Red Wheels Turning

Red Wheels Turning

For the fans of Hugh Ashton’s other alternate-history novel, Beneath Gray Skies, this novel also features that book’s protagonist, Brian Finch-Malloy.

Now I have never read Beneath Gray Skies, but this wasn’t a hindrance at all, as Red Wheels Turning is set a few years before the events in the earlier novel. Therefore you do not have to have read them in the right order, even though they are part of the same timeline. Where the next installment will fit in this timeline I’m not sure, but for now you’re fine reading this one without the other.

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The Doomsday Vault

The Doomsday Vault

The Doomsday Vault by Steven Harper is a recent addition to the ever-growing library of steampunk novels. And a very worthy one at that.

The times are Victorian and we find ourselves in a London ruled by Victoria and her Albert. The clockwork plague has swept the world, turning people into zombies left and right or worse: mad geniuses known as clockworkers.

Against this background, the tales of our heroes unfold.

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Beyond Aukfontein

Beyond Aukfontein

Dystopian futures where humanity is pretty much on the brink of extinction are a common theme in dieselpunk. It is also the case in J.W. Szczepaniak’s Beyond Aukfontein: An Oddyssey Through a Ruined World.

The setting is a post-apocalyptic world in a not-too-distant future. A world after The Fall. Humanity has been decimated, trying to make use and find wisdom in things of the past (called Oswald), things that hardly anyone can properly use anymore.

It is a world in decline where the inheritors of this broken world try to survive as best as they can and have founded communities of varied sizes and often ruled by madness.

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The Bride Wore Black Leather

The Bridge Wore Black Leather

The much anticipated final installment of Simon R. Green’s celebrated Nightside series is nearly upon us (the official release date is January 3, 2012) and let me start by assuring you that everything he said in his interview in Gatehouse Gazette 21 is true.

Let me first state that this review will contain no spoilers. I don’t want to ruin the experience for those that have to wait for the official release date, as that would be very unfair of me.

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Mrs Darcy vs the Aliens

Mrs Darcy vs the Aliens

When I first got the review copy of this book in my hands and read the back cover, I thought it was going to be a brilliant and hilarious read. I will happily admit that I’m a fan of the original Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen and that I’m always open to a good humoristic approach to sequels.

But this, this was not what I expected, and not in a good way either. While the approach to the story — aliens trying to screw over civilization as we know it in Regency England — is a stroke of genius, the execution is terribly disappointing.

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Nazis Take to the Moon in Iron Sky Prequel

Iron Sky

Dieselpunk fans will be familiar with the Iron Sky project. The independent film production will depict the Nazis plotting an invasion of Earth from their secret refuge on the Moon.

In anticipation of the film’s release, Iron Sky is releasing a prequel comic adventure.

The first issue, “Bad Moon Rising,” depicts the Third Reich’s survivors in Antarctica preparing to board UFOs bound for the Moon. They will build a base on the far side of the Moon to stage another attempt at conquering the planet.

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Ignition City

Ignition City

In 1930, three bold astronauts reach space. Fifteen years later, World War II is interrupted by a Martian invasion. As a consequences of those events, humanity starts exploring its Solar System and heroic astronauts contact alien species and have incredible adventures.

But that is the past.

The present is the year 1956, when no one cares about alien worlds and the final frontier anymore. Spaceports are being closed down and the only place from which rockets take off is Ignition City, a metropolis located on an artificial island on the equator. Here the last astronauts live in exile.

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Fistful of Reefer

Fistful of Reefer

David Brown’s Fistful of Reefer was my first contact with fiction concerning the “Old West.” Of course, I had a certain idea of the golden age of gunslingers, but I also knew that this idea was severely flawed.

What first struck me was the intensity of character the first protagonist you encounter displays. Texas Ranger McCutchen is one hard man of strong and firm opinions who knows what is wrong and what is right. And he will shoot you if you disagree too much or get in his way.

Interestingly, the Texas Ranger, a staple hero in American literature, is the villain.

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What Lies Beneath the Clocktower

What Lies Beneath the Clocktower

When I first head of What Lies Beneath the Clocktower, I was delighted. A choose your own adventure novel in a steampunk world! I am a big fan of those adventure books and have quite a collection of the old D&D Endless Quest books, as well as the classic Steve Jackson/Ian Livingstone adventures and Joe Dever’s Lone Wolfbooks. So, I delved into this particular adventure with enthusiasm.

The setting is fittingly moody and slightly dark. The protagonist is an absinthe-addicted gentleman of leisure and he (or rather — you) stumbles into an unexpected underground civilization beneath Paris.

Unfortunately, the train of the story quickly loses steam. There are too many storylines and they do not connect or intersect. Once you have chosen a path, there is no going back. Depending on what choices you make at the beginning (after deciding to actually investigate the commotion), you are in for a really short adventure.

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