The Revolutions: A Novel
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Following his spectacularly reviewed Half-Made World duology, Felix Gilman pens a sweeping stand-alone tale of Victorian science fiction, arcane exploration, and planetary romance.
In 1893, young journalist Arthur Shaw is at work in the British Museum Reading Room when the Great Storm hits London, wreaking unprecedented damage. In its aftermath, Arthur's newspaper closes, owing him money, and all his debts come due at once. His fiancé Josephine takes a job as a stenographer for some of the fashionable spiritualist and occult societies of fin de siècle London society. At one of her meetings, Arthur is given a job lead for what seems to be accounting work, but at a salary many times what any clerk could expect. The work is long and peculiar, as the workers spend all day performing unnerving calculations that make them hallucinate or even go mad, but the money is compelling.
Things are beginning to look up when the perils of dabbling in the esoteric suddenly come to a head: A war breaks out between competing magical societies. Josephine joins one of them for a hazardous occult exploration―an experiment which threatens to leave her stranded at the outer limits of consciousness, among the celestial spheres.
Arthur won't give up his great love so easily, and hunts for a way to save her, as Josephine fights for survival...somewhere in the vicinity of Mars.
Old Mars. There’d been more Martians back then: a hundred nations, instead of one lonely city. In various different languages, the names of her tutors were Blessed One, Morning, Mercy, Strength, Born-on-the-Quiet-Moon, and Beloved. The other two were named for a kind of plant that didn’t grow on the moon, and a kind of mythical creature that was simply impossible to express in English. She privately dubbed them Hyacinth and Silenus. They cohered slowly in her understanding. They were
was made of the same odd ceramic substance as the fragment Vaz had discovered in the wasteland—not stone, precisely, nor brick. Overhead, a series of perches and struts and narrow beams spiralled up into the darkness. No cobwebs; no bats or owls or scurrying mice. Silence, and a smell of metal. “Ancient,” Arthur said. “It feels older than the hills, somehow.” Sun lowered himself gently to the floor, and looked up. “Isn’t that always the way with ruins, Mr Shaw? The things of Man are measured in
find you then. Wait, Josephine—take this!” He pressed two gold coins into her hand—then, after a moment’s thought, a half-crown for good measure. “For Mr Borel. That squares us, I think. Would you?” He started off for the bus. Then he turned back and took her hand. “Steer clear of Atwood,” he said. “Now, don’t worry. Don’t worry; nothing’s wrong. It’s just—it’s just awfully odd.” “What do you mean?” “The whole thing. I don’t understand it yet. Promise me you’ll steer clear of him.” “Of
the golden field and away over the horizon. The rest of the Company waited. After a while they began to make small talk, mostly about the weather. Jupiter and Miss Didot had brought parasols. The ritual didn’t require six—Atwood alone sufficed. But he was anxious about exposing himself to his enemies, and so the rest of the Company were there to protect him in the event of—well, Arthur wasn’t altogether sure what. He didn’t know what form the attack of the Company’s enemies might take, but he
Dimmick. “Dimmick! By God—what—” Dimmick’s grin was the same as it had been back when he’d worked in Gracewell’s Engine, but the rest of him was greatly changed. He wore shoes and a hat, which made him appear somewhat less simian. His shoulders were still broad and muscular, but his face looked thin, as if he’d spent the last few weeks starving in a gutter, or tossing and turning in a fever. His cheeks were blotched with awful burns—grey in the darkness of the cab—and his left hand was wrapped