Tag Archives: through darkest zymurgia

Wodehouse and Haggard and Adams, Oh My!

Julie Davis has written a lovely review of my new book, Through Darkest Zymurgia!. You should go read it. (And the book, too!) Here's the money quote:

Through Darkest Zymurgia! is what you'd get if you crossed P.G. Wodehouse with H. Rider Haggard and sprinkled a generous dose of Douglas Adams over the whole.

I'm a little blown away by this. It would never have occurred to me, in any of the publicity for Zymurgia, to compare myself to either Wodehouse or Adams.

The comparison with Haggard is certainly apt; I set out to write a book of exploration and adventure in remote corners of a faux-Victorian fantasy setting, while Haggard wrote about exploration and adventure in remote corners of a real Victorian setting—and let me tell you, if you've not read King Solomon's Mines you should read that immediately after you read Zymurgia. Not that the two books are related in any way, but it's Haggard's best book, and you really should have read it by now.

But Wodehouse and Adams, I'd never have done that, and for several reasons:

  1. I've read a number of books by authors that were billed as the next Adams or Pratchett. They weren't.
  2. I think the book is funny…but then, I would. Whether you'll think it's funny, how can I tell?
  3. Is it as funny as Wodehouse or Adams? That's a really tall order. And then, although I'm quite fond of Wodehouse (the book contains two distinct homages to him) I wasn't trying to write like him; and I'm insufficiently madcap to write like Adams.
  4. I'm an engineer, and I completely lack the marketing gene. I can't perpetrate marketing hyperbole without feeling bad about it.

So there are no references to any of these three on the cover of the book, not even Haggard.

But Julie, on the other hand, isn't me, which is to say that she can be objective—and while her tastes and mine aren't identical, she's an insightful reader and a book reviewer of long standing whose reviews I've learned to trust. If she says my book is what you'd get if you crossed P.G. Wodehouse with H. Rider Haggard and then sprinkled Douglas Adams on top, then that's what it is, and it would be futile to deny it.

I'm glad to have that settled.

The Year of the Catholic Conspiracy

Today is the feast day of St. Catherine of Siena, which means that The Catholic Conspiracy has been trying to set the world on fire for a full year as of today. (Are we what we should be? We’re trying, at least. Sometimes we’re very trying.) (Rimshot.)

In honor of this achievement, we conspirators are hosting a giveaway. The winner will get a variety of books and suchlike from the various conspirators, including a brand-spanking-new paperback of Through Darkest Zymurgia! Check it out on the main Catholic Conspiracy page!

photo credit: DaPuglet Santa’s Little Pug Reindeer via photopin (license)

Book News

Two quick items: first, I’ve completed the revisions of Very Truly Run After, the sequel to Vikings at Dino’s; it’s time to begin thinking about publication. This is very cool, and also means I can start thinking about the next book.

And second, we’re moving forward on the publication process for Through Darkest Zymurgia!. The cover and internals are complete, and I’ll be sending them to the printer for proofing some time next week. The above is the front cover, courtesy of Jason Bach and Julie Davis (on whom be praise!).

Draft Cover Art for Through Darkest Zymurgia

The publishing process for Through Darkest Zymurgia is proceeding apace! The layout of the inside of the book is complete, and now we just need to get the cover squared away. This is the current draft of the cover image, featuring professors Thintwhistle and Carbuncle and their dog Bruno investigating a new find, courtesy of Jason Bach.

The book is the story of a scientific expedition from Glastonbury University in Angland to the fabled land of Zymurgia. The world of Angland and Zymurgia is rather different than our own, being flat, unbounded (so far as anyone knows). Prof. Thintwhistle has this to say:

It is thought by the simple that if one were to ascend to the top of a sufficiently high tower, equipped with a sufficiently powerful telescope, that one would be able to see the entire world. This is, of course, absurd, and any child with an ounce of sense can see why. If the world really does stretch infinitely far in all directions, and there is no reason to believe that it does not, any tower of finite height is but a minuscule bump. At a sufficient distance from the tower, even a low range of hills would hide many details beyond. Foreshortening would have muddled all detail long before that.

Somewhat more lofty objections are made, late at night, by the sophomores at Glastonbury. “Well, now”, one would ask, “if you did, just for the sake of argument, ascend a high enough tower to see beyond the edge of the Known World, what would you see there? Nothing! It’s unknown, innit!” “But would it be blank? Or would it become Known as you watched?” Someone else would point out that the Lands of Fable lie beyond the Known World; it wouldn’t be blank, just uncertain. Eventually someone would drag out that horrid old chestnut, “If a country is inhabited, but nobody observes it, does it have a culture?” Yes, I am afraid I remember those days very well.