• Tag Archives Angry Robot
  • Prerelease Review: The Age Atomic by Adam Christopher

    I have been looking forward to reading The Age Atomic, ever since it was announced. After enjoying Empire State immensely, I was itching for the sequel, and this is what I found when I finally got it:

    The Age AtomicThe Age Atomic is set a number of years after Empire State, in 1954, but in the Empire State (the first novel is named after the setting), only a few months have passed. In the Empire State, we meet an old friend from the previous novel, Rad Bradley, who has to deal with a rather dire situation: The Empire State is plunged in a perpetual winter, Captain Carson, who took charge of the Empire State at the end of Empire State has gone missing, chaos is spreading and a mysterious figure known as The King of 125th Street is assembling an army of robots, recruited from the Wartime navy. He gets help, of sorts, from a mysterious woman named Jennifer Jones who works for the City Commissioner but also has her own agenda. To make matters worse, Nimrod, Rad’s ally from our-reality New York has not made contact with the Empire State in a while.

    Nimrod has his own troubles in New York, Eisenhower’s government has set up a new organisation, Atoms for Peace, headed by Evelyn McHale, a suicidal woman turned goddess by the fissure which created the Empire State. Evelyn is mercurial, possibly insane and Nimrod does not trust her but is forced to cooperate.
    Just as in Empire State, Adam Christopher manages to create a gripping noir tale, this one set at the very beginning of the US‘ post-War golden age. I also consider The Age Atomic to be the first real Atompunk novel, quite a feat. The story is again multi-facetted and there are once more enough twists and turns to keep the readers surprised and at the edge of their seats. Very few things in The Age Atomic are what they appear, there is a hidden agenda behind almost everything. The McCarthy era paranoia runs strong in The Age Atomic and adds a very fitting bitter flavour to it. And just as in the real world: The wrong ones get accused of being communists.

    The Age Atomic also has its share of tragic characters, adding a layer Empire State did not have. Two of the main protagonists are destined to die, but… (and I will not say more, it would be a major spoiler). And there are the discoveries, Captain Carson has made… Oh the implications! More fuel for WorldBuilder!

    The novel also ends with one of the biggest cliff hangers I have ever encountered, but I can completely understand Nimrod’s action, believe me.

    To sum up: The Age Atomic is another masterful tale by Adam Christopher. An action-packed noir Atompunk tale with more layers, facettes and twists than one would expect and which keeps the reader enthralled from the first to the last page. Highly recommended reading!

    I WANT A SEQUEL!

    10 out of 10 Zeppelins (So far, no book by Angry Robot  has gotten less then 9/10, I wonder how long they can keep it up).

     


  • Angry Robot Books Strikes Again

    angry robot books logoThe guys at Angry Robot Books have come up with something big. The idea is WorldBuilder and they go into depth about what it is here, on their own blog.

    Now, I am really excited about this development. Two main reasons: The universe forming the frame for WorldBuilding is a 1930’s Pulp setting, in other words, Dieselpunk!

    The novel in question is Empire State by Adam Christopher and I have been looking forward to reading it ever since I read the first comments on the Angry Robot website. As soon as WorldBulder starts,  anyone who wants to participate can add to this strange alteernate world the novel is set in. I know what I am going to do… Well, at least I am trying to, time constraints may get in the way.

    The other reason I am excited about this is best explained in connection with the cover:

    Empire State Cover

    The guy on the left has an uncanny resemblance to Wesley Dodds, the Golden Age Sandman (not to be confused with Neil Gaiman’s Dream):

    Wesley Dodds
    © DC Comics, no copyright infringement intended.

    I do not know if this is a hint that Welsey Dodds is actually a major protagonist or if there is someone who just happens to use a similar outfit. The first option would be so splendid as to be completely off the scale, the second would still be very inriguing… For now, I guess I will have to wait until the novel comes out in order to find out. I am already itching to get my eyes Empire State and participate in WorldBuilder.

    I just hope I can find the time, not that this blog suffers all of a sudden, we cannot have that, now, can we?

     


  • Breaking News: The Cover of The Great Game by Lavie Tidhar has been released!

    Just in, fresh from Lavie Tidhar and the Angry Robot blog! This is the cover of Lavie Tidhar’s third part of The Bookman Histories, The Great Game:

    The Great Game Cover (Lavie Tidhar Steampunk Novel)

    But there is one slightly bitter taste to it: The novel will not be released until February 2012. Still quite a long time in the future. I can hardly wait.

    Several reasons:

    • I want to see where the story leads now.
    • The interview with Lavie on the Angry Robot podcast made me even more curious.
    • I have a personal stake in this one.

    As anticipation builds,  I shall leave scratchmarks in my desk…


  • Review: K.W. Jeter "Infernal Devices" and "Morlock Night"

    For those of you who were not aware of it: Mr. Jeter named us, the genre, the lifestyle. He is the inventor of the term Steampunk. His two defining steampunk novels Infernal Devices and Morlock Night are back in print now, for the first time since the late ’80s, actually, and I have had the great pleasure of reading and reviewing them.

    Morlock Night

    Morlock Night CoverMorlock Night is a sequel to H.G. Well’s Time Machine. The Morlocks have gotten hold of the time machine and are rampaging through time, bent on conquering Victorian London and the world. They are opposed by none other than Merlin and King Arthur. There is also a touch of Atlantis in this cocktail. Yes, the blood of the Atlanteans flows in English veins.

    The clicheés of the times (Morlock Night was first punlished in 1979) do not end there. The lines of good and evil are also very clearly drawn. The English are good, pure Christians while the Morlocks are guided by an old Nemesis of Merlin and an enemy to all Christendom. The Morlocks‘ behaviour and language is as far as it can be from civilized Britain: Their language sounds like a bastardized version of German and Slavic tongues blended together and they also use their hands a lot while talking, in the manner of the Italians. The crowning moment comes when the Dark Castle, the base of operation for the Morlocks, is visited: It is lockated in an alternate timeline in what will one day be… Germany!

    Despite what you may think now, Morlock Night is an excellent read. The clicheés are bad but you can regard them with some temporal distance and that makes them rather cosy and quaint. The plot is transparent but it does not hurt the enjoyment at all. I was both rather charmed and enthralled by Morlock Night, I could not put it down. In fact, I finished it in one sitting. Morlock Night grips you with the tension and action in it, it makes you laugh with all the bad tropes and clicheés and shows you how much development has been in the scene in the last 20-odd years.

    And in the end you close the little book and think it was too short and you finished it too quickly. Morlock Night gets nine out of ten Zeppelins.

    Infernal Devices

    Infernal Devices is quite a different reading experience to Morlock Night. Where Morlock Night has a plot that is transparent right from the start, nothing is clear in Infernal Devices almost until the very end and there are quite a few surprising and some rather nasty turns. In Morlock Night, good  and evil are clearly definded, in Infernal Devices, you cannot  be sure at all who is the protagonist’s ally and who is not.

    The novel features a somewhat happles protagonist, George Dower, the inheritor of his fathers workshop, who is dragged into a series of events both baffling and confusing to him. He meets fellow Londoners who are odd and than there are some who are even more odd. Most are people his father knew and who are somewhat in the know about things and think he is really in the know which he is not… Worse still: There are people who want him dead and he has no clue why. Infernal Devices managed to convey the protagonist’s confusion quite well to me. For  the better part of the first half of the novel, I found Infernal Devices to be a rather difficult and confusing read. A shame really, since the plot is interesting, the characters are most intriguing and the inhabitants of Wetwick and Dampfort are to my cthulhuesque’s heart delight. The eponymous infernal devices, creations of Dower’s father, are about as steampunk as it gets, clockwork abominations of various shapes and sizes, alas, the start is a touch slow.

    After all the pieces of the puzzle were in place, the confusion abrubtely left and the reading became thoroughly enjoyable. I could finally concentrate on the mad chase that was going on and could understand why all those people were acting so weirdly. It all makes perfect sense within the story. K.W. Jeter has created quite a marvelous world in Infernal Devices. Sometimes rather weird and alien but always concistent.

    The novel also ends with one of the biggest surprises in the history of literature I think. The world is saved not by might of arms, nor by magic, nor by love but rather by… Well, I guess you should find out yourselves and I hope you are as delighted by the final implied scene as I was.

    If it only wasn’t for this confusing start, Infernal Devices could have scored higher but still, it is seven out of ten Zeppelins.

    In any case, for their significance alone, Infernal Devices and Morlock Night are two novels no Steampunk should miss in his collection. They also make great reference material for demonstrating the changes which occured in fantastic literature over the last 30 years.