James Blaylock SF Gateway Omnibus
By James P. Blaylock
From the vaults of The SF Gateway, the most comprehensive digital library of classic SFF titles ever assembled, comes an ideal introduction to two-time World Fantasy Award-winner, James P. Blaylock, one of modern fantasy's most unique voices. Mentored by Philip K. Dick, James P. Blaylock is best known for his Langdon St Ives sequence - one of which, Homunculus, won the Philip K. Dick Award - and, along with contemporaries Tim Powers and K.W. Jeter, is regarded as one of the founding fathers of Steampunk. All three of the novels collected in this omnibus were shortlisted for the World Fantasy Award. The Last Coin: Two thousand years after silver coins pass from the hands of Judas Iscariot, they continue to hold magical powers, changing the luck of those who posses them, and possibly even providing immortality.The Paper Grail: Curator Howard Barton goes to Mendocino, California, to get a 19th-century woodcut sketch for his museum back home. But other, rather strange, people want the sketch for their own dubious purposes. Now Howard's caught in the middle of a secret war that somehow involves a piece of paper that is much more than it seems. All the Bells on Earth: Walt runs a small catalog business out of his garage, and he has no notion of a demonic presence in his town until a package is mistakenly delivered to him. The contents are not the inexpensive Chinese toys and novelties he deals in. The nasty-looking pickled bluebird of happiness ("Best thing come to you. Speak any wish.") piques Walt's interest, and he keeps it when he rewraps the box and passes it on to the addressee: the one person in the world Walt loathes, his former friend Robert Argyle. But Walt's keeping back the bluebird of happiness is the best thing that could have happened to Argyle--and the worst thing that could happen to Walt. What price happiness? If you have to ask ...
The Japanese Devil Fish Girl and Other Unnatural Attractions
By Robert Rankin
The pickled Martian's tentacles are fraying at the ends and Professor Coffin's Most Meritorious Unnatural Attraction (the remains of the original alien autopsy, performed by Sir Frederick Treves at the London Hospital) is no longer drawing the crowds. It's 1895; nearly a decade since Mars invaded Earth, chronicled by H.G. Wells in THE WAR OF THE WORLDS. Wrecked Martian spaceships, back-engineered by Charles Babbage and Nikola Tesla, have carried the Queen's Own Electric Fusiliers to the red planet, and Mars is now part of the ever-expanding British Empire.The less-than-scrupulous sideshow proprietor likes Off-worlders' cash, so he needs a sensational new attraction. Word has reached him of the Japanese Devil Fish Girl; nothing quite like her has ever existed before.But Professor Coffin's quest to possess the ultimate showman's exhibit is about to cause considerable friction amongst the folk of other planets. Sufficient, in fact, to spark off Worlds War Two.