The Aylesford Skull

The Aylesford Skull It is the summer of 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

  • Title: The Aylesford Skull
  • Author: James P. Blaylock
  • ISBN: 9780857689795
  • Page: 244
  • Format: Paperback
  • It 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 roIt 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 to London in pursuit

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    About "James P. Blaylock"

    1. James P. Blaylock

      James Paul Blaylock is an American fantasy author He is noted for his distinctive style He writes in a humorous way His characters never walk, they clump along, or when someone complains in a flying machine that flight is impossible, the other characters agree and show him why he s right.He was born in Long Beach, California studied English at California State University, Fullerton, receiving an M.A in 1974 and lives in Orange, California, teaching creative writing at Chapman University Many of his books are set in Orange County, California, and can specifically be termed fabulism that is, fantastic things happen in our present day world, rather than in traditional fantasy, where the setting is often some other world His works have also been categorized as magic realism.He and his friends Tim Powers and K.W Jeter were mentored by Philip K Dick Along with Powers he invented the poet William Ashbless Blaylock and Powers have often collaborated with each other on writing stories, including The Better Boy, On Pirates, and The William Ashbless Memorial Cookbook.Blaylock is also currently director of the Creative Writing Conservatory at the Orange County High School of the Arts, where Powers is Writer in Residence.

    690 thoughts on “The Aylesford Skull”

    1. 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, though each of the LANGDON [...]


    2. The Aylesford Skull is Blaylock writing in vintage form. It's fast paced, witty steampunk from start to finish. The Aylesford Skull does have its dark plot turns, but the writing never gets too heavy, opting for thoughtful introspection with the characters rather than heavy-handed themes or allegory. All in all, a fantastic, fun read.


    3. It's odd that I haven't encountered James Blaylock before, despite my being a SF and Fantasy fan for nearly 40 years. Maybe it's because his output has been quite small in comparison to other authors, but it seems strange that his work has never come up on my radar despite labels describing him as one of the fathers of steampunk.Having read this book, I'm not sure that I've actually missed very much. While I didn't dislike it, it never seemed to catch fire with me. The whole thing just plodded a [...]


    4. Finished this book sometime ago but I've been busy finishing off our new board game 'Promised Land 1250-587 BC' and so have shirked my reviewing duties. I enjoyed this book immensely! Reading a new Blaylock book is like visiting a much loved friend you haven't seen for a long time. It's full of nostalgia for me as Homunculus was the first Blaylock I read many years ago and that set me tracking down all his books. This one reads easily and sets Langdon St Ives against his old nemesis Narbondo. Bl [...]


    5. A new entry in James Blaylock's steampunk sequence is a promise of great pleasure. I've given it a provisional four stars, because I get at least four stars worth of pleasure from the prospect of reading it. (Sometimes I think I get as much pleasure from the anticipation of reading a book as from actually reading it)Steampunk has become rather devalued as a brand in recent years - a ragbag of stale tropes and gimmicks for lazy fantasists (Lord save us from another bloody airship!) - but Blaylock [...]


    6. A mad man wants to blow stuff up and open a door to Hell. A renown investigator intervenes, so the mad man kidnaps his son. Fisticuffs ensue.This is billed as "Steampunk". The cover touts the author as a "Steampunk Legend" and the fellow on the cover sports the requisite extra lenses and other sepia-hued doo-hickies. I've never read Steampunk, so I didn't know what to expect. But it was more than this book could offer. Beyond some mentions of magic (including aforementioned "door to Hell", which [...]


    7. Good story with faults. First, the dialogue and setting are well done. The slightly clunky writing style is just right, too. Some of the characters are good solid ones, and some are caricatures, but that's appropriate for the style. But St. Ives isn't much of a character. He's almost a disembodied observer, and near the end when he (a) sheds a tear, and (b) flies the airship at last, I felt as if it was being done to round out his part. The bad guy is so repulsive he made me think of Mike Myers [...]


    8. As an introduction to James P. Blaylock‘s body of work, it will have you hooked and looking for more. I truly enjoyed how the suspense built a little at a time in the beginning, and before long we were rolling at a high level of action, concerned for main characters, and itching to thwart Narbondo at every opportunity. Here Blaylock does a masterful job of revealing Narbondo’s past bit by bit, along with his current scheme so that the reader is left guessing the details to the end. We get th [...]


    9. Unlike ALL the other reviewers who has never read a Blaylock Novel until now, I have actually read all of his books. Even his cookbook!(Why do they all say, that they haven't read his books until now? It's not something to be proud of? Maybe it's a joke. Of course they have read masterpieces like "All the Bells" and "The last Coin" and "Diggin Leviathan" and)Anyway. This is a book about characters in London 1883. London and the life in London is described in exciting and believable detail. We fo [...]


    10. I didn't realize this was a book in a series until after I'd already bought it. But it stands alone just fine. My complaint with the book was just the general plot plot plot nature of it. Each chapter was a character doing something without thinking or planning that either serendipitously worked out, or wound up not working and then they dejectedly moved on to the next random idea they had 3 chapters later. The arch nemesis was evil, because he was evil, and being evil is what he does, so he had [...]


    11. Without having read any of Blaylock's previous work, I jumped right into this and was thoroughly entertained. Great example of the Steampunk genre. My only gripe is the lack of female characters. The one's that did exist were either wives or mothers to the principal characters and didn't really contribute much to the story. It's kind of forgivable considering the time period the story is supposed to take place in, but still irksome.


    12. My first Blaylock book. Enjoyed it very much. Keeps you on the edge of your seat ready to read more. Looking forward to other St Ives tales


    13. Let’s get this out of the way first – I’ve never read any of James’ work, so I’ve never read a Langdon St. Ives story, and believe me when I say that you don’t have to have read anything by James prior to reading this book; in fact, you don’t even need an introduction to St Ives! This was very important for me, because I didn’t want to to feel as if I had missed great and important events while reading ‘The Aylesford Skull’, which I did, in essence, but it didn’t FEEL that [...]


    14. I liked this read, and paused my day today to read it, but couldn't bring myself to give it more stars. Some of the characters (Narbondo) seem a little caracturist and wasn't particularly drawn to read anymore in these series.Also troubled by historical fiction that includes some patently ahistorical events and leans more to steampunk without steampunk's fun.


    15. Published 2016. Somewhat entertaining with the British stiff upper lip firmly in place. Curious to me was that the character Finn seemed more interesting than St.Ives as a protagonist. The steampunk science involved was good enough. The plot somewhat standard was well paced.


    16. I received a free copy of 'The Aylesford Skull' from the publisher through a giveaway on .Although this is actually the seventh novel in the 'Langdon St Ives' series, it is the first of James P Blaylock's novels that I've come across. It is also the first full length Steampunk novel I've read.Under usual circumstances, I would never consider reading a novel that far into a series when I haven't read all of the previous instalments. However, I was just so intrigued by the premise of this book tha [...]


    17. James P. Blaylock in his new book, “The Aylesford Skull” a new book in Tale of Langdon St. Ives series published by Titan Books gives us the first new steampunk novel in over twenty years from one of the genre’s founding fathers!From the back cover: It 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; [...]


    18. Reviewing for Hearts on Fire Reviews:Author: James P. BlaylockTitle: The Aylesford Skull (A Tale of Langston St. Ives)Reviewed by: Mallory Heart ReviewsPublisher: Titan BooksGenre: Historical/SteampunkISBN 13: 97808576818Rating:5Review: My first introduction to the work of one of the “Fathers of Steampunk,” James P. Blaylock, instantly made me a converted fan. Mr. Blaylock’s writing is both exceptional and accomplished, polished and exciting, intriguing and well-characterised. “The Ayles [...]


    19. The Aylesford Skull, James P. Blaylock’s latest entry in the tales of Professor Langdon St. Ives, starts off with a stolen barge of coal and continues with a bang that destroys the Bayswater Club’s greenhouse. Blaylock’s tale slows a little bit from there on, but only to introduce the wickedness of Dr. Ignacio Narbondo once again — whom fans of the St. Ives tales will recognize as the eccentric professor’s great nemesis.This time though, Narbondo kidnaps Eddie St. Ives from the family [...]


    20. As usual, Blaylock's command of language is brilliantly clever and reading any of his books is a unique experience. The eccentric cast of characters is another constant positive with his writing, and that's certainly in evidence here.However, I'm forced to admit that I didn't enjoy this book as much as I'd hoped. There are a number of possible reasons: it could be that as eccentric as the characters are, they've become less interesting to me as they reappear in subsequent books (or new character [...]


    21. I had come across the name James P. Blaylock several times in my reading, usually associated with Tim Powers, usually connected to the emergence of Steampunk. I had always meant to get around to checking him out, and now I can say I'm sorry I waited so long.James P. Blaylock's The Aylesfore Skull, to me, was more of a throwback to pulp's thrilling adventures than the steampunk it claims to be. Gadgetry and airships were a part of that tradtion long before folks at sf conventions started wearing [...]


    22. full-stop/2013/02/04/rReview by Eleanor GoldJames P. Blaylock has had a long career as a major author of the fantasy subgenre of steampunk — novels written in a style that merges the Victorian adventure novel with historical fantasy and powers it with steam. He has written over thirty books, a number of which fall in a series centered on the adventures of Victorian explorer Langdon St. Ives. In an opening scene of Blaylock’s most recent novel, The Aylesford Skull, St. Ives walks through his [...]


    23. Well, I’m sure you can see I’ve had this book in my possession for a while, but it was intentional not to review it until now. You see, I wanted to read the other books in the series, which were republished by Titan Books, before I delved into reviewing this baby. The reason for that is simple, I’m not a steampunk reader in general and it would have been completely unfair of me to judge the book without some background knowledge. When I first read the book (back in February), I immediately [...]


    24. Like his buddy Tim Powers with last year's "Hide Me Among the Graves," James P. Blaylock, in "The Aylesford Skull," seems energized by revisiting old haunts."The Aylesford Skull" returns to late-19th century England, the third Blaylock novel (there have been short stories and novellas, which I haven't read) to feature Professor Langdon St. Ives and his evil nemesis, the hunchback Dr. Ignacio Narbondo. The result (3.5 stars) is not Blaylock's best work, but better than his last few novels based i [...]


    25. Move over Sherlock Holmesyou’ve got some competition. Professor Langdon St. Ives is going to give you a run for your money. After a short hiatus, author James P. Blaylock brings back the hero of the Royal Society that has infatuated fans for decades. With THE AYLESFORD SKULL, the original father of steampunk gives us an exciting and fast-paced novel that will leave you breathless.I have never read a Blaylock novel until this one, and I am very impressed. The author is very talented, in both wr [...]


    26. There has of course been a bit of a gap between this novel and Blaylock’s last, but any concerns that he may no longer know his audience, as well as he once did, are dispelled almost immediately. The plot grabs you and refuses to let go, essentially this is one long chase sequence that never gets stale or boring. St Ives, as ever, is a compelling main protagonist and the steampunk world which he inhabits is perfectly written.It is with the depiction of his nemesis Dr Narbondo where Blaylock re [...]


    27. While I didn't dislike this book, I didn't love it either. The plot confused me, which at first I thought was due to the fact this is the newest in the Langdon St Ives novels and I haven't read any of the others. After doing my research however I found out that the books can be read as stand alones. So, the confusion came then as there are too many secondary characters who never really fully form and are easily interchangeable and forgettable. Even the main characters, who seem to lack real moti [...]


    28. I received this book as a prize from the Giveaways section of the website. James P. Blaylock was, according to the blurb on the back, mentored by Philip K. Dick. There are not many similarities in their styles or theme - Blaylock works more in magical realism, whereas Dick took humanity and looked at how it could be changed (see, for example, the emotional differences between human and android in "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?")."The Aylsford Skull" is a steampunk romp of derring-do. A k [...]


    29. First I would like to state that I have received this book through the giveaway. I have never read one of James P. Blaylock's novels until this one. I was extremely impressed. I will be making sure I read more of the Langdon St. Ives stories. He is truly talented. The author pulls you into the book from the beginning and he keeps you enthralled to the very end and glued to the edge of your seat wanting more. When you are finished you wish you weren't.The story has a quick pace and wonderfully i [...]


    30. I'm a long-time Blaylock fan due to his whimsy, his humor, his portrayal of what it is like to be a normal human (even in his fantasy books), and the essential decency of his outlook. Naturally, I was prepared to love this book. Unfortunately, I didn't feel much whimsy or humor at all, and the emphasis was on the grandiose: you knew that St. Ives and the others were decent people, but I didn't experience that same level of joy and recognition when people talked about things they are passionate a [...]


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