Garrett P. Serviss: Edison’s Conquest of Mars

I have been looking forward to this one. First it's my first Edisonade, second it's of the same genre as the penny dreadful, and finally it's a unauthorized sequel to War of the Worlds (i.e. its FanFic). In fact I was so excited by it, I held off on my review of War of the Worlds until  I finished it.  It proved harder to read than I expected.  I would only recommend this to someone doing the same thing I am, getting a baseline for other literature. Here's the Factor:

Technofanstasy: 27 points Electric Spaceships, Electric dis-integrator pistols, Electric Force fields (see a pattern here?), giant humans on other planets, ornithopter airships,  and phrenology. This book has it all.

Neo-Victorianism: 27 points Once again, it's hard to dock a Victorian era novel.

Retrofuturism: 27 points Well,  this is about as retrofuture as you can get,  Electric spaceships that work on attractant principles, electric dis-integrator beams, and no concept of wireless communication.  It's the electric Future  brought to you by the Wizard of Menlo Park.

Intangibles: 6 points This book was low on tangibles, it was low on intangibles as well.  I give 3 points for the constant theme:  'The principles are to involved to discuss here, but....' (then goes on for three pages of techno-babble describing the principles). And another 3 points for reintroducing a pure strand of the Aryan race back into the American genome.  (I shit you not, my mouth is still on the floor regarding that one.)

Steampunk Factor: 87/100 = 87% The steamishest book yet.

I think I am coming to the conclusion that Steampunk is less a child of Verne and Wells and more that the Edisonade and the imagineers of the 50's and 60's.

While not exactly a good book,  it is the most Steamish to date and it also is so gonzo over the top for anything Edison and ELECTRIC that it is so bad it's good.

The story takes up where War of the Worlds leaves off (or rather it's true prequel, a knock off of War of the Worlds). New York is in shambles, as are several other great cities. Mankind realizes that they need to band together to make sure that this doesn't happen again. Enter Thomas Edison, boy genius, who whips up some electric spaceships, macgyver style, and leads a group of 2,00o of Earth's leading scientists, archeologists, linguists and indian fighters to settle up with the big headed Martians.

If you are prone to be offended by a period work's blatant racism, euro-centrism, and gender stereotypes, this is not the book for you. It is overflowing.

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