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The Exploits And Insights Of Ottokar Jankovac
A collection of short stories and stories which were supposed to be short when they started whose number is gradually increasing through the ceaseless labour of I Blame Communism.

They take place in the 1850s and 60s in a sort of central European Fantasy Kitchen Sink. The events and personalities of the age are the ones we're used to, but strange and supernatural things and people abound. They aren't concealed by The Masquerade, but educated city people simply tend not to ecounter many of them, dismiss what others do as peasant superstition, and dismiss what they do as their minds playing tricks on them.

One educated city person formerly in this condition is Ottokar Jankovac, 20-something student at the university of Vienna (though a native of Moravia in the modern Czech Republic), protagonist, and mostly-reliable narrator. His exploits and insights are recounted episodically in his whimsical, slightly Cloud Cuckoo Lander-ish style. He's fond of extended metaphor and involved descriptions of his surroundings. Suspiciously, so is I Blame Communism.

He is official Chronicaler to the Christian von Hoyerswerda Culinary Death Brigade, an association providing shared accommodation, meals, and so on to its members with maximum raucusness, which is under this harmlessly irresponsible exterior also a circulation list for banned books and pamphlets. Other stories record his unwilling and recently de-classified entanglement with the Imperial Bureau for the Obscure and Unnatural, which began when he met his love interest, Elke Vanderschmidt, and ended up invited to the house of some family friends of hers, the Preslovs, who happened to be werewolves.

Still more stories fit neither category. These are generally re-assembled from fragments written on the back of the author's school-jotters when he was bored, and could be inspired by just anything.

Before long, a few should be available on the internet, once they're nicely polished up.

One day, this series shall provice example of:

  • Adventurer Archaeologist: Elke's father, Ambrosius Vanderschmidt, is implied to be the 1850s version.
  • Anachronism Stew: Averted as best the author can, but he does slip. Railway construction in this Austrian Empire has been rather more extensive, and since an encounter on a train is an important part of the continuity, this isn't going to be corrected.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Our protagonist, to a degree.
  • In Which a Trope Is Described: For that tasty mid-1800s flavour, every exploit and insight is so titled.
  • Media Watchdogs: Ottokar's nemesis.
  • Screw You, Elves!: The Countess Preslov thinks that the country has gone to the dogs (apes?) since people lost their respect for their supernatural betters. Her son doesn't.
  • Translation Convention: Officially, it's all Czech and a bit of German.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Lampshaded by Ottokar himself on occasion. "The events of this tale are, in a way, under my control, and I decree that I made that comment as a sharp piece of ironic wit. And you, dear reader, are going to believe it."
  • We Are Everywhere: The Imperial Bureau for the Obscure and Unnatural know where you live. They also know where you keep your banned books, and where you go when you want privacy. They have people everywhere, you know.
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