Reviews Round-Up #1… James P. Blaylock

These early months of 2013 see a number of big releases for Zeno clients. Plenty of coverage, including reviews and author interviews has been cropping up all over the internet, and so over the next few days and weeks we’ll be sharing the best of that coverage here on the Zeno site.

First up we have steampunk author extraordinaire (I’ve been proudly using the hashtag on twitter #steampunklegend, but it’s yet to catch on), James P. Blaylock.In January Titan Books released Blaylock’s first full length steampunk novel in twenty years, THE AYLESFORD SKULL – a brand new,  full-on, mad-cap adventure featuring Blaylock hero, Professor Langdon St. Ives.

Blaylock’s two other St. Ives novels – HOMUNCULUS (which won the prestigious Philip K. Dick award) and LORD KELVIN’S MACHINE – are to be reissued by Titan Books, making for a a very smart looking trio of classic steampunk titles. And these novels, especially the first, have been met with a slew of good reviews…


SFX was particularly impressed with the finale of THE AYLESFORD SKULL, ‘which involves an airship, a thunderstorm, an unusually creative science experiment and… is real white-knuckled, edge of the seat stuff. This is steampunk at full power and it’s a heady, thrilling read as a result.‘ Their review continues, summing up the novel as…

Packed with high adventure, mad science and derring do, The Aylesford Skull is a perfect place to start the Langdon St Ives books and, with Titan re-releasing the other books in the series, there’s plenty to keep you and St Ives busy. Which is, I suspect, just how he likes it.’

SF Book Reviews also enjoyed THE AYLESFORD SKULL:

The more you read the more you come to appreciate this subtle Steampunk setting, including the well described juxtaposition of the class system that played a large part in Victorian era London. The gentile and elegant lives contrast sharply with the filthy streets and savage inhabitants of the grimy Spitalfields area creating a realistic edge that helps to ground the story… it’s a fast, rich and thoughtful thriller that is as different as it is clever and as bold as it is beautiful.’

To celebrate the release of these novels, Titan Books has sent Blaylock an extensive blog-tour. The tour has included a number of fascinating and fun interviews, including those at  SciFi-FX, ReaderDad,, HorrorTalk, and this one here at Alastair Stuart’s Blog. And there are  further reviews of THE AYLESFORD SKULL on Nerd Cabinet, Geek Native, Curiosity of a Social Misfit, Revolution SF, Tattooed Book, and here.

And if all that fails to wet your appetite, visit the Daily Dead site where you’ll find an excerpt from the novel. What? Still here? Click the link, already!!!

Steampunk Master Returns!

James P Blaylock, one of the ‘Founding Fathers’ of Steampunk, returns to the genre in his first full-length steampunk novel in over two decades… and what can we say except that it is well worth the wait!

THE AYLESFORD SKULL is published today by Titan Books. It features Blaylock’s evergreen hero, Langdon St. Ives pitted in a new adventure against his old nemesis the mad scientist, Dr. Ignacio Narbondo.

TAS coverIt is the summer of 1883 and Professor Langdon St. Ives brilliant but eccentric scientist and explorer is at home in Aylesford with his family. However a few miles to the north a steam launch has been taken by pirates above Egypt Bay, the crew murdered and pitched overboard. In Aylesford itself a grave is opened and possibly robbed of the skull. The suspected grave robber, the infamous Dr. Ignacio Narbondo, is an old nemesis of Langdon St. Ives. When Dr. Narbondo returns to kidnap his four-year-old son Eddie and then vanishes into the night, St. Ives and his factotum Hasbro race into London in pursuit…

io9 has an exclusive extract from the novel, and The Machine Stops has a fascinating in-depth interview with the author and be sure to check out brillaint Huffington Post article by Blaylock entitled ‘On Steampunk‘ in which he all but admits it’s all his fault!

Turbulence Creates a Storm…

Samit Basu‘s fantastic new novel TURBULENCE has been published in the UK in paperback and as an eBook by Titan and is already receiving some stellar reviews. It will be released in the US next year and Samit is already hard at work on a sequel.

Aman Sen is smart, young, ambitious and going nowhere. He thinks this is because he doesn’t have the right connections—but then he gets off a plane from London to Delhi and discovers that he has turned into a communications demigod. Indeed, everyone on Aman’s flight now has extraordinary abilities corresponding to their innermost desires. Vir, an Indian Air Force pilot, can now fly. Uzma, a British- Pakistani aspiring Bollywood actress, now possesses infinite charisma. And then there’s Jai, an indestructible one-man army with a good old-fashioned goal — to rule the world!

Aman wants to ensure that their new powers aren’t wasted on costumed crime-fighting, celebrity endorsements, or reality television. He wants to heal the planet but with each step he takes, he finds helping some means harming others. Will it all end, as 80 years of superhero fiction suggest, in a meaningless, explosive slugfest?

TURBULENCE features the 21st-century Indian subcontinent in all its insane glory—F-16s, Bollywood, radical religious parties, nuclear plants, cricket, terrorists, luxury resorts, crazy TV shows — but it is essentially about two very human questions. How would you feel if you actually got what you wanted? And what would you do if you could really change the world?


Basu knows his stuff…  he conjures up a vast array of imaginative powers… unflinchingly depicts the costly consequences…‘ – SFX

It’s smart, it’s funny, it’s intelligently witty, it’s great…. I found it difficult to put down. Loved, loved, LOVED it.’ –, Mark Yon.

The characters are brilliantly written… With a globe-trotting sensibility even James Bond would be proud of, the cinematic action sequences are as breath-taking as anything Hollywood has to offer, so the campaign for a big-screen version, or failing that, at least a sequel to the book begins here!‘ – IGN

TURBULENCE is a new breed of superhero novel and likely to appeal to both classic hero fans as well as fans of contemporary fiction… This is one of those rare superhero stories that is not overshadowed by the powers but is told in the humanity that pulls the superhuman together.‘ – Geek Native

If you’re looking for brilliantly written, fun and fast paced action that leaves you wanting more, this is definitely it. One word of warning though, you may ignore your loved ones completely until you’ve finished it.‘ – The Tattooed Book.

It is somewhat self-referential, inventive and very clever. But most of all, it is fun. If you have ever picked up a comic book and enjoyed it, then this is a must-buy.’ – Starburst