Once upon a time! . . . later.

February, 1860. Workers break ground for the world’s first underground railway system, that will soon cut through the heart of London — and threaten the secrets that lie beneath.

For centuries, fae have dwelt in a shadowy mirror of the city above. Now, at last, their sanctuary is crumbling. The Queen of the Onyx Court has gone into seclusion, fighting to maintain their defenses, and in her absence, her subjects run unchecked. The filthy, gas-lit streets of Victorian London are their playground and battleground both, in a conflict between ancient magic and modern industry that will force them to an inescapable choice: flee, adapt, or be destroyed.

When I said Midnight Never Come was a stand-alone novel, I meant it. And I still do.

But I figured out how to write a sequel . . . 270 years later.

The blurb above is pure, unadulterated hand-waving. I know roughly the ideas I want to toss into the stew of this novel, but not the specifics of what I’m doing with them, because right now you are witnessing the very embryonic stages of a book. I thought this idea up all of eight days ago, proposed it to my editor all of seven days ago, and got it approved this afternoon. I have not yet begun researching it. But I can’t bring myself to hold off on announcing it until I’ve worked out the finer details. (Like, you know, a title1.)

So what am I really saying? That I’ll be writing another historical London faerie fantasy. (That I am indeed a sucker for punishment.) That the book will be set in the later Victorian period, and will concern any or all of the following: the London Underground, Queen Victoria, spiritualism, imperialism, Charles Dickens, Spring-Heeled Jack, class conflict, the Industrial Revolution, and Christina Rossetti’s poem “The Goblin Market” — plus assorted other things I don’t even know about yet.

Stay tuned to this space for the further adventures of Good God I Really Have Gone Crazy.

1 – Courtesy of certain friends, the tongue-in-cheek working title is Karl Marx and the Faerie Proletariat.

0 Responses to “Once upon a time! . . . later.”

  1. d_aulnoy

    Ahahahaha! YES! *My* period!

    Ahem. Sorry – this might be a hold-over from the job-market related feeling that the Early Modern people get all the good stuff (picture me, a la the Brady Bunch, saying “Early Modernists, Early Modernists, Early Modernists!”, possibly with an image of Bess combing her luxurious locks ….) All that aside ….

    This sounds fantastic – congratulations! I can’t wait to hear more.

    • Marie Brennan

      Then be warned that I will probably hit you up for research recommendations, of non-fiction and fiction both. I’m not actually as familiar with the Victorian period as I am the Elizabethan.

      • d_aulnoy

        I’ll be looking forward to them!

        There aren’t *too* many historically accurate, beautifully written pieces set in Victorian London, more’s the pity (and more the reason for me to look forward to yours!), but two which spring to mind – both, curiously, multiple-chronologies – are, of course, _Possession_ and _Mortal Love_. Just tossing them out there because I can never resist the chance to discuss ’em. πŸ™‚

        • Marie Brennan

          I’ve read Mortal Love but not Possession. But I’m also interested in literature of the period, not just set in it.

          I’ll put up some posts with more specifics of what I’m after in the next week or two, probably.

  2. nightwolfwriter

    I love the legend of Spring-Heel Jack. I remember reading about him for the first time in an old Twilight Zone comic back in the 60s (yes, I am old, stop laughing).

    I’m looking forward to seeing what you do with this.

    If you need any help researching stuff, let me know. (Might as well put this darn degree in History to use one of these days.)

    • Marie Brennan

      I’ll probably be posting a series of research-related questions in the upcoming weeks, actually — any help them would be appreciated.

  3. brigidsblest

    Yes yes yes yes YES!

    *waves her hands in the air like she does, indeed, care*

  4. snickelish

    Ooh! Yay!.

    I’m sure I’ll be even more excited once I’ve read MNC, though. πŸ™‚

    • Marie Brennan

      Well, I do hope so. πŸ™‚ The books are designed to stand alone, but of course there will be overlap in the faerie characters, and in the city itself, so reading one should make reading another more rich.

  5. tltrent

    It is to squee. V. much looking forward to both books.

  6. wldhrsjen3

    Hi! *waves, then blushes for being so bold*

    I’ve seen you on Nin90 and fangs_fur_fey, so I popped in for a quick peek at your LJ. I just have to tell you how much I enjoy your posts, and your new story idea sounds fantastic! As an avid history and fantasy fan, I am grinning with anticipated delight. πŸ˜€

    I hope you don’t mind if I friend you, and I wish you luck with the craziness of research and a new story! πŸ™‚

  7. danielmc

    oh Victorian era Fae? Like Steampunk-ish fae?

    that will never be interesting
    /end sarcasm


    • Marie Brennan

      This is threatening to be a “kitchen sink and then some” novel. So while not precisely steampunk in its sensibility, it will indeed feature the wondrous invention of steam technology.

  8. d_c_m


      • d_c_m

        Hmmmm…. I wonder if digging up the English Channel to create the Chunnel bothered any water fae…

        *ducks any and all flying objects that may come from the swan :)*

        • Marie Brennan

          What, you think I hadn’t wondered that already?

          Fortunately for what remains of my sanity, I’m almost entirely concerned with what was going on in London, as that’s where the stories are focused. Elsewhere is interesting, but not critical.

          • d_c_m

            Whew! Now I need not fear flying objects!!!

            And hey, if you want to branch out the Chunnel is always there. πŸ˜‰

  9. ninja_turbo


    I would cackle with glee if the working title actually made it to print. πŸ˜›

  10. ckd

    I like the blurb, indeed.

    If you want reading recs for Underground history, I have a stack o’ books covering various aspects of it that I can probably boil down a bit if I know what sort of details you’re looking for.

    You might even want to push the timing back to the Thames Tunnel (opened to the public in 1843, though construction began in 1825). Perhaps the fatal flooding incident of 1828 wasn’t an accident, and Isambard Brunel’s narrow escape was, shall we say, intended as a message?

    • Marie Brennan

      I may try to make some use of that event, but as the Thames Tunnel runs from Rotherhithe to Wapping, it doesn’t concern me as much as the Underground does: the Onyx Hall, the faerie palace beneath London, only exists within the boundaries of the city wall. So while fae might well muck around with human projects of that sort elsewhere, they aren’t in a crisis until someone tries to dig through their home.

      • ckd

        Hmm. What’s now the London Underground network didn’t enter the old walled London until the Metropolitan District Railway (now the District Line) was extended from Blackfriars (just outside the wall if I can believe the Google Earth overlays I found) to Mansion House.

        Blackfriars opened in May 1870 and Mansion House in July 1871, so that brackets the construction time for that segment. Aldgate-Tower Hill opened in September 1882, as what’s now the Circle Line was being put together. All of this was done with the old “cut and cover” technique, as the first[1] true “tube” deep level construction wasn’t until the City & South London Railway which opened in 1890. (And which, as the name implies, entered the City; originally at King William Street, but later at what is now Bank.)

        It may be interesting to know that the C&SLR was formally opened in November 1890 by the Prince of Wales, later Edward VII, a month before the public was let in. Also, in early operation the trains didn’t always make it all the way up the hill into King William Street and had to roll down backwards to try again….

        Later you also get the Waterloo & City line (to Bank) and the Central London Railway (today’s Central Line) and its stops at St. Paul’s and, surprise surprise, Bank.

        [1] Unless you count the Tower Subway, which is now basically a big conduit.

        • Marie Brennan

          Are you positive Blackfriars was outside the wall? I’ve never been sure how far away from the Fleet the wall ran, but I assumed that with the station being on the east bank, it had probably crossed that boundary. Of course, I could be wrong.

          (I’m also attempting to find out whether Moorgate Station lay inside or outside the line of the wall; it must have been close. And I don’t know yet whether the line to that station would have clipped anything.)

          Certainly, if all else fails, I can just use the Mansion House extension. It isn’t that much later than Blackfriars, anyway.

          • tybalt_quin

            :butts in:

            I think that modern Moorgate Station is just inside the City wall but can check for you on my way home if that helps.

          • Marie Brennan

            Actually, the folks at the Museum of London have just come through fabulously. One of the queries I sent to them yesterday has already been forwarded along to a useful party; the other has been answered. So: Moorgate’s outside; Blackfriars is outside the Roman wall, but within the medieval wall where it got extended in later years.

            I love helpful people. (You guys included.)

          • ckd

            Aha! Yeah, the Google Earth overlay I was using was of the Londinium wall, so Blackfriars showed as outside.

          • Marie Brennan

            Then the confusion is resolved.

            I love the Internets, where I can get answers to these questions in less than forty-eight hours. ^_^

    • Marie Brennan

      Oh, and I may take you up on Underground research help.

  11. sapphohestia

    Awesome news, all around!

    You’re a crazy girl though.

    Will this require another site visit to London?


  12. kendokamel

    Wheeeee! Sounds quite exciting! πŸ˜€

  13. spartezda

    Faerie Proletariat would be a really good name for a rock band.

    Seriously, though, it sounds fascinating. Hope you have fun with it!

  14. tezmilleroz

    Karl Marx and the Faerie Proletariat
    I love that title – many thanks to the certain friends who thought of it πŸ™‚

    Have a lovely day! πŸ™‚

  15. squishymeister

    You are absolutely nuts. Like crazy nuts!

    But yay for an approval and an exciting idea!

    My condolences to your brain and to Kyle πŸ˜›

  16. sora_blue

    If you’re crazy, then so I am, because I want to read this book.

    Seriously, it sounds fantastic. Especially that line about the gas-lit streets of Victorian London–can this be linked a good-old Jack the Ripper story?

    • Marie Brennan

      Well, wanting to read it is a lot less crazy than writing it will be. <g>

      It’ll probably be too early for Jack the Ripper — I doubt later than 1870, and he was 1888. But I did think about it.

      • sora_blue

        Well, it sounds like something interesting to write, too. It’s the research involved that would make me hesitate.

        Re The Ripper: You’ve caught me, I’m awful with dates. All I knew was that it was sometime before 1900.

        • Marie Brennan

          Whereas I appear to lack the “sensible hesitation” gene. <g>

          I had to look up the dates, too — I was sticking him in the 1860s instead of the 1880s.

          • sora_blue

            Unfortunately the “sensible hesitation” only applies to research. Changing things midw-way through a redraft is a habit I’m still struggling to break.

  17. tybalt_quin

    Sounds interesting! I look forward to reading it.

    • Marie Brennan


      Based on your comment above, I’m guessing you’re a Londoner yourself?

      • tybalt_quin

        Yup, ‘fraid so!

        • Marie Brennan


          . . . okay, not that people in London weren’t going to be reading these books before — but now I’m nervous about Getting It Right. <g>

          • tybalt_quin

            Ah! Don’t be nervous – the worst a Londoner will do about a wrong bit is tut.

          • Marie Brennan

            Saved by British manners! <g>

          • Marie Brennan

            Brief question, if you don’t mind my asking. I’m looking into the possibility of another research trip, and trying to decide on where to stay. Since I’m probably going the youth hostel route, my two best bets look like the one I stayed in last time, by St. Paul’s, and one up by the SE corner of Regent’s Park. Any particular thoughts on the latter area? I like the St. Paul’s hostel fine, but ran into serious trouble getting food in the evenings, since of course everything in the City closes down at about 6 p.m. If that’s likely to be an issue at the other place too, though, I’ll probably opt for the better placement of St. Paul’s.

          • tybalt_quin

            Do you have an address for the one near Regent’s Park? The reason I ask is that if it’s the one near Great Portland Street, then there are more restaurants etc nearby if you wanted to get food (and if you really run into problems, you’re close enough to Euston Station, which has a food court).

            If the hostel is closer to Marylebone, then I think you’re likely to have a similar problem to St Paul’s. There are restaurants in Marylebone, but I don’t know that area well enough to say whether they’re still likely to be open in the evenings.

            With regard to St Paul’s if you head towards Fleet Street and The Strand, there are more restaurants along there that are open in the evenings (with varying range of prices).

          • Marie Brennan

            It’s about a quarter-mile south of the Great Portland station, on Bolsover Street.

            I think I’m leaning toward St. Paul’s, just because of placement. I know there’s more food if I head west; the problem I ran into last time was, I was always too tired and footsore to drag my sorry self very far in the evenings. (Or hypothermic, in that one case.) But I’ll probably be spending my days in different kinds of places this time, so it’s more likely that I’ll get food before heading back to the hostel anyway.

          • tybalt_quin

            Bolsover Street’s not a bad location – I know for a fact that there are restaurants down Great Portland Street and if you follow it down you come to Oxford Street which always has something open.

            The only disadvantage with Bolsover Street is that if you’re researching locations in and around the actual City, you could find transportation there difficult owing to the Tube works (London Underground shut down certain lines on different weekends for the catch up works and it can be a right pain in the BTM).

            Sorry I haven’t been much help.

          • Marie Brennan

            No, you are helpful — I wasn’t aware of the construction issues. And since I was already leery of having to take the Tube to get places efficiently, I think I’ll just go for St. Paul’s instead. (The Bolsover hostel isn’t that far afield, but it looks like a twenty minute walk or more to Charing Cross, let alone Westminster or the City, which is where I’ll probably be spending a good deal of my time.)


  18. sugarspidersilk

    I’m adding you in hoping that you will let me know when this is available for purchase & consumption. πŸ™‚ Very exciting…

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