“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, 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.
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