James P. Blaylock
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Friday, 24 February 2017
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|The Balumnia Trilogy|
|Trading with the elves used to be so simple. Every year Master Cheeser Jonathan Bing would send his very best cheeses downriver to traders who would eventually return with Elfin wonders for the people of Twombly Town. But no more… First, the trading post at Willowood Station was mysteriously destroyed. Then a magical elfin airship began making forays overhead: Jonathan knew something was definitely amiss. So he set off downriver to deliver the cheeses himself, accompanied by the amazing Professor Wurzle, the irrepressible Dooly, and his faithful dog Ahab. It would have been such a pleasant trip, if not for the weeping skeleton, mad goblins, magic coins, an evil dwarf, a cloak of invisibility – and a watch that stopped time. Of course, the return trip was not so simple.
|Jonathan Bing, Master Cheeser, has been growing a bit bored in Twombly Town. So it’s no surprise that when Professor Wurzle suggests a trip downriver, Jonathan jumps at the chance. A visit to the Evil Dwarf Selznak’s abandoned castle leads to a treasure hunt, but also to the discovery that Jonathan’s old friend the Squire has vanished, and that Selznak may be involved. Jonathan–accompanied by his wonderpooch Ahab, the Professor, and Miles the Magician–will have to set off to darkest Balumnia, to the city of Landsend, to find the treasure, and the Squire. And to make matters worse, Selznak will be there, too…|
|Jonathan Bing wasn’t the first citizen of Twonbly Town to have a run-in with Selznak the Dwarf. Meet the young Theophile Escargot, aggrieved former citizen of Twombly Town. Divorced, exiled, and humiliated (all for the crime of eating his own pie), he sets off down the Oriel in search of a fetching barmaid, only to find himself traveling by submarine into fabled Balumnia, where is he is beset on all sides by an evil dwarf, a piratical elf, a stone giant, and an unlucky bag of marbles. With a little help, Escargot must rescue his true love, save the elves, and–most importantly–redeem his dignity.|
|The Christian Trilogy|
|Two thousand years ago, there lived a man who sold some valuable information for a fee of thirty silver coins. His name was Judas Iscariot and he is no longer with us. The coins, however, still exist – and still hold an elusive power over all who claim them… Like Andrew Vanbergen, whose attempts at innkeeping bring in stranger business than he ever expected. And Aunt Naomi, whose most prized family heirloom is a silver spoon – with a curiously ancient-looking engraving. And especially old Mr. Pennyman, who is only five silver coins short of immortality…|
|Howard Barton came to Mendocino in search of a folded scrap of paper. Not just any old scrap of paper, but one bearing what might be a sketch by the legendary Japanese artist, Hoku-sai. But Howard, unfortunately, is not the only one who wants the sketch… There’s old Heloise Lamey, whose lush and noxious garden is watered with blood, ink, and stranger substances. And the enigmatic Mr. Jimmers, whose workshop holds a bizarre invention designed to raise the dead. Even Howard’s Uncle Roy, a builder of haunted houses and founder of The Museum of Modern Mysteries, has an interest in the sketch. In Northern California, nothing is what it appears, but everything is connected – Howard is led to a mysterious private war between secret, underground societies. Now Howard just needs to figure whose side he’s on in the quest for the Paper Grail.|
|In the dead of night, a man climbs the tower of St. Anthony’s Church, driven by a compulsive urge to silence the bells. In a deserted alley, a seemingly random victim is consumed by a torrent a flames. And in the deceptive light of day, a mail-order businessman named Walt Stebbins receives a bizarre artifact – a glass jar containing the preserved body of a bluebird. Things like this don’t usually happen in a town like Orange, California. Ordinary people don’t expect to face evil – real evil – in their backyards. But as Walt unravels the mystery of the bird in the jar, he learns that the battle between good and evil is taking place every day…|
|The Ghost Trilogy|
|When Peter Travers moves into an old house in a remote canyon to try to separate himself from his old existence, his wish becomes reality… all too literally. For his wife and son vanish and the people of the idyllic rural town begin to relive the horrors of a nightmarish crime committed one windy autumn, sixty years earlier. Against a backdrop of murder and midnight terror, Peter must contend with the abandoned relics of his own past before he can overcome the dark forces that haunt the canyon and the people he loves.|
|Fifteen years ago, on a deserted California beach, Dave Quinn swam out into the winter ocean to save two drowning girls – identical twin sisters. He was only able to save one. Now, years last, he meets Anne, a strugglng artist from Canada. He has no idea she is the child he saved so long ago. And he has no idea that Elinor, the long-dead sister he couldn’t save, has come with her…|
|It’s a gray, wet winter in southern California, and Phil Ainsworth is alone. The sudden death of his young wife has left him shaken, and he gets eerie sensations as he roams around the big, old house he inherited from his mother. He’s sure he’s seen people snooping around his property, by the old well that, in this wet weather, always seems ready to overflow. How much is real and how much is in his head? That’s the question. A late-night phone call brings more bad news: Phil’s sister has died, leaving her ten-year-old daughter Betsy an orphan and naming Phil as guardian. It seems like a bad time to bring a child into this unhappy house, but Phil had always promised he’d take care of Betsy – and now she’s all the family he has left. What he can’t know is that Betsy is a very special child. She has the ability to sense the powerful emotions of the past, to hear voices of the dead, and to see the uncanny powers that are closing in around this house…|
|Giles Peach was unique. He was born with a neat set of gills on either side of his neck – and webbed fingers. He enjoyed reading (Edgar Rice Burroughs was his favorite author) and he liked to invent things. First he invented a working model of the Solar System, powered by the motor from an old electric fan. Next he invented a mechanical man whose legs were roped-together tin cans. Finally he began work on the grandest invention of all: a machine that would burrow to the center of the Earth, a digging leviathan. Absurd? Perhaps. But Giles Peach had the power to make his wildest fantasies come true…
|When a boat-sized shoe and giant spectacles wash up on the shore, three of the town’s orphans – Jack, Skeezix, and Helen – know there’s something fishy going on, and the old ghost in the orphanage attic is inclined to agree. An evil carnival comes to town, run by a sinister gentleman who can turn himself into a crow. A mouse-sized man hiding in the woodwork leaves Jack an elixir that might, just might, allow him to cross during Solstice to another world, a mysterious land of dreams that holds the key to Jack’s past and all their adventures.
|A skeletal hand clutching an iron key lies hidden within a mermaid’s wooden sarcophagus; a hand-drawn map is stolen from beneath the floorboards an old museum; an eccentric sleeping inventor dreams of a passage to the center of the hollow earth, and by dreaming of the passage, brings it into being….Pursued by kidnappers thinking of riches and murder, Katherine Perkins and her two cousins, junior members of The Guild of St. George, must descend into the depths of the hollow earth in order to return the Sleeper to his ancestral home on the shores of Lake Windermere. But to awaken him might mean the end of his dream, the closing of the Windermere Passage, and the three intrepid explorers marooned in a savage land forgotten by time itself…|
|A suddenly appearing curiosity shop owned by a small man who might, or might not, be the Man in the Moon; a pair of strange spectacles buried in a fishbowl full of marbles; an old window glazed with sea-green glass found beneath a suburban house; and two adventurous boys who buy the spectacles and climb through the window into a land of goblins, ghosts, and rope ladders that reach to the moon … Who exactly is Mr. Deener? And who are the little men that ride out of the forest on windblown sycamore leaves in order to whisper into Mr. Deener’s ear? Is Mr. Deener, like a fallen Humpty Dumpty, broken apart? John and Danny need to know. To find their way home they’ll have to put Mr. Deener back together again and solve the mystery of the sleeping land.
|Short Story Collections|
|Mirrors, shadows, and secret rooms: the houses in which we dwell are sometimes much stranger than they seem to be, as are the people we think we know. Here are three stories of haunted places that stand waiting for you to enter, their windows shuttered, but their doors unlocked.|
|Highlighted by the acclaimed novella, “The Trismegistus Club,” In for a Penny takes us deep into the heart of a quirky, deeply engaging fictional world. “Home Before Dark,” chronicles one man’s first few hours in the afterlife. Its thematic companion, “Small Houses,” recounts an aging widower’s last few hours on earth. In “The other Side,” a minor precognitive episode leads the hero to an obsessive fascination with the hidden mysteries of the universe. In “His Own Back Yard,” a story worthy of the great Jack Finney, a middle-aged man finds himself stranded in the haunted territory of his childhood. The blackly funny “War of the Worlds” uses a bowling ball and the imminent end of Life As We Know It to illuminate the fault lines in a modern marriage. Finally, in the wonderfully imagined title story, the single-minded pursuit of treasure – of something for nothing – leads the protagonist to a harrowing confrontation with his own worst self.|
|Sixteen of his acclaimed short stories are collected here for the first time. Included is “Thirteen Phantasms,” his brilliant World Fantasy Award-winning story of a man who returns to the Golden Age of science fiction through an ad in a pulp magazine. “Myron Chester and the Toads” recounts one man’s encounter with aliens and the effect it has on him and his neighbors. And in the strange otherworldly California of “Paper Dragons” one man’s obsession with the creation of a dragon slowly destroys him.|