Palma, Félix J. "The Map of the Sky" (El mapa del cielo) - 2012
Fantasy and/or science fiction is not really my favourite genre, and that is putting it mildly. However, last year I came across "The Map of Time" in the chunky book group and I really liked it. Probably because it was a spin-off of "The Time Machine" which I did like as a movie (the old version, that is, never seen the new one). But maybe also because the author is a good writer. And very creative. Nothing is impossible for him.
As in his first novel, Félix J. Palma makes a spin on an H.G. Wells novel, this time it was "The War of the Worlds". But he also includes other novels like "The Time Machine", "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde" and we see many famous people, first and foremost, of course, H.G. Wells himself, then Christopher Columbus, Galileo, Karl Gauss, Marco Polo, Robert Louis Stevenson, Jules Verne, to name just about the most famous ones.
In this novel, we have a lot of adventures to pass. We are stuck on a ship in the frozen North Sea and we have to fight alien machines who want to overtake the whole world. At that point, we arrive in a dystopian environment. There is hardly a genre or a subject not touched in this novel. There is something for everyone. The author even manages to slip in a love story.
Even though this is a brilliant story, I did prefer the first of these two novels but I am still looking forward to the third and last of the books in this Victorian Trilogy which apparently will work around the themes of "The Invisible Man". I think I should start reading H.G. Wells in the meantime.
From the back cover: "A love story serves as backdrop for The Map of the Sky when New York socialite Emma Harlow agrees to marry millionaire Montgomery Gilmore, but only if he accepts her audacious challenge: to reproduce the extraterrestrial invasion featured in Wells's War of the Worlds. What follows are three brilliantly interconnected plots to create a breathtaking tale of time travel and mystery, replete with cameos by a young Edgar Allan Poe, and Captain Shackleton and Charles Winslow from The Map of Time.
Praised for lyrical storytelling and a rich attention to detail, (Library Journal, starred review), Palma again achieves the high standard set by The Map of Time."