Sunday, December 31, 2017

As we enter a new year....

.... Monroe St. Press takes a quick look back at 2017. 

We released 9 new titles this year, branching out into genres such as utopian/dystopian, non-fiction and satire: 

-- The Mystery of Edwin Drood by Charles Dickens
-- The Iron Heel by Jack London
-- Lord of the World by Robert Hugh Benson
-- Edison's Conquest of Mars by Garrett P. Serviss
-- The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket by Edgar Allan Poe
-- Around the World in 72 Days by Nellie Bly
-- The Ladies' Guide to Perfect Manners by Eliza Leslie
-- Scaramouche by Rafael Sabatini 
-- To Venus in Five Seconds by Fred T. Jane 

Events that Monroe St. Press took part in this year were Winter War 44 in Champaign, Ill.; the Geneva Steam Convention in Delavan, Wis.; Heroicon in Decatur, Ill.; the Big River Steampunk Festival in Hannibal, Mo.; and Archon in Collinsville, Ill. 

We plan to return to all these events in 2018, and also plan to make another appearance at Cog County Faire in Montello, Wis., which we attended in 2016. 

New titles for 2018 are already in the works, including vintage gaming books. We hope to add more non-fiction titles that could be used as reference guides for Victorian and Steampunk aficionados, historical reenactors, and others interested in preserving or learning more about the era. 

Thanks to everyone who has visited our website, Facebook page or vendor table/booth this year! Hope your new year is as prosperous and creative as you wish it to be. 

Thursday, December 14, 2017

A rare and witty sci-fi satire

The author of Monroe St. Press' latest release is best known as the founder of the Jane's series of reference books on warships and  aircraft. But Fred T. Jane was also known during his lifetime (1865-1916) as a fiction author and illustrator in his own right. 

To Venus in Five Seconds: An Account of the Strange Disappearance of Thomas Plummer, Pillmaker (1897) pokes fun at the conventions of what was then known as "scientific romance", such as lost/hidden worlds, Egyptology, super-intelligent aliens, impossibly handsome Anglo-Saxon heroes, etc. 

The title itself parodies the full title of Jules Verne's From the Earth to the Moon, Direct Course in 97 Hours, 20 Minutes.  It recounts the improbable adventure of a young medical student with (as the reader is repeatedly reminded) a "splendid physique" but not so splendid intellect, who finds himself transported to Venus by a mysterious "lady doctor". 

In his quest to return to Earth, our hero faces multiple obstacles such as blinding sunlight, giant bug-like creatures, humanoid vivisectionists bent on capturing him for ghastly medical experiments, and tedious scientific discourses.  

Venus was one of several speculative fiction works that Jane wrote and illustrated. His other works include Blake of the "Rattlesnake" (1895), a future submarine war adventure; The Incubated Girl (1896), in which a young woman is hatched from an egg found in an ancient Egyptian tomb; and The Violet Flame (1899), an end-of-the-world tale. 

Contemporary works that Jane illustrated include George Griffith's Angel of the Revolution (1893) and Olga Romanoff/The Syren of the Skies (1894). His interest in and talent for drawing ships eventually prompted him to publish All the World's Fighting Ships (1898), the first in what would become an annual series of  guidebooks to naval vessels and military aircraft. 

To Venus in Five Seconds is now available at Amazon for $5.99.