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Flaming Zeppelins: The Adventures of Ned the Seal Paperback – October 25, 2010

3.4 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Like 10-alarm chili, Lansdale is pretty strong stuff . . . He has become a cult figure."
People Magazine

“A madcap excursion.”
Shelf Awareness

“The comparison to Alan Moore’s great comic series is probably the most apt, both in the form of a collection of historic and literary characters and in the tone of Moore’s delight in the obscene. Lansdale ramps both up to hilarious excess.”
Voyages Extraordinaires

“Lansdale reminds me somewhat of Terry Pratchett, if Pratchett was an irascible cuss with an affection for scatological humour.... If you want your steampunk serious, sombre, or squeaky-clean, stay far away from Lansdale. For myself, he’s a breath of flatulent air in the midst of steampunk taking itself far too seriously.”
Steampunk Scholar

Praise for Zeppelins West

“Irrepressible, irreverent and unpredictable.... Legends of the Old West, plus characters both real and fictional, enliven the shenanigans.... [T]his novel is one big joyride from start to finish.”
Publishers Weekly

Praise for Flaming London

“Wait a minute! What’s going on here? Only one of the wildest-alternate-worlds, rip-in-space-time, SF-pastiche romps this side of fifties B-movies.”
Booklist

About the Author

Joe R. Lansdale is the author of more than thirty novels, including the Edgar Award–winning Hap and Leonard mystery series (Mucho Mojo, Two Bear Mambo) and the New York Times Notable Book The Bottoms. More than two hundred of his stories have appeared in such outlets as Tales From the Crypt and Pulphouse, and his work has been adapted for The Twilight Zone and Masters of Horror. Lansdale has written several graphic novels, including Batman and Fantastic Four. He is a tenth-degree black belt and the founder of the Shen Chuan martial art.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 285 pages
  • Publisher: Tachyon Publications (October 25, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616960027
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616960025
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,239,495 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Chris Ward VINE VOICE on March 17, 2012
Format: Paperback
It's clear Joe R. Lansdale had fun writing this raunchy fan-note to pretty much all 19th and early 20th Century fantasy genre fiction. It's a loving mash-up of HG Wells, Twain, Mary Shelley, dime novels, L. Frank Baum, Jules Verne, and several kitchen sinks. It combines two novelettes into one great big wet kiss to pulp fantasy-- but it's not for kids. Lansdale regulars won't be surprised by the kinky, sometimes inter-species sex, or by the cheerfully vulgar language, but a newby might wonder what he'd wandered into.

If you like SF/fantasy/comedy/smutty story-telling that references the Victorian-era classics of fantasy/SF, you'll appreciate it as I did. And I liked it a lot.
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Format: Paperback
It's just hilarious. Lansdale has a gift for comic dialogue, most particularly that of Chief Sitting Bull here, who comes off sounding like a more articulate version of Marvel Comics' Hulk. This isn't true speculative fiction, and it reads like two novels in a three-novel series, ending with a major plot device unresolved. That said, it's pure fun, it rattles along, and if you liked League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (the comics, not the film) you're in good hands here.
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By Godan on March 27, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was unfamiliar with the author's work. I could not put this one down. The ups and downs of the "gang' kept me alternatively in stitches or suspense. Well worth the read for anyone who enjoys the genre. If you have not tried the style--go for it!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was researching he steampunk-western intersection when I ran across this double-novel in one book. Zeppelins West was the better book of the two: Buffalo Bill has been rescued from an accident and survives as a severed head kept alive in a large jar, nourished by a solution of whiskey and urine and some secret ingredient. He travels the Pacific with Sitting Bull, Annie Oakley, Wild Bill Hickok, and Ned Buntline, and in the course of his adventures meets Captain Nemo and Doctor Moreau, and is accompanbied by a chain-reading genius seal named Ned. The second novel was a cop on H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds, as Ned the Seal gets to see London attacked by aliens. Not as good as Zeppelins West, but a lark.
Lansdale is nothing heavy, but he is fun. I think I'll read Bubba Ho-tep next.
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The first book in this collection, Zeppelins West, is like a dirty love letter to 19th and early 20th century American authors and literature. The second, Flaming London, is an East-Meets-West American versus English lit showdown that (quite frankly) isn't as funny or interesting. But you could do worse. If you like Alan Moore and wish he could laugh at himself once in a while, you'll get a kick out of this book.
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Format: Paperback
Seeing the low reviews of some of the other readers I felt had to comment.

Having read and thoroughly enjoyed the Hap and Leonard series, and hearing reports from my spouse that his forays into horror were equally good, I felt like giving the Author the benefit of the doubt with a book in the quasi-SteamPunk realm.

The real fun of reading Mr Landsdale's books is his deep study of the human condition. Even in the crazy situations he dreamed up for this novel, the characters respond in a fashion that seems to fit.

Regarding the comments on "teenage" humor, to me that reader didn't seem to get it. The author is writing the characters as true to life as possible which include the high's and lows of the human condition especially in the particular time frame they find themselves. I enjoyed despite and maybe because of the profanity and grit.
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Format: Paperback
This is not for everyone: Lansdale has a vulgar prose style that makes fun of a multitude of genre fictions and authors. And in my opinion, when he is firing on all cylinders, he's hilarious. My enthusiasm, however, is not whole-hearted. While it started with a bang, the book seemed uneven as it went along, and I found it most unsatisfactory when the viewpoint was omniscient, with no focal character to worry about, and the action seemed summarized, rather than described (e.g. the battle scenes). This might be Lansdale mimicking the dime novels that served as inspiration, but I found these sections a chore to read. And while Ned the Seal is a fun character, there are a few reoccurring gags that got old -- then again, how much can you expect from a seal?
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Format: Paperback
Joe R. Lansdale is one of America’s most underrated novelists, probably because he writes in many different genres, never stopping in one place long enough to build a large following. I call this the Whimsical Lansdale genre, and it goes alongside many of his shorter works like Drive-In: The Bus Tour and “Dread Island”. This is a lighthearted ode to all the classic pulp adventure and science fiction tales that Lansdale grew up with.

Flaming Zeppelins is an omnibus collection of two novels. It is nice to see them back in print, but please note this volume does not contain any of Tim Truman's original illustrations.

Zeppelins West is a mash-up novel written in what would be called Steampunk today (I’m not sure this genre even had a name in 2001 when this was written). Historical and fictional 19th century characters intermingle in a world that has a level of technology equivalent to what you might find in a Jules Verne or H.G. Wells adventure. Annie Oakley, Bill Hickock, Sitting Bull, and Buffalo Bill Cody’s dismembered head--which is being kept alive in a Mason jar--travel to Japan, rescue Frankenstein’s monster who is being slowly ground up to be used as an aphrodisiac, then eventually have to escape from Dr. Momo (aka Doctor Moreau) and Captain Bemo (aka Captain Nemo from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea). The Tin Man from Oz and even Dracula make appearances.

It’s all very slapdash and slapstick, of course. It reads like a short story that got carried away and went on a tad too long. Fortunately, it is brimming with imagination and humor throughout.

Flaming London is a direct sequel. This time around, the survivors from the first adventure partner with Mark Twain and Jules Verne in a battle against H. G. Wells’ Martian invaders.
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