Publication Order of Burton & Swinburne Series
|The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack||(2010)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man||(2011)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Expedition to the Mountains of the Moon||(2012)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|The Secret of Abdu El-Yezdi||(2013)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|The Return of the Discontinued Man||(2014)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|The Rise of the Automated Aristocrats||(2015)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
Publication Order of Macallister Fogg Series
|The Master Mummer's Mummy||(2013)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Great Great Great (And So Forth) Uncle Dragoslav||(2013)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|The Hetrodythermaline Highwayman||(2013)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
Publication Order of Standalone Novels
Publication Order of Collections
|Zenith Lives! (with Stuart Douglas, Paul Magrs and Michael Moorcock)||(2012)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
Born in England, Mark Hodder moved to Spain in 2008. He is most famous for writing novels within the ‘steampunk’ genre. Steampunk is a sub genre of science fiction that focuses on the inventions, and the aesthetic of the nineteenth century – and especially steam driven technology. Steampunk fiction often involves post apocalyptic worlds where steam based machinery has come to dominate the world again – or it may be set in a punked up version of the nineteenth century past.
Hodder was born in the port town of Southampton in the county of Hampshire in England on November 28th 1962. A somewhat elusive figure, he is not known to reveal much about his personal life. However, he has garnered many literary accolades throughout his career, including being nominated several times for a Sidewise Award and winning a Philip K Dick Award in 2010.
As well as writing novels, Hodder is an enthusiast about the British fictional character Sexton Blake. Sexton Blake was a detective (not unlike Sherlock Holmes) who appeared in radio shows, short stories, comic strips and silent films from the late nineteenth century onwards – and throughout the twentieth century. Hodder has been instrumental in getting some stories about Sexton Blake published so that a new generation of readers can enjoy them.
Hodder’s books tend to reflect the varied, multifaceted steampunk world and are an eclectic mix of real historical characters (the poet Charles Algernon Swinburne is one of Hodder’s favorite characters to include in his novels, for instance), urban landscapes dominated by steam machinery, Victoriana, post apocalyptic dystopias, and detective fiction. For example, his novel ‘A Red Sun Also Rises’ depicts Victorian culture in London, but on another planet, far away from the earth.
‘A Red Sun Also Rises’ is a standalone book, however, the majority of Mark Hodder’s steampunk based opus forms a series, known as the Burton and Swinburne Trilogy (featuring the poet Swinburne, mentioned above, and the British explorer Sir Richard Francis Burton). This trilogy was kicked off in 2010 by ‘The Strange Affair of Spring-Heeled Jack’ – the novel which enabled Hodder to snap up that Philip K Dick Award.
The Strange Affair of Spring-Heeled Jack
This novel is set in Victorian London, in around the 1840s, and it depicts a number of real historical personages. As well as Burton and Swinburne themselves, for instance, the novel depicts Queen Victoria, Florence Nightingale, and Charles Darwin. These figures are clearly based on some careful historical research on Hodder’s part, and the scenario in which they find themselves is also related to a real historical event: an assassination attempt on Queen Victoria’s life in 1840.
Beyond this, however, the novel is very much a work of steampunk fiction, dealing with themes such as time travel, magical hydraulic suits, alternative universes and a curious character named Spring Heeled Jack. Also known as ‘The Terror of London’, Spring Heeled Jack was a devilish entity whom many Victorian Londoners claimed to have seen stalking lone pedestrians and then leaping high up into the air, over buildings, in order to make his escape. Sensationalized stories about this terrifying figure appeared in London periodicals throughout the mid nineteenth century (some Londoners described him as having eyes like burning coals, for instance), and these stories have served as part of Mark Hodder’s inspiration for his novel.
‘The Strange Affair of Spring-Heeled Jack’ is about a time traveler whose ancestor was an assassin who killed Queen Victoria. The time traveler hops back to 1840 in an attempt to stop the regicide, but fails in his mission the first time around. This means that another trip back in time is in order – this time back to 1937 when the time traveler recruits a man known as the ‘Mad Marquess’ to help him to stop the regicide from happening. The book deals with two alternate futures: one in which the Queen is assassinated and one in which she doesn’t, as the time traveler manages to thwart his ancestor’s plans. Several odd things happen in the former alternate future, such as the growth of giant flora and fauna.
The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man
After the success of his first steampunk crime novel, Hodder quickly followed up with a second book: ‘The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man’, which was published in 2011. Again, this book deals with the theme of alternate universes. For example, the inventor Isembard Kingdom Brunel’s corpse is presented with the opportunity of living once more within a giant mechanized steam powered body, whilst Florence Nightingale has the opportunity to become a rogue surgeon. Charles Darwin, meanwhile, becomes a criminal mastermind in an alternate world. As is surely clear by now, this second novel explores many of the themes of the first novel in the series: as well as alternate realities, we see real historical figures engaged in weird and wonderful fictional scenarios, and the transformative and terrifying power of steam technology is explored to the full.
‘The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man’ is set 21-24 years after the main events depicted in ‘The Strange Affair of Spring-Heeled Jack': in 1861.Burton and Swinburne are together once more (as Burton has just returned, defeated, from a failed attempt to trace the source of the Nile). This time, the duo are embroiled in politics and intrigue, as Burton is given the post of the King’s Spy. What will he discover about the Prime Minister, Lord Palmerston, and will it cost him his life?
These two above mentioned books were followed up in 2012 by a book entitled ‘Expedition to the Mountains of the Moon': the third novel in the so called ‘Burton and Swinburne’ trilogy. However, there are further ‘Burton and Swinburne Adventures’ to enjoy amongst Hodder’s other novels, such as ‘The Rise of the Automated Aristocrats’ and ‘The Return of the Discontinued Man’ which trace their adventures through a Victorian London that is at once alien and recognizable.
Perhaps the appeal of Mark Hodder’s books lies in their heady fusion of historical fact and outlandish fiction. As well as having a cult following amongst steampunk enthusiasts, these books have also got plenty of readers in the mainstream market, too. They have been compared to the Newbury and Hobbes adventures by George Mann and Alan K Barker’s Blackwood and Harrington novels.Book Series In Order » Authors » Mark Hodder