Necrolotum review

The title of Jan Maszczyszyn’s book indispensably reminds (or at least me) of the famous blasphemous Necronomicon by the mad Arab, Abdul Alhazred, described by a famous loner from Providence. And this association is justified not only by the name – it is in the Necrolotum that the reader has the opportunity to learn about the probable secrets of the Great Ancient Ones ‘ locomotion as well as the opportunities and threats to earthly life and civilization from Jupiter.

The first terrestrial astronauts

One of the pioneers of the Necrolotum journey, and at the same time the main character and narrator, is Jack de Waay, a gentleman from alternative Victorian Australia. This alternative is that the earth’s population is larger in the early twentieth century than in our world; so large that there are timid voices about overpopulation. Mr. de Waay himself is an expert in the field of cavitation, i.e. the controlled transformation of rock into magma. The beginning of his adventures is a proposal to explore the poorly explored underwater depths with the eccentric genius Oceanus Molière (the name obliges), Lord Duncan, adventurer, and other scientists and not only to gain fame and wealth – unfortunately at the cost of breaking the engagement with his beloved Abelia. Only after setting off, the true purpose of the trip is revealed – the title Necrolotum.

Interplanetary communication system and the predominance of aquatic life over land life

This strange creation is a system of connections connecting the oceans and seas of all planets and satellites in the solar system – a solution very interesting for me. Through this network, the heroes enter the waters of Ganymede, and later also to Triton and other worlds. At this point, a fairly obvious question arises: how to solve the problem of the limited time spent underwater by a terrestrial organism. Professor Molière had a simple (for him) advice – to turn it into water through appropriate hormones, exercises, enabling retroevolution– return to the previous form in the evolution tree. Of course, there they find creatures quite different from the kind-hearted creatures we know. Some of them are intelligent and conscious beings, though not necessarily friendly, at least at first. By the way, Jack, together with the reader, faces interesting dilemmas – what would life be like if not for getting out of the water millions of years ago? Is humanity ready for contacts with alien races, and if not, can the Necrolotum and extraterrestrial life be kept secret from the increasingly overpopulated terrestrial world?

How much science in science fiction ?

What I personally liked about Necrolotum is the author’s reaching for numerous scientific disciplines and using them to create an engaging vision of the world and corresponding phenomena, inventions and branches of science. There are geological and hydrological issues; the author also refers to the Hindu Ayurveda and biological issues. In my opinion, he also quite credibly presented the look of the then educated representative of one of the upper classes on the desired social order. The characters also have different views on the aforementioned issues, which of course leads to conflicts that are the axis of the plot in my opinion.

So the answer to the question in the subheading is quite a lot, especially in the endnotes. I found some inaccuracies, some of which could be put down to fiction , but the erroneous references to mythology hurt me slightly. If you are interested, I refer you to the book.

Not only the content, but also the form

Jan Maszczyszyn wrote this novel in a language stylized as the Polish equivalent of the 19th and 20th century English of the upper class – for obvious reasons it is justified. And although I’m not a linguistic expert, I think he did it well. There was no dissonance between the dialogue and the narrative style and the image of a Victorian, well-born engineer. In terms of editing, I did not notice any shortcomings either. The design of the cover depicting a submarine and gears against the background of an old map also harmonizes with the language. The whole thing reflects the steampunk atmosphere of the Necrolotum world.


I believe that Necrolotum is one of the best fantasy books I have read recently. The plot, although not the most fast-paced, is at times suspenseful, allowing for moments of reflection and inspiring (at least me) to get acquainted, even briefly, with areas that have been alien so far. In short – I recommend reading with some free time. Reading on the tram or during a break at work or between classes takes away its charm.

by Anna Domitrz
on 01.07.2020

Student of Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, a future scientist. She is passionate about the latest scientific discoveries and is drawn to quantum physics. She loves to read and her literary heart was stolen by Pilipiuk and Dukaj. He will not disdain Sanderson and Tolkien either. Introvert who prefers peace at home. She liked beer because of her boyfriend, especially Gose and Russian Imperial Stouts.