It’s a blog tour kinda day today — and I have Felix Gilman’s The Rise of Ransom City for you, thanks to the folks at Tor!
About Felix Gilman:
FELIX GILMAN has been nominated for the John W. Campbell award and the Locus Award for best new writer. He is the author of the critically acclaimed Thunderer, Gears of the City, and The Half-Made World, which was listed by Amazon as one of the ten best SFF novels of 2010. He lives in New York City.
About The Rise of Ransom City:
This is the story Harry Ransom. If you know his name it’s most likely as the inventor of the Ransom Process, a stroke of genius that changed the world.
Or you may have read about how he lost the battle of Jasper City, or won it, depending on where you stand in matters of politics.
Friends called him Hal or Harry, or by one of a half-dozen aliases, of which he had more than any honest man should. He often went by Professor Harry Ransom, and though he never had anything you might call a formal education, he definitely earned it.
If you’re reading this in the future, Ransom City must be a great and glittering metropolis by now, with a big bronze statue of Harry Ransom in a park somewhere. You might be standing on its sidewalk and not wonder in the least of how it grew to its current glory. Well, here is its story, full of adventure and intrigue. And it all starts with the day that old Harry Ransom crossed paths with Liv Alverhyusen and John Creedmoor, two fugitives running from the Line, amidst a war with no end.
The Rise of Ransom City is my first Felix Gilman, and it’s a pretty nifty read. The story’s interesting — part autobiography, part alternative history, part adventure — all told from Harry’s point of view, and with a few sidebars to introduce or explain certain characters. We learn of Harry’s childhood days, and how his father incurs the debt with the Line that ruins him. We learn how Harry teaches himself Stuff, invents the Apparatus, and sets off to earn his fame and fortune.
We meet his traveling companions, and watch as they live the life of traveling salesmen shaking the dust from town to town, selling an idea so outrageous it gets them in trouble more often than not… After all, there’s a war going on, and ideas have no place in war time. Especially ideas based on machines built by Harry, that may or may not work.
There’s a witty dryness to Harry’s narration that I appreciated, and I loved how old-timey The Rise of Ransom City felt. This is one of those stories that could so easily have not worked, but it does. The world-building is excellent, and realistic. The Agents, the Linesmen, the war-weary townspeople, the Engines, and Harry — I could actually see them in my mind as I read Harry’s
story autobiography. And Harry’s escapades are nothing if not entertaining.
The only thing I can nitpick on, is Ransom City itself. I wanted to know if it lived up to Harry’s dreams and expectations… My nitpicking notwithstanding, this should be on the pick-up list for steampunk fans who love the wild west!
drey’s rating: Excellent!
Title: The Rise of Ransom City (sequel to The Half-Made World)
Author: Felix Gilman
Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Tor, 2012
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository
Have you read The Rise of Ransom City? What did you think? And if you haven’t, read on to win your own copy!
Thanks to the publisher, I have one copy of The Rise of Ransom City for you, if you live in the US or Canada. To enter, fill out the form below before December 24th. Good luck!