[DWJ] my years best list

Amy Harlib aharlib at earthlink.net
Wed Jan 3 03:40:32 EST 2007

aharlib at earthlink.net
Sounds like the ultimate "steampunk" wallow and I can't wait to read it!  I 
love this subgenre.

> NOTE: the following commentary contains spoilers for Larklight.
>> Could you explain more about why you liked Larklight?
>> The illustrations too follow in the footsteps of the Lemony Snicket
>> illustrator (and the Spiderwick Chronicles) and many others. Nice, but
>> not outstanding.
> Hi Anita
> I don't know that it was spectacularly original, it just touched a lot
> of buttons. Have you read Harm's Way by Colin Greenland or seen the
> "Enlightenment" sequence in Dr. Who? They are part of a tradtition of
> Aether Romance, an alternate Victorian England/Empire where Charles
> Babbage built his computer* enabling space travel, and space turned
> out to have aether waves that could be sailed along.  I loved the cold
> romance of the aether. I loved the "brick moon" satellite the children
> lived on (an idea from Edward Everett Hale, in a story called "The
> Brick Moon" from the 1860s). I loved the challenge to the hypocrisy of
> the empire, the navigators' guilds, the discussion of race and species
> and science, I love the ironies of femininity and masculinity. I loved
> the Crystal Palace turning into a spider (but then I am a lone voice
> in thinking _Wild, Wild West_, one of the best sf movies ever).
> Larklight is a homage book. I am not so familar with other genres, but
> sf, while rather fixated on original ideas, is also very much embedded
> as a discursive community and homage writing is almost a sub-genre in
> itself ie Ken MacLeod's The Cassini Division has chapter titles from
> other utopian novels; Alexei Panshin's Rite of Passage is a Heinlein
> novel, as is Homer Hickam's autobiography, Rocket Boys; Karen Joy
> Fowler's "What I didn't See" which is a nod to James Tiptree Jr, or
> Bujold's A Civil Campaign which honours Georgette Heyer's A Civil
> Contract. And that's even before we get to the many meta-texts.
> So what I enjoyed about the book was precisely the resonance and the
> tongue in cheek Victoriana. But I also just loved the gosh wow of
> giant spiders spinning the universe into webs.
> Farah
> *see also Gibson and Sterling's _The Difference ENGINE_.
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