RogerBW's Blog

Broken Meats, David Hambling 25 October 2017

2015 Lovecraftian horror novella. In 1920s London, ex-boxer Harry Stubbs gets a job bodyguarding (and spying on) a Chinese visitor who clearly knows more than he's saying.

The Lovecraftian influence is laid on with a lighter touch this time, with an admixture of genuine spiritualism, true original theosophy (rather than the corruptions of that Blavatsky woman), and less-genuine but period Chinese secret societies, all of which help to flesh things out. The centre of the plot is an investigation of the death of "Roslyn D'Onston" (Robert Donston Stephenson), historical suspect for the Ripper murders, amateur occultist, and here plausibly expanded into the pre-Crowley eminence noir that he clearly wanted to be in reality.

The research, in short, is lovely. The pacing is better than in the first book, since while each chapter is still a discrete incident they come more closely in time and follow directly from each other. Stubbs is still largely in the dark as to what's going on until the end, and he perhaps relies a bit heavily on being told things by other people rather than finding them out himself, but that's the sort of person he is; if he started to assemble clues and deduce things, he'd be a different sort of character.

I still wouldn't call the first volume pastiche, but this one establishes a distinctive voice, and I look forward to more.

Followed by Alien Stars.

[Buy this at Amazon] and help support the blog.


  1. Posted by David Hambling at 04:34pm on 26 October 2017

    Thanks for the kind review, glad you liked it!

    Harry is, as you note, more Dr Watson than Sherlock Holmes, whatever he would like to be. Dogged persistence can be quite effective though, and muscle power counts for something...

    Ripperologists tend to sneer at Roslyn D'Onston, but he does have what none of the other suspects has -- a genuine motive for the crimes. From this distance though, I can't see anyone ever solving the case definitively though.

    Meanwhile, Book IV is currently in the final draft, and having interested readers is a great motivation to push on. Thanks!

Comments on this post are now closed. If you have particular grounds for adding a late comment, comment on a more recent post quoting the URL of this one.

Search
Archive
Tags 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s 3d printing action aeronautics aikakirja anecdote animation anime army astronomy audio tech base commerce battletech beer boardgaming bookmonth chain of command children chronicle church of no redeeming virtues cold war comedy computing contemporary cornish smuggler cosmic encounter coup cycling dead of winter doctor who documentary drama driving drone ecchi economics espionage essen 2015 essen 2016 essen 2017 essen 2018 existential risk falklands war fandom fantasy film firefly first world war flash point food garmin drive gazebo geodata gin gurps gurps 101 harpoon historical history horror hugo 2014 hugo 2015 hugo 2016 hugo 2017 hugo 2018 hugo-nebula reread in brief avoid instrumented life kickstarter learn to play leaving earth linux mecha museum mystery naval non-fiction one for the brow opera perl photography podcast politics powers prediction privacy project woolsack pyracantha quantum rail ranting raspberry pi reading reading boardgames social real life restaurant reviews romance rpg a day rpgs science fiction scythe second world war security shipwreck simutrans smartphone south atlantic war squaddies stationery steampunk stuarts suburbia superheroes suspense television the resistance thirsty meeples thriller tin soldier torg toys trailers travel vietnam war war wargaming weather wives and sweethearts writing about writing x-wing young adult
Special All book reviews, All film reviews
Produced by aikakirja v0.1