Andrew's Reviews > The Affair of the Chalk Cliffs

The Affair of the Chalk Cliffs by James P. Blaylock
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's review
Jun 27, 2011

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bookshelves: fantasy, steampunk
Read on June 27, 2011

I became a fan of the newly-named Steampunk genre in 1985 or 1986, after reading James Blaylock's Homunculus. Now, 25 or so years later, it's interesting to read new stories about those characters, knowing that Steampunk (as a genre) has grown and changed into something else.

The adventures of Professor Langdon St. Ives and his friends still read like madcap, pulpy adventures. This one is fast-paced and funny, with the friends striving to stop the evil hunchback, Doctor Ignacio Narabando, from gaining control of a madness-inducing ray. It's got action, mystery, secret lairs and Victorian-era technology developed beyond what actually existed. It's everything I remember from the original, and everything I want from a new James Blaylock story about these characters.

It's also got some great, weird illustrations by JK Potter, that perfectly capture the feel of the story. All in all, fans of what Steampunk has been developed into may be disappointed by this story's lack of clockwork technology and characters wearing goggles. Fans of old-fashioned pulp adventure, however, will love it.

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