Absurdity Above and Below in The Sky Done Ripped Joe R. Lansdale

A Golden Fleece, A Time Machine, HG Wells, and Tomi Who Must Be Obeyed and Eats Lunch Early

“There was a wry look to his dark features, like a man that had just discovered what he had eaten was not, as assumed, a pickle”

5/5

Book 4

Previous Books in the Series

Book 1

The Wild West Show travels by Zeppelin to perform before a Shogun, soon to be emperor of Japan, only to discover the Frankenstein monster is being whittled down slowly and ground into aphrodisiacs by the would-be ruler. Buffalo Bill, who, due to a recent accident, exists only as a battery powered head in a jar of liquid manufactured from the best that modern science and pig urine has to offer, along with Wild Bill Hickok, Annie Oakley, Sitting Bull, and a cast of historical as well as literary characters, rescue the monster, only to be shot down over the Pacific, where they are saved from sharks by Captain Nemo and his intellectual seal, Ned.

And then things get weird.

Book 2

Ned Lives!

That’s right. Ned the Seal of Zeppelins West survived the shark attack from his last adventure, and he’s back in a new escapade starring Jules Verne, Mark Twain, H. G. Wells and his Martian invaders, as well as a number of surprise guests you may or may not recognize.

Yes, my friends, it’s a story of Ned the Seal, adventurer, future dime novelist and fish lover, in a world not of his making. Not of his choice. In fact, no one knows for sure who made it or chose it. And boy is it a mess.

Besides our plucky seal, here too is Rikwalk, the forty foot tall ape. Beadle and John Feather, the Masters of the giant metal steam man of the prairie, stoked up and ready to fight Martian war machines.

Not since you stubbed your big toe on your way to the toilet in the middle of the night have there been so many surprises. Flaming London is a pure fun romp you can ride without benefit of bridle or saddle and it won’t hurt your toe.

So kick back, turn on the fan, pull the covers up to your chin, prop up your back, and read this tale of seals unchained, Steam unharnessed, ruthless Martian invaders, and heroes.

And don’t forget the fish.

Book 3

What do the disembodied head of Buffalo Bill Cody, Annie Oakley, Frankenstein, the Tin Man, Captain Nemo, the Flying Dutchman, and the inestimable Ned the Seal have in common? Find out as they embark upon a spectacular set of nonstop steampunk adventures. For the first time, two epic chronicles, Zeppelins West and Flaming London, inscribed by a courageous young seal on his trusty notepad, are collected together in one volume.

Leap from a flaming zeppelin with the stars of the Wild West Show in a desperate escape from an imperial Japanese enclave. Wash up upon the island of Doctor Moreau, in mortal danger from his unnatural experiments (and ignorant that Dracula approaches by sea). Unite with Jules Verne, Passpartout, and Mark Twain on a desperate voyage to the burning streets of London, which are infested with killer squid from outer space courtesy of H. G. Wells’s time machine.

It’s a raucous steam-powered locomotive of shoot-’em-up Westerns, dime novels, comic books, and pulp fiction, as only Lansdale, the high-priest of Texan weirdness, could tell.
 

Stats

Hardcover, 296 pages
Expected publication: December 31st 2019 by Subterranean
ISBN
1596069104 (ISBN13: 9781596069107)

Book Synopsis

You might think two books of adventure involving Ned the brain-enhanced Seal would be enough for any little seal’s lifetime, but not so.

Ned is back.

Ned and H. G. Wells, returning from correcting wounds in the fabric of time, not to mention a brief trip to an alternate Mars, have rescued two shipwreck survivors, Bongo Bill and Suzie Q. They have saved them from drowning or possibly being killed by alien invaders.

In the process of jumping from one dimension to another, trying to discover a time path home, they find themselves in an inner world with a stationary sun. It’s a warm world with jungles, rivers, and land-locked seas. It is full of primitive creatures, including dinosaurs, highly intelligent apes, cannibals, strange storms and bad hygiene.

Deciding on a brief picnic and minor exploration before jumping to Victorian England, Ned and his friends end up saving a famous apeman from human-eating birds, and soon set out to assist the apeman, Tango, in stealing a Golden Fleece with curative powers, a fleece skinned from the body of a strange space traveler. The fleece resides in a magnificent city, a kind of Shangri-La in the far Blue Mountains.

Their plan is to use the fleece to cure Tango’s beautiful wife, who has fallen into a coma. Nothing seems to cure her, but the rumored miraculous powers of the Golden Fleece just might. If the world doesn’t kill them, then another survivor of the shipwreck from which Bongo Bill and Suzie Q were rescued just might.

She has been pulled into a time warp and blended with the souls of marauding aliens, as well as the techno souls of their machines. She has mutated. She has grown to great size. She has invented rolling machines that maul the trees and crush the earth, blend rocks and bones, blood and jungle into one vast wasteland. She has gained terrible powers, and lost all connection to humanity. She has become She Who Must Be Obeyed and Eats Lunch Early. Her whole purpose is chaos, and she has gathered an army to help her do just that. She has destroyed the villages she has come across and enslaved the inhabitants. She and her army are heading in the direction of the Blue Mountains, to the fabled city that contains the Golden Fleece.

Inevitably, she will collide with our heroes, and it won’t be pretty.

Come now to the worlds and times of Ned the Seal. Share his journeys, as he honks the horn on his power sled, avoids becoming a culinary prize of beasts and cannibals, and settles in for a meal of fish, baked or fried, dried or raw.

Cause the Sky Done Ripped and everything has gone to adventurous hell. And thank goodness.

My Thoughts...

 
A wacky and imaginatively crafted tale with a seal named Ned, who has welded on opposable thumbs, and enhanced brain, and drives a flying sled. He hangs out with none other than H.G Wells, intrepid traveler, and explorer.
What is this about? I honestly don’t know. It is a rip-roaring book written in an almost stream of consciousness vibe. Jack and Jill play a part, as does Tomi, once a bully of a child, now hulking she-beast that travels on a sled made from the bones of allies and enemies alike. She uses the moniker Tomi who must be obeyed and eats lunch early. There are also two apes who lived in a world where humans were not flourishing. In this world, apes are humans. Their cruise ship that was trying to outsail the end of the world smashed into a flying saucer. They, thrown from the boat, landed on HG Wells ship. He graciously invited them on the boat, they ate fish and dressed up in some odd clown costumes. (just what wells had available) They end up accompanying Ned and Jack on a quest to find the fleece to save a sick Jills life.
It is absurd. It is quirky. It is damn fun.
If you are in to have your mind batted around like a ping pong ball, this book and series will be right up your alley. Check it out.
 

Procurement

I received a copy of this from Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for my open and honest review.

About The Author

Champion Mojo Storyteller Joe R. Lansdale is the author of over forty novels and numerous short stories. His work has appeared in national anthologies, magazines, and collections, as well as numerous foreign publications. He has written for comics, television, film, newspapers, and Internet sites. His work has been collected in more than two dozen short-story collections, and he has edited or co-edited over a dozen anthologies. He has received the Edgar Award, eight Bram Stoker Awards, the Horror Writers Association Lifetime Achievement Award, the British Fantasy Award, the Grinzani Cavour Prize for Literature, the Herodotus Historical Fiction Award, the Inkpot Award for Contributions to Science Fiction and Fantasy, and many others. His novella Bubba Ho-Tep was adapted to film by Don Coscarelli, starring Bruce Campbell and Ossie Davis. His story “Incident On and Off a Mountain Road” was adapted to film for Showtime’s “Masters of Horror,” and he adapted his short story “Christmas with the Dead” to film hisownself. The film adaptation of his novel Cold in July was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, and the Sundance Channel has adapted his Hap & Leonard novels for television.

He is currently co-producing several films, among them The Bottoms, based on his Edgar Award-winning novel, with Bill Paxton and Brad Wyman, and The Drive-In, with Greg Nicotero. He is Writer In Residence at Stephen F. Austin State University, and is the founder of the martial arts system Shen Chuan: Martial Science and its affiliate, Shen Chuan Family System. He is a member of both the United States and International Martial Arts Halls of Fame. He lives in Nacogdoches, Texas with his wife, dog, and two cats.
 

Where to Find Them

Learn more about his novels:

http://www.joerlansdale.com

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