Morlock Night – K. W. Jeeter
What happened when the time machine returned?
Morlock Night is a memorably different excursion in science fiction – a gripping classic adventure in past, present and future – with some startling surprising!
A member of the audience at the Time Travellers house the night he told his story walks home in disbelief and comes across Dr Ambrose. This meeting changes his life for he is submerged into a world of time travel, mystery, a bit of magic and a general frolicking around in the London sewerage system in Victorian England. [Yum].
There are three reasons why I picked this book up:
- H.G. Wells is one of my favourite authors, so I wanted to see what a sequel to his work would look like, and how it would all pan out.
- Jeeter is considered one of the fathers of Steampunk fiction, and Steampunk is cool, so I wanted to read it based on that.
- My best friend bought it for my birthday, and I couldn’t let the opportunity go to waste.
I think I’ll divide my thoughts on Morlock Night based on the points above as that seems like a fairly logical way to discuss this book.
Wells is a fantastic author – I absolutely loved The Time Machine, and War of the Worlds, although I must confess when I first started reading him I found the way he worded things a little long winded, but as I got into his writing style I was able to enjoy and appreciate that way of writing more. In terms of Morlock Night there’s an element of style that Jeeter is trying to recreate from Wells, but he falls short. In one way this is good as it transforms the book into a quick read rather than one that takes an age to get into, and it shows that he isn’t simply emulating Wells. This alone would have been okay had it not been for some of the content.
Wells’ book explored the idea that time travel could be possible if one could look at the world in terms of four dimensions, not three, and that travelling in and through time would be to travel through the fourth dimension [if I remember correctly, feel free to correct me otherwise! It’s been some time since I read the Time Machine]. Jeeter takes the time machine and places it in the hands of the Morlocks, who then basically punch a hole through space/time and are sending their troops into the past to take over Victorian London and then own both the past and the future [I think there may be a mention of the paradox that this would create but I don’t think it’s really elaborated on].
Again, this would have been okay had Jeeter stuck with this plot and explored the depths of the Morlock invasion. But no, readers, there is more to this. [SPOILERS, DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVEN’T READ THIS BOOK].
Dr Ambrose, the fellow that the main character meets on the street turns out to be Merlin. Yes, Merlin, the same Merlin who was with Arthur, King of the Britain’s, the man of legend and lore. And, what’s more, Merlin/Ambrose tasks the main character [the name of which eludes me] to find the true Arthur, his sword [which has been split into four and scattered throughout time] and basically defeat the Morlocks.
Can you guess where some of this is going?
I have to admit I enjoyed where Jeeter took the story, although the idea of bringing Arthur into it, and then later on the idea of Atlantis and lost technology like the submarine powered by steam [Steampunk is born here folks] is a smidge on the farfetched side, but it was there, and somehow Jeeter made it work.
The copy/edition that I read had one really quite major bugbear that Nuri forgot to warn me about: the grammar/punctuation. It’s like someone went through the book and put in random full stops, comers, mid-sentence interruptions. Once you work your way through them and learn to ignore them it’s not so bad, but it’s one of those things that when you’re reading they jar you out and bring you back into the real world.
This being said: I really enjoyed this book, and I am glad that I took the time and had the opportunity to read it, because at the end of the day it’s a good laugh despite its’ peculiarities.
Keep on rocking!
[It should be noted that I read this at the beginning of November but then did NaNo and forgot to blog about it in the excitement of writing my own book. And, actually, the very ending of this one inspired me to do something with my own main character that I thought I would never do ;)].