Monday, October 19, 2015

Cover Problems and Naming

I'm still unsure what to call the book. It grew from what was originally a short piece called Company Man that was about an engineer from a steampunk-type company and his problems with the US military during the Civil War. As it grew and I loaded the story with other themes and ideas, I kept the title. After all, the story had the same protagonist, and he had some of the same problems in early chapters. But the title no longer represents what the book is about.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Where I Write

WHEN I moved into my current house, there were four available rooms and four people looking to inhabit them. One of my housemates took one look in here, saw this dinky little desk, and said 'this is where Cian is going to write the Great American Novel.' And just maybe she was right!

I'm Writing A Book!

SO - the direction of this blog is changing. Maybe. As well/instead of reviews there will be posts that chronicle the finishing of the book.

What's it about? It's an ode to Victorian-era adventure stories, of course. It's about Selwyn Murphy, an Irish-American in the mid-19th century who flees the US Civil War by joining a mad Confederate general's expedition to a mythical lost land in South America.

Here's a Confederate soldier

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Burton & Swinburne in The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man

So – what’s to be done about this whole ‘steampunk’ thing, then? It's got to be pretty crud, right - all that stuff about guys in goggles footling around in wind-up blimps and such, right? Surely it’s something I ought to have an opinion on, being as I love Victoriana - in particular, the kind of early Victorian science fiction that steampunk riffs on. I have long thought about expressing such an opinion. So here we go.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Poisoned Island (2013) by Lloyd Shepherd

Buoyed by my enjoyment of The Age of Wonder, I spent Christmas in the grip of a fixation with the Georgian period. As I’ve said before, it’s not a period I’ve been traditionally particularly interested in. It’s the Victorian age that still rules my heart, don’t worry about that. But while the Georgians might have lacked fashion sense and pseudo-modern technology, they sure knew how to conquer other countries; and as such, they built the model of Empire that the whole world was soon to tremble to during the Victorian age.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

The Ghost Hunters (2013) by Neil Spring

Borley Rectory is, for me, the ur-haunted house. The original. The most 'pure' manifestation of the idea of the 'haunted house.' When I close my eyes and think of a haunted house, it's that Victorian red-brick monstrosity I see, its twin front windows staring malevolently. Before there was Hill House, before there was the Belasco House, there was Borley Rectory. I can't even hear those two words without being forcibly yanked back to my childhood: a childhood filled with 'real-life' books about ghosts and hauntings that I collected obsessively.

And those books were filled with Borley Rectory.

Monday, December 30, 2013

The Age of Wonder by Richard Holmes (2008)

The Age of Wonder sat on my to-read pile for over a year. I go in and out of periods of enjoying non-fiction, and it wasn't until this December that a Christmas reading of Treasure Island got me interested in the18th century again, and I thought that it was time to dust off this tale of Enlightenment science. It's a setting that's a bit earlier than my usual period of interest. Traditionally I've been fascinated by the Victorian period, partly because I love their dress sense, and I've always been turned off by anything involving powdered wigs and ridiculous-looking breeches and high socks. But I remembered reading through the first chapter previously and being struck by the tale of the first Europeans visiting Tahiti, so I cracked into the book for real this month.