Winner of the Philip K. Dick Memorial Award
In 1870s London, a city of contradictions and improbabilities, where living men are willing to risk all to steal a carp. Here, a night of bangers and ale at the local pub can result in an eternity at the Blood Pudding with the rest of the reanimated dead.
A dead man has been piloting a mysterious decaying airship across the foggy skies of the city for some years, arousing the interest of many: the Royal Society, a fraudulent evangelist named Shiloh, the vivisectionist Dr. Ignacio Narbondo and of course the scientist and explorer Professor Langdon St. Ives.
St. Ives and his friends of the Trismegistus Club are more concerned with the inheritance of Jack Owlesby, a fine young fellow affianced to Dorothy, the beautiful daughter of toymaker/inventor William Keeble, who builds jolly boxes for space aliens, oxygenators, and gigantic emeralds. Jack's late father bequeathed him just such a gem, but also left behind dark knowledge related to the evil Narbondo. St. Ives suspects that Narbondo and his assistant, are using this knowledge to raise the dead, possibly for nefarious purposes. When poor Bill Kraken steals what everyone assumes to be Owlesby's emerald in a fit of alien-induced madness, ambitions, greed and heroism collide turning Hampstead Heath into a carnival of flying skulls, crumbling ghouls and crashing spaceships.
This rip-roaring, highly entertaining steam punk classic is the second book in the Narbondo series, written by Blaylock, one of the literary pioneers of the Steampunk movement. Set in the same world, the series need not be read in order.
©2012 James Blaylock (P)2012 Audible Ltd
"Try this zany story on audio...Nigel Carrington was a brilliant choice. There are a lot of similar characters in Homunculus, but Mr. Carrington made them distinguishable. He also hit exactly the right tone with the humour which ranged from deadpan to black comedy to zany farce. In fact, I would specifically recommend the audio version of Homunculus just because Nigel Carrington's performance was a large factor in my enjoyment of the book.... As you may have guessed, Homunculus is zany and completely over-the-top in the right kind of way....If you're in the mood for a surreal British comedy in the vein of Monty Python or Fawlty Towers, James P. Blaylock's Homunculus will fit the bill nicely." (fantasyliterature.com)
"Fascinating, darkly atmospheric, absurd and brilliant. " (rantingdragon.com)
"Blaylock keeps the action moving by cutting back and forth nimbly between various plots and characters (and points of view), bringing everyone together for a bizarre, but satisfying ending." (greenmanreview.com)
"An epic to lose yourself in, brilliant narration"
I'll be honest, this is one of those books that takes a while to get into. But once you get past the introduction and prologue, and settle into the proper action (chapter 2 on your download), Homunculus is brilliant. I love Terry Gilliam films like Baron Munchausen and Doctor Parnassus, so this type of story is right up my street.
The story is epic and detailed, and maintains a deadpan humour throughout, painting crazy characters and absurd situations in whimsical situations. This book is categorically not for realists, but a delightful romp. Nigel Carrington's narration is perfect in communicating the surreal British humour that runs throughout the whole story, and I loved the almost Blackadder tones he maintained for Langdon St Ives' character. If you enjoy the alternative magical realities created in books like Aaronovitch's River of London trilogy, and Kim Newman's Anno Dracula books, give this a go!
"Such a shame"
I so wanted to enjoy this - the subject sounds wonderful and there are great reviews all over the internet. However, to me it just reads like a third rate imitation of Douglas Adams. And why settle for an imitation when you can have the real thing? The humour just doesn't quite cut the mustard. Don't let me put you off, I realise I am in the minority due to the consensus otherwise on various websites, but I'd suggest thinking twice if you are a fan of Hitchhiker's Guide or Dirk Gently. Very disappointed.
"Fast moving, highly imaginative entertaining romp"
Never a dull moment in this fast moving imaginative fun steam punk novel, really enjoyed it, but sometimes struggled to keep pace, but maybe that is just me! Excellent characterisations and well read by Nigel Carrington.
"Escapism and intrigue"
Really enjoyed this, characters took a while to develop but the story carry's it along. Characterisation is well done and the multi-speaker scenes it is easy to follow who is who.
Will be exploring the series further.
"First Steampunk Novel"
This was my first excursion into the Steampunk genre and I have to say that it took me a little while to get into. Once I had got myself in the right frame of mind I really enjoyed the alternate reality. The characters were well written and described. In the end I thoroughly enjoyed it.
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