In K.W. Jeter's novel Morlock Night, the Morlocks have stolen the Time Machine and used it to invade Victorian London. These Morlocks are much more foIn K.W. Jeter's novel Morlock Night, the Morlocks have stolen the Time Machine and used it to invade Victorian London. These Morlocks are much more formidable than those in The Time Machine - a clever, technological race with enough power to take over the entire world. They also get support from certain treacherous 19th century humans, especially a dark wizard named Merdenne. It is also revealed that the Morlocks living in their native time (the 8,028th century) have stopped allowing the Eloi to roam free and now keep them in pens.
The Morlocks are separated into two types, or castes, in the novel. One is the short, weak, stupid Grunt Morlocks, who are supposedly the kind that the Time Traveller encountered, and the other is the Officer Morlocks, who are taller, more intelligent, speak English, and have high rank within the Morlock invasion force. An example of the latter type is Colonel Nalga, an antagonist later in the book.
These Morlocks are always described as wearing blueish spectacles, which are presumably to protect the Morlocks' sensitive, dark-adapted eyes. in the most contrived portion of the narrative, King Arthur and Merlin appear as England's saviors.
I grew up reading this type of book in the 70's from publishers like Daw, Ace, and Berkley/Signet, which this book reminded me of immensely of. This should not be suprising, as it was originally published by Daw in 1979. The type of fast paced, almost free-form, free association kind of story telling where the author picks Point A and Point B and just goes off and gets there by any means necessary.
The many scenic detours this novel contains come heavily influenced, by all accounts, by the seminal work of Victorian journalism by Henry Mayhew - London Labour and the London Poor. Which I imagine is quite a rip-roaring read in and of itself as it was the springboard of all the lore of the London sewers, thick with fascinating details lifted straight from the afore mentioned tome.
Jeter's eagerness to make this the most mindbogglingly imaginative novel ever leads him into shuddering excesses. Guess what! The gentleman responsible for alerting our narrator, Hocker, to the peril is none other than sorceror supreme Merlinus Ambrosius. Only by reassembling Excalibur and unearthing the current incarnation of Arthur can the Morlocks can be defeated. (And who could the incarnation of Arthur possibly be? You may well ask.)
Meanwhile, and for no apparent reason, it turns out that the remoter portions of the sewers -- where the foot of civil engineer has presumably never trod -- connect with the pan-European subway system established by the bygone people of Atlantis. For fuck's sake, render me a break, Dooley.
All this improbable material is actually assembled with more literary dexterity than one would suspect from the mere list, but I couldn't force myself to believe it. Yet ... the predictable ending does somehow avoid utter corniness; though flawed, Morlock Night isn't bad as an entertaining romp. ...more
This was my first time reading Tim Powers and it will definately not be my last. Powers weaves such a rich tapestry with the simplest prose, it is a toThis was my first time reading Tim Powers and it will definately not be my last. Powers weaves such a rich tapestry with the simplest prose, it is a totally immersive experience; you go along for the ride, willingly, like a rollercoaster rider. The entire Pirate movie franchise owes a huge debt to this book; though it bears little to no resemblence to any of the 4 films, the feel and flavor of the book runs through all of them. Now the book's plot is a finely crafted gem. A post-romantic Treasure Island for the hipster-dufus crowd. Characters culled from the history and legends of pirate lore. It only seemed like the ending was a bit rushed. Just when Powers is hitting his stride in the narrative he short-sheets the story like he was running out of room. But I cannot fault the dénouement when it comes, because it feels like you've been holding your breath for 100 pages. A rip-snorting, rootin' tootin' good time!...more