by James Smythe
“The Last Escapement” was first published in Irregularity in 2014, by Jurassic London – an anthology about the enlightenment, a 16th and 17th movement of invention that resulted in John Harrison discovering the concept of Maritime longitude – the true story of which being the inspiration for “The Last Escapement.” Clocks used to be a very different thing, and our notions of time were somewhat sloppier. For years, people tried to build a clock that didn’t lose time when traveling the oceans – this is my contribution to the many tales about those endeavors.
JAMES SMYTHE is the winner of the Wales Fiction Book of the Year 2013, and was shortlisted for the Arthur C. Clarke Award 2014. He is the author of, amongst other things, The Machine, The Explorer, No Harm Can Come To A Good Man, and the Australia trilogy, a series for Young Adult readers. His most recent book released in the US is No Harm, and in October of this year, Way Down Dark will be published in the US by Quercus.
Your narrator – Paul Jenkins – has narrated for Escape Pod, Pseudopod and PodCastle a number of times (he was honoured to be asked to narrate the very first PodCastle episode!). His science fiction podcast novel THE PLITONE REVISIONIST is available for free at Podiobooks.com at the link. His skeptical blog “Notes from an Evil Burnee” and his skeptical podcast “Skepticule” (aka “The Three Pauls Podcast“) can also be found at their links.
This episode is sponsored by J.R. HAMANTASCHEN (who podcasts at The Horror Of Nachos And Hamantaschen) and his new story collection WITH A VOICE THAT IS OFTEN STILL CONFUSED BUT IS BECOMING EVER LOUDER AND CLEARER (which can be ordered here from AMAZON
The follow-up to his critically acclaimed collection, YOU SHALL NEVER KNOW SECURITY, J.R. Hamantaschen returns with another collection of his inimitable brand of weird, dark fiction. At turns despairing, resonant, macabre and insightful, these nine stories intend to stay with you.
9 out of 10 – “there are nine tales in this collection, each of satisfying length and immediately striking, from first page to last . . . stories that will grip you for their humanity and soul.” – Starburst Magazine
“eclectic, poignant, thought provoking .. . too awesome to pass up” – HorrorTalk
“Perturbing, anomalous stories that will bore into readers’ minds.” – Kirkus
Unequivocal Recommendation – ShockTotem
“True, great horror. I love this book.” – Chris Lackey, HP Lovecraft Literary Podcast
“Those who an artistic approach, psychological depth and small details are going to read through this collection and remember it for days to come.” — HorrorPalace
“Resonating, delectably weird and spooky collection, thoroughly enjoyable” – IndieReader (received Official IndieReader Stamp of Approval)
4 out of 5 – Scream Magazine
4 out of 5 – Hungry Monster Review
“I do not know how many times I am to try this: to create a time-keeping device that will hold its measure on a journey across the sea. Every day, the same thing: a task as simple as steadying a pendulum, the rock of left to right; of making it sturdy, able to take the yoke of a storm and hold it still. Time is regular, this is the crux of the problem, and when travelling the seas, time is lost. It evaporates, like salt-water from a deck — though time, of course, leaves no trace. It is such an intangible thing that we try to measure.”