Next SFF Author: Alex Bledsoe
Previous SFF Author: William Peter Blatty

SFF Author: James P. Blaylock

James Blaylock(1950- )
James P. Blaylock was born in California and received a masters degree in English from California State University. He is Assistant Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Chapman University in California and the director of the Creative Writing Conservatory at the Orange County High School of the Arts. He often collaborates with his friend Tim Powers.



testing

The Elfin Ship: Charming, light-hearted and funny

The Elfin Ship by James P. Blaylock

Audible has recently put several of James P. Blaylock’s novels in audio format, so I’m giving a few of them a try. The Elfin Ship, first published in 1982, is the first book in Blaylock’s BALUMNIA trilogy about a whimsical fantasy world filled with elves, goblins, dwarves, wizards, and (because it’s Blaylock), a few steampunk elements such as submarines and airships.

In The Elfin Ship we meet Jonathan Bing, a cheesemaker who lives in a quaint little village with his dog Ahab.


Read More



testing

The Digging Leviathan: Dreamy, peculiar, and sweet

The Digging Leviathan by James P. Blaylock

The Digging Leviathan is the first book in James P. Blaylock’s LANGDON ST. IVES/NARBONDO series. I’ve been reading these out of order, which doesn’t seem to matter. The books have some overlapping characters, settings, and/or concepts, but each stands alone. The Digging Leviathan features two teenage boys, Jim Hastings and Giles Peach, who are living on the coast of Southern California during the mid-20th century. Each is a dreamer and each has his own “issues” involving his father.


Read More



testing

Homunculus: Try this zany story on audio

Homunculus by James P. Blaylock

“Does the night seem uncommonly full of dead men and severed heads to you?”

Langdon St. Ives is a man of science and a member of the Royal Society. With the help of his dependable and discreet manservant, St. Ives prefers to spend his time secretly building a spaceship in his countryside silo. But currently he’s in London to help his friend Jack Owlesby recover a wooden box containing the huge emerald Jack’s father left him for an inheritance.

Things get confusing when it’s discovered that there are several of these boxes that all look the same and all contain something somebody wants.


Read More



testing

Lord Kelvin’s Machine: A steampunk adventure with time paradoxes

Lord Kelvin’s Machine by James P. Blaylock

James P. Blaylock returns to Victorian England in another steampunk adventure with scientist Langdon St. Ives and his nemesis, Dr. Ignacio Narbondo. Lord Kelvin’s Machine contains three related stories which each feature a fictional infernal device created by inventor Lord Kelvin. I listened to the excellent audio version which was produced by Audible Studios, is just over 8 hours long, and is narrated by Nigel Carrington.

In the prologue of Lord Kelvin’s Machine,


Read More



testing

The Ebb Tide: Engaging, Beautiful, Thin

The Ebb Tide by James P. Blaylock

19th-century London. A quiet evening among more or less renowned gentleman, including the gifted scientist-explorer Langdon St. Ives, at their favorite tavern is interrupted by word that a map to a missing mysterious device has been found. In no time, as chronicled by St. Ives’s cohort Jack Owlesby, the group sets off to claim the map and device, racing against the shadowy figure of St. Ives’s nemesis, Ignacio Narbondo (now known as Dr. Frosticos).

The first new tale of St. Ives in nearly two decades,


Read More



testing

The Affair of the Chalk Cliffs: A pastiche still needs to entertain

The Affair of the Chalk Cliffs by James P. Blaylock

Langdon St. Ives returns in The Affair of the Chalk Cliffs, James P. Blaylock’s latest Langdon St. Ives Adventure.

St. Ives is described as “the greatest, if largely unheralded, explorer and scientist in the Western World … piecing together a magnetic engine for a voyage to the moon.” Unfortunately, the premise of The Affair of the Chalk Cliffs is less ambitious than its protagonist. Although our heroes are explorers and scientists,


Read More



testing

Zeuglodon: Charming YA mystery

Zeuglodon: The True Adventures of Kathleen Perkins, Cryptozoologist by James P. Blaylock

Eleven year old Kathleen Perkins considers herself a scientist — a cryptozoologist, to be exact. She studies legendary animals. According to Kathleen, “legendary” just means that they don’t appear very often. (“You can hardly blame them.”)

Kathleen’s mother disappeared in a submersible while trying to find the entrance to Pellucidar, so Kathleen now lives with her orphaned cousins Perry and Brendan at her eccentric uncle’s house. Uncle Hedge, who runs a little seaside museum of strange objects,


Read More



testing

The Aylesford Skull: Absurd steampunk with a subtle wit

The Aylesford Skull by James P. Blaylock

James P. Blaylock is most famous for being a protégé of Philip K. Dick and, along with his friends K.W. Jeter and Tim Powers, developing the steampunk genre of fantasy fiction in the 1980s. Blaylock’s most popular steampunk stories take place in Victorian England and feature gentleman inventor Langdon St. Ives and his archnemesis Dr. Ignacio Narbondo, a hunch-backed necromancer. The Aylesford Skull is considered to be the seventh installment of THE NARBONDO SERIES,


Read More



testing

The Adventure of the Ring of Stones: A Langdon St. Ives novella

The Adventure of the Ring of Stones by James P. Blaylock

The Adventure of the Ring of Stones is one of several novellas written by James P. Blaylock that Subterranean Press has published. Each of these is a stand-alone steampunk adventure featuring Langdon St. Ives, the gentleman scientist/adventurer who stars in Blaylock’s LANDGDON ST. IVES novels. It would be helpful, but not at all necessary, to have read the novels Homunculus, Lord Kelvin’s Machine, and The Aylesford Skull before reading this novella.


Read More



testing

Beneath London: Langdon St. Ives meets vampiric mushrooms

Beneath London by James P. Blaylock

James P. Blaylock’s stories are an acquired taste, I think. Or maybe it’s just that the reader needs exactly the right combination of quirks and proclivities to truly appreciate them. I am that reader. Not all the time, but regularly enough to recognize when my mood would benefit from opening one of Blaylock’s books. When this happens, I usually choose a LANGDON ST. IVES story. Each of these steampunk stories is set in an alternate Victorian London and each can stand alone.


Read More



testing

Land of Dreams: Strong echoes of Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes

Land of Dreams by James P. Blaylock

James P. Blaylock is a fabulist, a teller of magic realist tales that reframe our everyday world in more colorful, fanciful, sinister, and whimsical ways. His style and themes often overlap with the works of Tim Powers and they have collaborated on several stories and even have shared the character William Ashbless, which is no surprise since they met as students at Cal State Fullerton. There they also befriended author K.W. Jeter (who coined the term “steampunk” and wrote perhaps the earliest full-length example,


Read More



testing

The Last Coin: Read this if you love Fawlty Towers

The Last Coin by James P. Blaylock

Andrew and Rose Vanbergen have recently purchased a California inn which they are fixing up and getting ready for guests. They live in the inn along with aging Aunt Naomi, her numerous cats, and her companion, Mrs. Gummage. The Vanbergens have only one real guest so far — the mysterious Pepto-drinking Mr. Pennyman.

Andrew has grand plans for the inn. Unfortunately, he’s also a bit of a slacker and he’s always managing to find excuses for doing anything but the actual work that needs to get done.


Read More



testing

Winter Tides: Not what I expected

Winter Tides by James P. Blaylock

I was disappointed in Winter Tides, though it’s probably not fair to blame James P. Blaylock for my disappointment. It’s not his fault the cover copy doesn’t accurately describe the novel’s actual subject matter. It’s also not his fault I’m a big enough ballad geek that when I see the words “Anne,” “Elinor,” “sisters,” and “drowning” in the same sentence, I immediately think of “The Cruel Sister,” a heartbreaking ballad of love and sisterly betrayal. Between the cover copy and a ballad reference that may or may not have been intentional,


Read More



testing

Steampunk: Quick entertaining education on the subgenre du jour

Steampunk edited by Ann and Jeff Vandermeer

Steampunk is an anthology of, well, steampunk stories, edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer. If you hurry, you can still get to this first anthology before the second one, Steampunk II: Steampunk Reloaded, appears in mid November. Based on the quality of the stories in this collection, I heartily recommend checking it out, especially if you’ve been a bit bemused (or possibly amused) by all the people wearing odd Victorian costumes at SFF conventions nowadays,


Read More



testing

Wings of Fire: I thought I didn’t like dragons

Wings of Fire edited by Jonathan Strahan & Marianne S. Jablon

I don’t like dragons.

This is probably not the first sentence you’d expect to find in a review of Wings of Fire, an anthology devoted exclusively to dragon stories, but I thought it best to get it out of the way right from the start.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with dragons. They’re just terribly overused, one of those tired genre mainstays that people who typically don’t read a lot of fantasy will expect in a fantasy novel because they were practically unavoidable for a long time.


Read More



  • 1
  • 2
Next SFF Author: Alex Bledsoe
Previous SFF Author: William Peter Blatty

We have reviewed 8324 fantasy, science fiction, and horror books, audiobooks, magazines, comics, and films.

Subscribe to all posts:

Get notified about Giveaways:

Support FanLit

Want to help us defray the cost of domains, hosting, software, and postage for giveaways? Donate here:


You can support FanLit (for free) by using these links when you shop at Amazon:

US          UK         CANADA

Or, in the US, simply click the book covers we show. We receive referral fees for all purchases (not just books). This has no impact on the price and we can't see what you buy. This is how we pay for hosting and postage for our GIVEAWAYS. Thank you for your support!
Try Audible for Free

Recent Discussion:

  1. Marion Deeds
  2. Avatar
  3. Marion Deeds
  4. Avatar
  5. Avatar
July 2024
M T W T F S S
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
293031