RRS Roundup: Serial Steam

This week on Read it! Review it! Share it! I’m taking us back into the world of steampunk. But this ain’t your daughter’s steamy McSteampunk. This is genuine anachronistic steampunk.

Spring-heeled Jack and the President’s Ring (The Magnetron Chronicles)

Spring-Heeled Jack on Amazon

First I have to clarify. This is a steampunk serial adventure, but it is not the The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack by Mark Hodder. This one is by D.L. Mackenzie. Part of a planned 5 novelette serial, this second installment picks up with the solving of the mysterious death of Dr. Hogalum by Phineas Magnetron and the rest of the Hogalum Society (Think League of Extraordinary Gentlemen with the emphasis on gentlemen).

Truly anachronistic, witty and fun these stories embrace a vocabulary-stretching voice that reflects the Victorian era while sneaking in a bit of the post-modern sense of humor. With a Sherlock Holmes sort of intellect Magnetron endeavors to unwrap the mystery of his deceased mentor all the while coming up against Compost, his arch-enemy.

The supporting cast of gentleman are noteworthy as well. Despite the number of characters, Mackenzie manages to keep them set apart with unique names and backgrounds. There is not a tremendous amount of character development to slow down the story, but each of the gentlemen stands in a position to be called upon to carry a storyline when needed. (A nifty feat for a serial).

While there is a smaller story arc that comes to resolution within this serial, it feels like a minor note in the overall arc. This frustrated me somewhat, but I suppose that is the point of a serial. (Think TV mini-series in print.) At around 100 pages I recommend you Read it! Review it! Share it!

RRS Roundup: Wild Card Zona

This week on Read it! Review it! Share it! we are stepping out into a dystopian Arizona and a fantastical alternate history. Time for imagination to run wild!

The Zona

The ZonaThere has been an environmental disaster. Sea level has risen dramatically. Everything from before is remember as the Broken Times and the survivors of the human race have split between people just wanting to scrape what living they can and those who have born a super-fundamentalist religion, one imposed forcefully and rigorously on everyone.

The Zona is creative and vivid. The language is just the way I like it, overwrought. But within the dystopian waste of a burning hot Arizona the overcooked language works most of the time. The lead character is known as Lead (cheeky, huh?) He starts off as self-righteous and somewhat hard to like, but the setting drags you into the story. And the pacing keeps you reading. A great read for fans of dystopia. Read it! Review it! Share it!

Wild Cards I

Wild Cards IBreaking from my mold, this collection of stories is not published independently. But I couldn’t put off reading the book any longer. History diverges after WWII when an alien life form lands on Earth in attempt to warn us of a strange virus that becomes known as the Wild Card virus. Some people it gifts with super powers, some with monstrous deformities. Thus it creates Aces and Jokers.

Each story within the Wild Card universe is written within the same alternate history, but they can involve new characters or old–written by a variety of authors in a variety of styles. They are all good.

This first volume starts with a dieselpunk-retro-atomic flare that is ridiculously enjoyable. It is classic vinyl sci-fi with a modern attitude. And the details of the alternate history are forked over at such a teasingly slow pace that it is tough to stop reading. My waiting to get this book paid off when the ebook price fell to $2.99! (still there at time of writing). Read it! Review it! Share it!