Sunday, May 2, 2010


Hello again...

The image is the grave marker of Oscar Wilde... it was taken after a rainy morning walk in Montmartre and a Metro ride out to Cimetiere Pere Lachaise; the resting place of Jim Morrison, Eugene Delacroix, Sarah Bernhardt, Edith Piaf to name a meager few. Its a great place to visit if you are in Paris and want to see some thing a little outside the center of the city.

Two of the reviews coming up will be Steampunk books; I have been thinking a good deal about the now popular sub-genre. a couple of people I have spoken with think there are too many new entries in this area lately. I will admit in the last few years there do seem to have been quite a few; Bonshaker by Cherie Priest, Soulless by Gail Carriager, The Bookman by Lavie Tidhar, The Affinity Bridge and its sequels by George Mann along with Ghosts of Manhattan, Mainspring and its sequels by Jay Lake to name just the ones that come to mind without much effort. As with any trend its easy to fall into decrying it and missing lots of good fiction.

In the 80's I got onto the cyberpunk wagon and on the whole read a good portion of the flood of books that came out. I seem to be doing the same with following the new wavefronts - Urban Fantasy (of which I have read novels I felt ranged from good to bad to ugly), the gritty fantasy thing (thankfully no one has really named this trend), and the new wave of Steampunk offerings. In terms of overall enjoyment and quality I find that the crop of Steampunk authors write highly readable, varied and enjoyable fare. I would attribute this to the range of other sub-genres that creep into the mix that they are influenced by. There are those that stick to the victorian era with the empires of the time affected by the introduction of to us strange and unreal technology (just look at the book Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld); there are authors that diverge from earth entirely and throw the mems at a fantasy world (I think Tim Akers does this in Heart of Veridon) and some of the upcoming covers (check recent posts on Mad Hatters Bookshelf) show a western influenced one (any one recall Deadlands from the 90's).

With all the attention the Steampunk genre is getting I can see why people my be shunning it as just the "next big thing" that will fade but they may also miss out on something really good....

tomorrow a review of The Bookman by Lavie Tidhar

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