Gulliver of Mars: An incredible fairy tale of adventure

Gulliver of Mars by Edwin L. Arnold

Editor's note: Because it's in the public domain, Gulliver of Mars is free in Kindle format.

On those rare occasions when it is discussed at all today, British author Edwin L. Arnold’s final book, Lt. Gullivar Jones: His Vacation, is primarily spoken of as a possible influence on Edgar Rice BurroughsJohn Carter novels. But this, it seems to me, is doing Arnold’s last writing endeavor a disservice, as the book is an exciting, highly imaginative, colorful piece of fantasy/sci-fi more than capable of standing on its own merits, discounting any possible relation to its more famous successor. Arnold’s book first saw the light of day as a 1905 hardcover published by S.... Read More

The Way of the Spirit: A fast-moving, unusual type of Haggard novel

The Way of the Spirit by H. Rider Haggard

Even in the modern-day 21st century, it can be a difficult situation for a husband to be in love with a woman who just happens not to be his wife. For the Victorian/Edwardian gentleman, however, especially for one of a highly moral and religious bent, the situation must have been even harder, particularly if that man were a well-known and highly respected public figure. And yet, that is exactly the lot that befell renowned British author H. Rider Haggard. I am only familiar with the bald outlines of the case (after having just completed my 42nd Haggard novel, out of the author's 58, I really do need to finally pick up his autobiography The Days of My Life, or at least the Cohen or Higgins biography), but it seems that Haggard initially met the love of his life, Lilly Jackson, in the late 1870s while working... Read More

Puck of Pook’s Hill: Very valuable

Puck of Pook’s Hill by Rudyard Kipling

The Sword Gave the Treasure, and the Treasure Gave the Law…

Puck of Pook’s Hill is certainly not as famous as Rudyard Kipling's earlier works The Jungle Book, Captains Courageous, or even The Complete Stalky and Co.. First published in 1906, it was his final novel (only an anthology of short stories came after it) and it is certainly an odd specimen of a book.

Siblings Una and Dan are in the right place at the right time when they perform their abridged version of A Midsummer Night's Dream and find that they have unknowingly called up the very cheerful, very English spirit of Puck. Puck (also known as Robin Goodfellow) introduces Dan and Una to a variety of figures that he plucks out of tim... Read More