Tag Archives: Steampunk

Book Review of “Steampunk Trilogy”

“Steampunk Trilogy” was published in 2014 and was written by Paul Di Filippo (http://paul-di-filippo.com). It is actually a collection of three stories – “Victoria”, “Hottentots” and “Walt and Emily”. Mr. Di Filippo has published other works. This eBook is available from Amazon.

I obtained this publication for free through https://www.netgalley.com for review.

Victoria – Set in 1838 London. the main character Cosmo Copperthwait combines a newt with cells from humans and grows what looks like a fully formed woman. As it turns out, the creature he has created looks very much like the young Queen Victoria. When Queen Victoria disappears, the newt is substituted for her until the missing Queen can be found. Cosmo is involved in a search for the missing Queen.

Hottentots – The main character is Louis Agassiz who is a Swiss scientist. I can’t say more than that as I struggled to finish this portion of the novel.

Walt and Emily – This is set in 1860’s with Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman as the main characters. Emily’s brother is in pursuit of the afterlife and has brought a collection of characters to his home to help him get there. Emily is a disbeliever, but accompanies them just to keep them honest. She is also infatuated with Walt Whitman.

First, none of these seem to be “Steampunk” to my mind. Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steampunk) defines Steampunk as “a sub-genre of science fiction that typically features steam-powered machinery,[1] especially in a setting inspired by industrialized Western civilization during the 19th century. Steampunk works are often set in an alternative history of the 19th century’s British Victorian era or American “Wild West”, in a post-apocalyptic future during which steam power has regained mainstream use, or in a fantasy world that similarly employs steam power. Steampunk perhaps most recognisably features anachronistic technologies or retro-futuristic inventions as people in the 19th century might have envisioned them, and is likewise rooted in the era’s perspective on fashion, culture, architectural style, and art. Such technology may include fictional machines like those found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne, or the modern authors Philip Pullman, Scott Westerfeld, Stephen Hunt and China Miéville. Other examples of steampunk contain alternative history-style presentations of such technology as lighter-than-air airships, analog computers, or such digital mechanical computers as Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine”. Needless to say I found none of these attributes present in any of the tree books, so I am at a loss as to why it is labeled as “Steampunk”.

In the first two stores, dialog was written to include character’s accents. This made them very hard to read.

I thought that “Victoria” was a little odd, but tolerable, though I did not find the story very engaging.

“Hottentot” was incomprehensible. I forced myself to finish it and I am not sure what the point of the story was. There was a side of the main character that was bigoted against blacks. Perhaps it was meant as a satire.

“Walt and Emily” was the best of the three, though it was too full of characters thinking and speaking in poetry for my taste.

Needless to say I did not enjoy the eight hours spent reading this work. I feel like those eight hours were stolen from me. This was certainly the worst work I have read this year, and quite possibly the worst publication I have ever read. I give it a 2 out of 5.

My book reviews are also posted on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com).

Book Review of “The Tinkerer’s Daughter”

“The Tinkerer’s Daughter” was published in 2012 and is the first book in “The Tinkerer’s Daughter” series. The book is written by Jaramy Gates under the pseudonym Jamie Sedgwick (http://jamiesedgwick.wordpress.com/). Together, Mr. Gates has published nearly 20 novels. The eBook is available from Amazon.

This book is a Young Adult Fantasy book set in a different world occupied with humans, Tal’mar (also known as wood elves), and the Kanters (a race of wild giants). The humans and Tal’mar have been at war for decades. The Kanters, while a threat, have been mostly ignored by the Humans as they are wild and uncivilized.

Bran Vale and his young daughter Breeze live alone and remote from others, in a valley many miles from the nearest village. Bran has been a warrior, and he is called back to duty. Bran has no family, so he takes his four year old daughter to another recluse, the Tinkerer, and asks him to watch over her while he is gone.

Breeze slowly becomes close friends with the Tinkerer, and is interested in his creations. She also rapidly matures, a side effect of being half Tal’mar. Bran has kept Breeze away from other humans as most of humanity has a hatred of them from the long war. Breeze, being a half breed, will be an outcast whether she is with humans or the Tal’mar.

The Tinkerer develops some astounding “steam punkish” gadgets, including simple aircraft. Breeze is put at risk when the local villagers find out she is a half breed. To compound the situation, the Kanters suddenly attack.

There is plenty of excitement and eventually a view into Breeze’s past as the story evolves.

I found this to be a very enjoyable novel. There was a good plot. I did feel that the first third of the book was better than the rest, almost as if there was a rush at that point to get the book completed. Some of the supporting characters were pretty simplistic. I give this book a 4 out of 5.

Book Review of “Lady of Devices”

“Lady of Devices” was published in 2011 and is the first book in the “Magnificent Devices” series by author Shelley Adina (http://www.shelleyadina.com). Ms. Adina is the author of over 20 books, with more on the way. This eBook is available on Amazon.

I obtained this novel for free through http://readcheaply.com/. This story is told first person from the standpoint of young miss Claire Trevelyan who has just graduated from St. Cecelia’s Academy for Young Ladies. It is set in 1889 London, but of a slightly different reality than our own. Styled as a “steampunk adventure,” the world in which this novel is set is driven by brass and steam, with the internal combustion engine a failed technology. Throw in a touch of SciFi with small perpetual motion motors that power home appliances, vacuum tubes to every house to deliver mail, and fantastic electrical devices.

Claire is part of the “Blood”, the upper crust of society that has the proper heritage. Her mother is pushing her to be a lady and look for a proper husband, now that she has finished school. What Claire really wants is to go to University and become an engineer. Her world is turned completely upside down when her father looses everything in a failed petroleum company investment.

The failure affects many Londoners, and Clair’s mother and brother flee to the country home to avoid the backlash. Claire is left to finish packing up the London home and then reluctantly to follow her mother. But then rioting forces Claire into unexpected circumstances where she uses her understanding of science to see her through. Along the way there is a light touch of possible romance, and an opportunity to pursue her interest in engineering.

I found this a totally enjoyable read and give the book 5 out of 5. The novel was well paced and well written. I look forward to reading the other novels in this series