a science fiction (or fantasy) novel
by Robert Wilfred Franson
KDP Print quality paperback
You haven't read another novel like this one.
Before the Wright Brothers opened the era of mechanical, powered flight in 1903, the daytime skies above the Earth were populous and busy. In the Middle Air were hidden the vast sunny cloudland of the Walking-Deck and smaller cloud-isles like Athenaeum and Swan, inhabited by humans since the fall of Troy and by aircats longer than that. In the Lower Air was the gossamer swirl of Springfolden, inhabited for long millennia by the more-or-less intelligent etherine vortices whom men called djinn.
Yet in the Nineteenth Century, volcanic turbulence disintegrated Springfolden and later burnt the Walking-Deck. In 1904, the long-lived Luftmenschen — both humans and aircats — were coming to terms with the wreckage of their comfortable way of life; as the djinn in their own way were as well.
Hendrik Rheinallt, a veteran in his youth of the New Model Army in the English Civil War, was a leader in redefining and redirecting the Luftmensch philosophy of life and action. His aircat friend Arahant and other colleagues and allies were one by one regaining optimism and energy — but so were the hostile djinn.
Strange new lands and spaces beckoned — new kinds of lands and spaces. Then the Sphinx (no, not that one) awakened her dreams from caged sleep, and began re-forming loyalties.
A deep & fanciful secret history;
a playfully philosophical adventure;
a soaring flight of the imagination —
with exotic humans, aircats, & djinn,
on a stage of romance as vast as the sky,
and beyond — in strange directions.
Sphinx Daybreak is an Overflight novel: science fiction (or fantasy, if you prefer).
The print version is a 6"x9" quality paperback; 604 pages. ISBN: 978-1720240068
Cover painting: "A Coign of Vantage" by Lawrence Alma-Tadema, 1895.
Please see this review at Troynovant —
Dean M. Sandin on Sphinx Daybreak.
On "willing suspension of disbelief":
During the first year that Mr. Wordsworth and I were neighbours, our conversations turned frequently on the two cardinal points of poetry, the power of exciting the sympathy of the reader by a faithful adherence to the truth of nature, and the power of giving the interest of novelty by the modifying colours of imagination. ...
In this idea originated the plan of the 'Lyrical Ballads'; in which it was agreed, that my endeavours should be directed to persons and characters supernatural, or at least romantic, yet so as to transfer from our inward nature a human interest and a semblance of truth sufficient to procure for these shadows of imagination that willing suspension of disbelief for the moment, which constitutes poetic faith.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Biographia Literaria, Chapter XIV, 1817
Sphinx Daybreak's Amazon book pages by country
Part I. Riddles of Height and Sunshine
- The Swan-Cloud’s Afternoon
- Omens of Fire and Fortune
- The New Century Party
- Knowledge of Causes
- Athenaeum Bedecked with Sirens
- The Lofting Agency
- A Map of the Dark
- London Air & Tube
- An Ethereal Photograph
- Why Choose Misrule?
- In the Presence of the Sultana
- The Sultana's Truce
- Campaigners in the Lower Air
- Contraband Merriment
- Flirting with Secrets
- The Keep-Out Pillar
- The Sun Is the Source of Heat
- Solar Artillery
- Presenting the Deep Lens
- The Djinn Gate
- Aboard *Flying Dutchman*
- The Lady Thinks of Turning
- Eventide Dream-Pageants
- At the Daybreak Meridian
- Tapestries of Alinement
- The Castle Armed by Dawn
Part II. Riddles of Nothing and the Edge
- Freaks and Forgeries
- Everybody Talking about Heaven
- To Breathers Outfall
- Pharaoh’s Tent
- Half-Meadow House: Up-Front
- Half-Meadow House: Out-Back
- A Sphinx of Two Species
- Thoughts out of Eden
- Whose Dreams We Spin
- If Gold Rust, What Shall Iron Do?
- The Conventional Future
- The General Speaks for Peace
- The Free Skies Trapped
- Telegraphing the Climax
- he Daybreak Symposium
- Crystal Fruits of Concord
- A Dawn-to-Dusk Plunge
- Overnight Crossing
- Judging on the Meadow
- The Mirror of the Nile
- Breathless Loyalty
- The Veil and the Vault
- The Balance of the Day
- The Hintersolar Gate
- Overhang the Gulf of Dark
If solitude hath ever led thy steps
To the shore of the immeasurable sea,
And thou hast lingered there
Until the sun’s broad orb
Seemed resting on the fiery line of ocean,
Thou must have marked the braided webs of gold
That without motion hang
Over the sinking sphere;
Thou must have marked the billowy mountain clouds,
Edged with intolerable radiancy,
Towering like rocks of jet
Above the burning deep;
And yet there is a moment,
When the sun’s highest point
Peers like a star o’er ocean’s western edge,
When those far clouds of feathery purple gleam
Like fairy lands girt by some heavenly sea;
Then hast thy rapt imagination soared
Where in the midst of all existing things
The temple of the mightiest Daemon stands.
Yet not the golden islands
That gleam amid yon flood of purple light,
Nor the feathery curtains
That canopy the sun’s resplendent couch,
Nor the burnished ocean waves
Paving that gorgeous dome,
So fair, so wonderful a sight
As the eternal temple could afford.
The elements of all that human thought
Can frame of lovely or sublime did join
To rear the fabric of the fane, nor aught
Of earth may image forth its majesty.
Yet likest evening’s vault that faëry hall;
As heaven low resting on the wave it spread
Its floors of flashing light,
Its vast and azure dome;
And on the verge of that obscure abyss,
Where Crystal Battlements o’erhang the gulf
Of the dark world, ten thousand spheres diffuse
Their lustre through its adamantine gates.
Percy Bysshe Shelley
"The Daemon of the World", 1815