cover image The Return of the Discontinued Man

The Return of the Discontinued Man

Mark Hodder. Pyr, $18 trade paper (340p) ISBN 978-1-61614-905-5

Hodder’s fifth Burton and Swinburne adventure (after The Secret of Abdu El-Yezdi) careens through a series of intentionally baffling false starts before soaring into a time-travelling expedition of increasingly hellish dystopias. British anthropologist and explorer Sir Richard Francis Burton and endearingly debauched poet Algernon Swinburne explore a wittily fashioned alternate Victorian era. Burton is alarmed when his laudanum-like tincture sends him careening through numerous manifestations of a single recurrent moment, and soon he realizes that Edward Oxford, the tragically mad intellectual, is not dead. The companions embark on a journey aboard a hovercraft with a prickly personality towards the moment in the future when Oxford first realized he could alter history. Readers persistent enough to make their way through the bewildering opening will be riveted by Hodder’s ingenious reinventing of both history and recent present, while quailing at what that reimagining does to the future. (July)