James Blaylock is good friends with Tim Powers; he and a few other younger authors were mentored by the late Philip K. Dick. Born in Long Beach and educated at CSU Fullerton, he currently teaches creative writing at Chapman University. Some years ago, Mr. Blaylock created the Sherlock-Holmes-like character of Dr. Langdon St. Ives, and wrote several short stories and two novels — Homunculus and Lord Kelvin’s Machine — involving him and his exploits. These two, plus the short stories, are all available in the Subterranean Press omnibus The Adventures of Langdon St. Ives (which I intend to review eventually). This volume is apparently the first new Langdon St. Ives story in many years, and it will be published in July of 2009.

Langdon St. Ives is known as a collector of curiosities, and when a curiosity-shop owner finds a map supposedly drawn by Bill Cuttle, an old companion of Dr. St. Ives’s, he immediately contacts St. Ives’s people. The map is apparently in high demand; it is stolen (or so they think) before St. Ives and his faithful narrator, Jack Owlesby, can get there. Except fortunately the shop-owner made a fake for St. Ives’s arch-nemesis to steal, and armed with the original, St. Ives and Owlesby go searching for the treasure at the end — whatever it quite is. (more…)