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Tapper Watson and the Quest for the Nemo Machine - Claire Fayers

Updated: Sep 15, 2023

Tapper Watson is just an ordinary Erisean boy who loves adventure stories. But when one of his sixty-seven cousins sends him away on a smugglers’ submarine through the River Lethe to other worlds, he just wants to go home again.
On an unscheduled visit to Earth he meets Fern Shakespeare and a talking plant called Morse, and their adventures begin. But chased through worlds by a pair of trigger-happy lobster mobsters in search of the mysterious Nemo Machine, Tapper begins to realise that he might not be so ordinary after all…

Thrilled to be part of the blogtour for this fab sci-fi adventure, and to host this brilliant guest post/playlist from author Claire Fayers, to go alongside the action in the book:

A Tapper Watson Playlist

I don’t usually play music while I’m writing. Either I find it too distracting or after a few minutes I stop hearing it so there’s not point. Tapper Watson was an exception. I used a lot of music to set the mood for various parts. Here are my musical highlights.

Guardians of the Galaxy Soundtrack: The Kylin Escape Tyler Bates

‘Argo.’ Scylla’s voice came over the radio. ‘Last chance to surrender. You can’t escape.’

‘Unfortunately, she’s right,’ Belladonna said, her scales paling to sky-blue as she spoke. ‘We’re too far from the rivergate. We won’t make it.’

‘Yes, we will,’ Argo said. ‘Everyone, strap yourselves in.’

I used Guardians of the Galaxy for some of my action scenes, especially the daring escapes in chapters 3, 10, 11, and 20. (Yes, there are rather a lot of daring escapes.)

Read or Die Theme, Taki Iwasaki

The guard hadn’t moved at all. He stood in the middle of the corridor, between a sign shaped like a submarine and a large notice that read Please Use The Litter Bins. His left hand was curled near his belt as if he was reaching for his radio.

Fern crept up behind him and prodded him in the back. He looked like he was made of stone or clay, but it felt like she’d prodded a person.

Read or Die is an anime in which people have paper-based superpowers and the British Library has its own military division. It’s long been a personal favourite, and the cheesy theme music conjures up images of 1960s spy adventures. Perfect for when my characters are sneaking about in chapters 9 and 10.

Poulenc Novelette 2 for piano

Scylla hated it when this happened. People were always trying to trick their way out of being turned into statues and every time it made her want to hit something.

One of my hobbies is playing the piano, so I had to include some piano music. This fast and quirky piece with its odd rhythms and harmonies reminds me of Scylla and Charybdis, the lobster mobsters. Listen to it whilst reading chapters 12 and 21.

Saint Saens, Carnival of the Animals: The Aquarium

The river between worlds swarmed with a million colours and strange shapes. A three-headed crocodile appeared and snapped its jaws before dispersing back into darkness. Next, a tree appeared, sprouting silver branches with rainbows instead of leaves. The rainbows shrivelled and fell, each one spinning away until the tree itself disintegrated into a shower of coloured lights, which scattered into constellations and vanished.

This pretty, floaty piece of music is a perfect accompaniment to the billions of echolings drifting and changing shape in the River Lethe. You’ll meet them right at the start of the book.

The Planets, Gustav Holst

‘They came from the river Acheron: octopods with tentacles of darkness and eyes of flame. They created Zymandia and they liked it so much they made another thousand worlds exactly the same. But then the Global Tragedy happened.’

‘The Global Tragedy?’ Dad asked.

‘The Great Loss of Brains and Limbs.’

Holst’s famous suite of music takes us through all the planets in our solar system – from Mars to Neptune. He misses out Earth so there are only seven of them. Tapper Watson has a thousand and one worlds linked by the space river, Lethe. There are frequent arguments about which world came first. We are convinced it was Earth; the octopods are equally convinced it was Zymandia and something went horribly wrong to all the other worlds.

Download the full playlist here:

Check out other stops on the blogtour for more fab content and information about the book, or order your own copy from publisher Firefly Press via their website at:

Thanks to Graham and Firefly for the copy of the book to review.

Review by Rich Simpson (@richreadalot) September 2023

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