"I have a novel. Do you have a novel?"

Early evening over London (for it’s always evening there),
Since the Empress sold the city, but the commoners don’t care,
Nor the dandies nor the dockers, or bohemians with flair,
For what boots a little sun when life eternal’s in the air?

Now here’s the word at Wolfstack, as the zailors come and go,
There’s an engine in the making, that’ll give us all a show,
The Fulgent (named Impeller), built by someone in the know,
Of a Riddlerfisher secret, that’ll make the _____ glow.

The Innocent they call him, and there’s no end to the stories,
The things he’s made and mended, hopeful engineering glories,
The sphinxstone ship he zailed home, from the tired patient quarries,
Just what he got up to in the Fierce P’s laboratories.

They say he has a penknife, that he’s stolen out of time,
They say he broke from Wisdom, though he never did a crime,
They say his Correspondence is the picture of sublime,
They may even say he’s handsome, underneath the oil grime.

One thing you must remember, should you ever have the treat,
To buttonhole our hero, when he wanders down the street,
You may ask about his spying, or the secrets of concrete,
But don’t ask about this ballad - for he’s awfully discreet.

  • traditional Zee shanty

So: I wrote a thoroughly unofficial prequel novel for Sunless Sea, delving into the Tireless Mechanic’s backstory, available here at Archive of Our Own. In which a Surface spy befriends the company of a Unterzee cutter, and becomes enmeshed in tales from Port Carnelian to Irem. Gets better as it goes along, I think. Lots of adventuring across the zee, fair amount of banter, stray references to “Cultist Simulator,” a chapter in the form of a text adventure, the odd lapse into Seeking…

It also happens to be a crossover with a rather sweet 80s action-adventure show named MacGyver, for reasons that made sense to me at the time. Though I’ve written it on the assumption no one reading this has ever heard of the programme.

Enjoy, if you’ve a mind to.

(I’ve already written several follow-up stories…)
edited by Teaspoon on 12/23/2017