Captains Stupendous


The complete title is:
Captains Stupendous or: The Fantastical Family Faraway

There is the word FINIS at the end of the book.


This novel began life as a ‘Corto Maltese’ novella entitled ‘The Coandă Effect’, published by Ex Occidente in Romania a few years ago. I rewrote it so that the main character is now Scipio Faraway. Then I wrote two novellas as sequels featuring Scipio’s brothers, Distanto in ‘The Gargantuan Legion’ and Neary in ‘The Apedog Incident’.

All three novellas together constitute the novel. Needless to say the plotting was quite tricky, but I think I managed to tie all the strands of all the plots together neatly at the end… Although this novel has already been cited as an example of the ‘steampunk’ subgenre, it isn’t really that. I prefer to think of it as something else. ‘Steamprog‘ perhaps…?

Rhys Hughes 22.08.2014

Book Description

Too much travel can flatten the mind…
A glorious steampunk adventure on land, sea and air.

“So you want to know about the Faraway Brothers, do you? Born somewhere in Gascony, they were, in the 1880s, all three of them birthed at the same time from the same womb of the same mother. Grew up in the same household, they did too, eating the same food, reading the same books, counting the legs on the same spider because the family couldn’t afford a real clock; but later on they went their separate ways. Scipio took to the sea, to ships, islands and women; Distanto took to the air, to balloons, islands and women; Neary, unluckiest of the triplets, remained on land, taking only to locomotives and stations and chastity. Many adventures they all had and often their paths crossed and sometimes they clashed, and I happen to know a song about it that goes something like this… Hey, where are you going? Come back!” – The Ballad of the Fantastical Faraways

In praise of Hughes:

“Rhys Hughes seems almost the sum of our planet’s literature… As well as being drunk on language and wild imagery, he is also sober on the essentials of thought. He has something of Mervyn Peake’s glorious invention, something of John Cowper Powys’s contemplative, almost disdainful existentialism, a sensuality, a relish, an addiction to the delicious. He’s as tricky as his own characters… He toys with convention. He makes the metaphysical political, the personal incredible and the comic hints at subtle pain. Few living fictioneers approach this chef’s sardonic confections, certainly not in English.” — MICHAEL MOORCOCK

“Quirky and fantastic and sometimes quite twisted, Rhys Hughes is a treat for those in the mood for something utterly different.” — ELLEN DATLOW

“Rhys Hughes is an accomplished player with words, plots, effects, relationships, sensibilities; you name it, Hughes tries to stand it on its head. More often than seems attributable to mere chance, he succeeds.” — ED BRYANT, LOCUS

“Dazzling prose. Put your feet up and dip in. Life will never seem quite the same again.” — THE THIRD ALTERNATIVE

“I wore throughout the undisplaceable, unsequelchable rictus of a grin of both delight and amazement.” — MICHAEL BISHOP


Contents:Captains Stupendous

  • The Coandă Effect
    • The Iceberg
    • The Airshow
    • The Bicycle
    • The Sailor On Land
    • The Collector
    • The Modern Pirate
    • The Oasis
    • Into The Atlantic
    • Meanwhile In Romania
    • Blood and Fog
    • The Iron Coffin
    • The Converter
    • The Coloured Glass
    • The Bandit Queen
    • The Morning After
    • The Demonstration
    • The Letter
    • The Arrival
    • The Ending
  • The Gargantuan Legion
    • The Lance
    • The Tavern
    • Shipping Out
    • Distance Is No Object
    • Bicycle Interlude
    • The European Desert
    • The Syndicate
    • The Great Work
    • The Stealth Empire
    • Flock of Assassins
    • Higher Noon
    • Gathering Storm
    • The Point
    • Suited To The Task
    • Conflicting Rascals
    • The Legion of Legions
    • The Third Prong
    • Quaint Little PIllage
    • Shangri-la Farce
  • The Apedog Incident
    • The Bone Banana
    • The Fungus
    • The Clean Balloon
    • The Midget
    • The Mongorgon
    • The Steam Elephant
    • Locomotive Breath
    • Brigands!
    • Various Other Doings
    • A Transindianocean Tunnel, Hurrah!
    • Next Stop: The Future
    • Humanzeeville
    • The Finnish But No The End
    • The Promised Digression
    • The Xylophone
    • Coincidence
    • Pegod at Last
    • The Final Chapter
    • The Book Group

Dedicated to:

  • Safaa Dib

The cover Artwork

Details Paperback

  • 315pp. B-format paperback novel
  • ISBN: 978-1-84583-886-7
  • Published 31 July 2014
  • by Telos Publishing LTD

Rhys Hughes and Captains Stupendous

Just seen the possible/probable cover for my forthcoming novel CAPTAINS STUPENDOUS and it’s tremendous! Like a 1920s travel poster, which actually is totally appropriate… Very pleased. (08.07.2014)

External links

Telos Publishing


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