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Hodder, Mark

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

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(1962-    ) UK journalist, editor and author of the Steampunk Burton and Swinburne sequence – so far comprising The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack (2010), winner of the 2011 Philip K Dick Award, The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man (2011), Expedition to the Mountains of the Moon (2012), The Secret of Abdu El Yezdi: A Burton & Swinburne Adventure (2013), The Return of the Discontinued Man: A Burton & Swinburne Adventure (2014) and The Rise of the Automated Aristocrats: A Burton & Swinburne Adventure (2015) – which is set in an Alternate World whose Jonbar Point dates to 1840 when Spring Heeled Jack manipulates the workings of history as a consequence of his Time Travel from the future, causing the assassination of Queen Victoria. The Steampunk world created, with its infusion of occult mysteries, is perhaps more fantasy than sf, though the ramifications of the long, tightly-organized sequence eloquently demonstrate the power – and prevalence – of Equipoise in contemporary tales, especially those set on Earth. The main protagonists – Sir Richard Burton (1821-1890), who is conflated to some degree with Sherlock Holmes, and Charles Algernon Swinburne (1837-1909), ditto Watson – are treated with considerable freedom. In the final volume, various Inventions are brought back by Burton from his Time Travel expedition into the Darkest Future, with potentially dire consequences: but ultimate disaster is averted.

In the singleton, A Red Sun Also Rises (2013), a man from Earth is transported to the planet Ptallaya – in a manner as little explained as the removal of Edgar Rice Burroughs's John Carter to Mars – where he and his female companion find their minds and memories mimed by the native species, who create a kind of "virtual" London, though the romantic Planetary Romance atmosphere proves to have been an artefactual defense against the psychic chaos unleashed by the titular sun, which only rises at long intervals. [JC]

Mark Hodder

born Southampton, Hampshire: October 1962



Burton and Swinburne

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