Enigmatic Pilot by Kris Saknussemm
A Tall Tale Too True

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Synopsis

Enigmatic Pilot is Kris Saknussemm’s outrageously brilliant yet profoundly moving exploration and excavation of the American dream—and nightmare.
 
In 1844, in a still-young America, the first intimations of civil war are stirring throughout the land. In Zanesville, Ohio, the Sitturd family—Hephaestus, a clubfooted inventor; his wife, Rapture, a Creole from the Sea Islands; and their prodigiously gifted six-year-old son, Lloyd, whose libido is as precocious as his intellect—are forced to flee the only home they have ever known for an uncertain future in Texas, whence Hephaestus’s half-brother, Micah, has sent them a mysterious invitation, promising riches and wonders too amazing to be entrusted to paper.

Thus begins one of the most incredible American journeys since Huck Finn and Jim first pushed their raft into the Mississippi. Along the way, Lloyd will learn the intricacies of poker and murder, solve the problem of manned flight, find—and lose—true love, and become swept up in an ancient struggle between two secret societies whose arcane dispute has shaped the world’s past and threatens to reshape its future. Each side wants to use Lloyd against the other, but Lloyd has his own ideas—and access to an occult technology as powerful as his imagination.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
 

About Kris Saknussemm

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Kris Saknussemm's books include the poetry collection In the Name of the Father, the novels Enigmatic Pilot, Zanesville, and Private Midnight, and a portfolio book of his paintings titled The Colors of Compulsion.
 
Published March 22, 2011 by Del Rey. 370 pages
Genres: History, Humor & Entertainment, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Enigmatic Pilot

Kirkus Reviews

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Along the way Lloyd meets Henri St. Ives, a gambler with a fantastical mechanical hand, Professor Mulrooney, married to identical twins who serve as assistants in his traveling medicine show, Urim and Thurimmun, microcephalics deposited in Illinois by a tornado, an underground oracle, and possibl...

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Publishers Weekly

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When Lloyd and his parents head west in search of better prospects, the boy encounters numerous wonders: a riverboat gambler with a deadly mechanical hand, a 13-year-old escaped slave who becomes Lloyd's lover, automatons masquerading as people.

Feb 14 2011 | Read Full Review of Enigmatic Pilot: A Tall Tale ...

BC Books

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Zanesville opened with Lloyd's birth in 1838 and described him as “one of the most neglected geniuses in history.” As a child, Lloyd is whisked up into a tornado in Dustdevil, Tex., only to be returned to the exact spot unharmed some 20 minutes later.

Apr 17 2011 | Read Full Review of Enigmatic Pilot: A Tall Tale ...

BC Books

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While it certainly is not imperative to read Zanesville first, readers unaware of the background of that book or the series as a whole may miss the point of much of the book.

Apr 17 2011 | Read Full Review of Enigmatic Pilot: A Tall Tale ...

BC Books

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Enigmatic Pilot is the new installment in that series but while Saknussemm's writing remains strong, the book suffers not only from being an installment in a series but from the fact that those unfamiliar with Zanesville may not realize it is part of a series.

Apr 17 2011 | Read Full Review of Enigmatic Pilot: A Tall Tale ...

City Book Review

“There is a view that all the great figures of inspiration—Muhammad, Jesus, Socrates, Moses—do not represent individual historical figures but are code names for composite characters uniting the thoughts and visions of many people.” The sometimes bewildering changes in place and plotl need patie...

Apr 13 2012 | Read Full Review of Enigmatic Pilot: A Tall Tale ...

Seattle PI

Enigmatic Pilot is the new installment in that series but while Saknussemm's writing remains strong, the book suffers not only from being an installment in a series but from the fact that those unfamiliar with Zanesville may not realize it is part of a series.

Apr 26 2011 | Read Full Review of Enigmatic Pilot: A Tall Tale ...

io9

Do authors and publishers have an obligation to make it clear to readers up front that a newly published book is actually one of the middle books in an ongoing series?

Apr 19 2011 | Read Full Review of Enigmatic Pilot: A Tall Tale ...

Strange Horizons

36) This "scary side" is well exploited by Saknussemm, who often makes it unclear whether Loyd will succumb to his darker instincts and whether he will use his formidable genius for "good" or for "evil" (the steampunk-ish retro-futurism inherent in his vision of the Old West makes it a setting t...

Aug 26 2011 | Read Full Review of Enigmatic Pilot: A Tall Tale ...

Reader Rating for Enigmatic Pilot
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