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05 January 2010

Steampunk Book Reviews

Leviathan, by Scott Westerfield

The first book I am going to review for you today is called Leviathan. It is essentially a weird science alternate history novel. The setting is Europe, in 1914. Archduke Ferdinand and his wife have been poisoned in Sarajevo after two failed assassination attempts earlier in the day. Their only son, Aleksander, escapes into the night with two of his father's most rusted retainers in a battered old Stormwalker-class combat walker. Yep, diesel powered armored walking vehicles. I don't want to give any more of the plot or characters away.

You have the start of World War I, the clash between two technologies: Clankers, like Germany, Austro-Hungary, and the Ottomans, versus Darwinites, like France, Russia, and Great Britain. The Clankers rely on advanced machinery. Darwinists have created genetically engineered creatures to fulfill their needs. And they rush to war.

I really liked this book. If you like VSF or steampunk, I think you will, too. Although technically I guess it is dieselpunk.

See the trailer for the book here: Leviathan trailer

Boneshaker, by Cherie Priest
If you like air pirates, zeppelins, poisonous gas, mothers, sons, mad scientists, Indian princesses, and zombies, you'll like Boneshaker. If you don't, there is something so fundamentally wrong with you that I can't imagine why you read this blog in the first place.
Another alternate history/weird science kind of tale, the plot is basically pigheaded teen boy gets into dangerous situation and loving mother tries to save him. Add in all the yummy stuff I mentioned before. Especially the rotters. Love them.
Publisher's Weekly says:
"In an alternate 1880s America, mad inventor Leviticus Blue is blamed for
destroying Civil War–era Seattle. When Zeke Wilkes, Blue's son, goes into the
walled wreck of a city to clear his father's name, Zeke's mother, Briar Wilkes,
follows him in an airship, determined to rescue her son from the toxic gas that
turns people into zombies (called rotters and described in gut-churning detail).
When Briar learns that Seattle still has a mad inventor, Dr. Minnericht, who
eerily resembles her dead husband, a simple rescue quickly turns into a
thrilling race to save Zeke from the man who may be his father. Intelligent,
exceptionally well written and showcasing a phenomenal strong female protagonist
who embodies the complexities inherent in motherhood, this yarn is a must-read
for the discerning steampunk fan."
I say:
"It's a Sci-Fi Essentials book, and a Steampunk aficionado (sp?)
Staple. Read it. Now."

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