Item description for Homunculus by James P. Blaylock...
Homonculus is a fascinating trip to a London that never existed ... but perhaps should have.
Darkly atmospheric, Homonculus weaves together the stories of Narbondo -- a mad hunchback who works tirelessly to bring the dead back to life, of the members of the Trismegistus Club -- a surly group of scientists and philosophers who meet at Captain Powers' Pipe Shop, and of the homonculus -- a tiny man whose powers can drive men to murder.
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James P. Blaylock is the author of numerous novels, including the Philip K. Dick Award-winning "Homunculus," "The Digging Leviathan," Land of Dreams, The Paper Grail, All the Bells of Earth, and The Rainy Season. He lives in California.
James P. Blaylock currently resides in Orange, in the state of California. James P. Blaylock was born in 1950.
Reviews - What do customers think about Homunculus?
Over-the-Top Steampunk Lunacy Oct 29, 2007
This book is sort-of an absurdist parody of steampunk thrillers. Don't expect this to be anything like Tim Powers' "The Anubis Gates" or, IMHO, the work of Alan Moore or Grant Morrison. Think of the Firesign Theater doing Fu Manchu, or an epic version of one of Michael Palin's "Ripping Yarns," and you'll just about have it. I'd say if you loved "The Life of Brian" or "Time Bandits" you'll enjoy this loony nonsense from the end of Blaylock's whimsical period.
A techno-mystic airship is orbiting the late-19th-century earth; aboard may be an imprisoned extraterrestrial. When it crashlands in Victorian London all hell will break loose since its secrets are sought by the Royal Society, a fraudulent evangelist and his reanimated mother, a fiendish vivisectionist and his corrupt assistant, an evil millionaire, and a team of (other) assorted eccentrics led by the square-jawed scientist-adventurer, Langdon St. Ives. Can St. Ives and his super-competent valet Hasbro keep the alien homunculus out of the claws of the villainous Ignacio Narbondo? Can they help poor Jack Owlesby receive his long-delayed inheritance? And can they rescue Jack's beautiful fiancee from the monstrous fate implied by the dreaded Marseilles Pinkle?!? Well sure. The question is, how crazy are things going to get?
Perhaps a little TOO crazy for some folks. Blaylock has, IMHO, a tendency to pull his punches and here he throws a lot to compensate, keeping us off-balance with reanimated corpses, a lost starship, longevity serum, an exploding rocket silo, secret sewers, bizarre brothels... The plot isn't so much complex as distracted with subplotting! If you love lively lunacy, however, you'll like this.
So What !!!??? Nov 30, 2005
Ok.It's not an easy read. Ok.It's digressive. Ok.The plot is convoluted and complex as hell. Ok.The characters don't feel "realistic"or "believable" Ok.He is not Tim Powers
So What !!!???
HOMUNCULUS is undiluted quintessencial Steampunk.Blaylock's prose is stylish, intricate and labyrinthine.Sometimes witty, sometimes dark and blackly humorous, and like Joe Lansdale and Norman Partridge, he has a fine eye for vivid comic book imagery and absurd situations that sometimes verges on the surreal. To give you a taste of Blaylock magic, here is some samples picked at random:
There was no room in the world of science for mediocrity, for half measures, for wet cigars.
I'm posessed by the most evil aching of the head - such that my eyes seem to press down to the size of screwholes, so that I see as if through a telescope turned wrong end to. Laudanum alone relieves it, but fills me with dreams even more evil than the pain in my forebrain. I'm certain that the pain is my due - that it is a taste of hell, and nothing less. And I can feel myself decay, feel my tissues drying and rotting like a beetle-eaten fungus on a stump, and my blood pounds across the top of my skull. I can see my own eyes, wide as half crowns and black with death and decay, and Narbondo ahead with that ghastly shears. I pushed him along! That is the truth of it. I railed at him. I hissed. I'd have that gland, is what I'd have, and before the night was gone. I'd hold in my hand my salvation ...
HOMUNCULUS is a celebration of the absurd and a triumph of the imagination, a little masterpiece of humour and atmosphere.
Here is a short list of authors, books, movies, Tv Shows and comic books that I think share the same Blaylockean (non) sense of invention and absurdity:
Authors and Books:
R. A. Lafferty (Nine Hundreds Grandmothers; Lafferty in Orbit).
Robert Sheckley (The Mask of Manana or another collection, Journey Beyond Tomorrow; Immotarlity Inc etc.).
Steven Millhauser (Some novellas and short stories in The Barnum Museum and The Knife Thrower)
Norman Partridge (The Man with the Barbed-Wire Fists; Bad Intentions; Mr Fox and Other Feral Tales)
Graphic Novels/Comic Books:
Ruse (Mark Waid) Starman (James Robinson) Sebastian O; Doom Patrol (Grant Morrison) The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (Alan Moore) Top Ten (Alan Moore) The Airtight Garage (Moebius)
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Time After Time That Magnificent Man and Their Flying Machines Young Sherlock Holmes Fearless Vampire Killers Robur the Conqueror Young Einstein
Wild, Wild West Bisko County Jr The Avengers The New Avengers
Flaky Mar 17, 2005
I didn't particulary like this book. The characters are either indistinguishable from one another, or completely over the top (or some combination thereof). The villians are stereotypically ridiculous, and there's just way too much fish-gutting for my squeamish tastes. May I suggest The Anubis Gates instead?
Nice ride Jun 5, 2003
If you enjoy teh Anubis Gate youl like this book. Far out fantasy.
Horribilus Aug 9, 2002
"Homonculus" is Blaylock's unhappy attempt to maintain apace with his friends Tim Powers and K.W. Jeter, at a time when each was writing a pastiche set in a London of the 19th century. Jeter produced the amusing and strange "Infernal Devices", Powers wrote the now-legendary and award-winning "Anubis Gates" and Blaylock, well, Blaylock wrote this mess.
James Blaylock seems to suffer from the worst kind of Chris Columbus fantasy imaginings. Plot slowing down? Throw in a big, anachronistic machine! Don't waste time with character development, just dress 'em up and make 'em talk funny. That'll do it.
Overall, Blaylock seems unable to rise above mediocrity.