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.
corner of Hanover Square. It was palatial, in a discreet, rather austere way. Five rows of white windows were set into a grey immensity of brick. The door was set back behind four square white pillars, a fence of black railings, a moat of basement windows. The windows and the golden letter-box in the middle of a large black door caught the last violet light of the evening. At first nobody answered Lord Atwood’s door-bell, for so long that Josephine began to wonder if nobody was home, not even
They reminded her in an odd way of policemen. They were both rather badly dressed, and there was something strange about their movements and their expressions, as if they were not quite in control of themselves, but were sleep-walking. Their eyes—glistening black—were the only memorable things in their faces, which were otherwise pale, unshaven, indistinct, and tired. Not so long ago she would have assumed that they were an unusual sort of albino, or wearing odd glasses, or something of the
that was a black hexagram. Within that was a circle. And within that was another hexagon. Around the edges of his vision there were lights now, as Atwood named the planets and the stars. Within the hexagon another hexagram, and within that, another circle. Up! and Down! Atwood named the numbers and the gods. A hexagon, a hexagram, a circle. He fell. A hexagon, a hexagram. A ray of black light spiralling down into the dark, touching each point of the star as it descended: a black star, weaving a
helpless. On the ivory moon they looked very different. No two Martians had wings of quite the same pattern or colour or shape. They were typically blue or purple or rose-pink, and thickly veined, and faintly translucent, like cloudy glass or a fine silk. They might come in three pairs, or four, or five or six or more; they might be straight as knives, or curved, or more complexly shaped. One could never quite grasp their shape or pattern, partly because they were rarely still, partly because
shaking him. Arthur had no idea what had happened or why. An error in the calculations? Something they’d failed to consider? The cause hardly mattered now. Archer’s son appeared to be dead. That was a disaster. The ritual, all of Gracewell’s calculations, assumed nine. Jupiter and Miss Didot glanced at each other, then continued their pacing and chanting, stepping over Archer as she sobbed and wailed. Vaz tried to stand, but Dimmick seized his hand and pulled him down again. It was too late to