Thursday, November 23, 2006

Catch the 9:15 rocket from Paddington Space Station: Reeve, Philip. Larklight, or, the Revenge of the the White Spiders!

Or to Saturn's Rings and Back! A Rousing Tale of Dauntless Pluck in the Farthest Reaches of Space. As Chronicl'd by Art Mumby with the Aid of Mr. Philip Reeve. Trans. And Decorated Throughout by Mr. David Wyatt. London: Bloomsbury, 2006.

A Victorian Aether Romance in which Newton discovered the Chemical Wedding and the Briitsh Empire rules the space-ways. Arthur Mumy and his sister Myrtle live in Larklight, a house in space which points all ways (see the map "This Way Up" on all four sides -- although it should probably be sixteen). There mother is missing, presumed dead. Their father is a xenobiologist.

One day, spiders invade and the adventure begins. It takes Art and Myrtle to Mars where they are captured by the pirate Jack Havelock who turns out to be a very young man. They are split up. Art goes with Jack to the Spiders where they rescue Art's mother and discover that the Spiders are the Old Ones who once ruled the galaxy and that Mother is the Shaper who billions of years ago helped the planet to form (nice comments about "What ABout God?"). Then they go to Earth where the Crystal Palace has been turned into a Spider Automaton, and they arrive (in Larklight) in time for Myrtle to rescue them all. Art is very funny on the subject of Myrtle and Jack.

And it all ends up happily on a note of high adventure.

Gripping stuff. Suitable for any fan of empire tales and aether romances.


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