A short story here and short story there, the scientist cum adventurer Langdon St. Ives was having himself a variety of steampunk (before there was Steampunk) escapades around the globe. The stories paving the way for a novel, Homunculus appeared in 1986. A success, Blaylock looked to develop lengthier material in St. Ives’ world, and in 1992 extended the short story “Lord Kelvin’s Machine” into a novel of the same name.
A different approach to storytelling than Homunculus, Lord Kelvin’s Machine shifts away from the picaresque, and closer to the darker, more dramatic. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Professor Challenger stories, Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde, Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues under the Sea, and other such stories of the late 19th and early 20th century whispering from the wings, Blaylock digs deeper into Langdon St. Ives’ head while expanding established material in highly adventurous, world-wheeling form. From world destroying comets to time machines, volcano chases to doppelgangers, storytelling remains front and center even as mood darkens.