efforts of ghosts to pick it up...." Immediately, I was cast back to a Blaylockian main character who did the same thing, in his own house, to confound a troublesome and potentially evil resident of his home. All the Bells of Earth, perhaps? So, either this nailed nickel prank is more common than I knew, or the Powers/Blaylock connection has extended beyond mood, setting, and character sharing. Or both.

Title: Re: Connexions
Post by Mike on 29. Jul 2018 at 02:45

I thought the nail/coin trick was in "The Last Coin" and the intended target was Pennyman, though it has been a while since I read that or "Bells" so forgive me if I'm incorrect.  

I have not read Anubis Gate, so I cannot speculate on the connection.  However, Ashbless in Digging Leviathan is certainly a strange character.  He seems to know something about the life prolonging properties of carp, or at least suspects something, as the main characters find him (Ashbless) in the underground lake area where they encounter Frosticos's boat.  

This could account for his existing in different time periods, so I think your hypothesis has some merit.

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