Adventures of Langdon St. Ives

Technofantasy: 35
Improbable science, that is internally consistent. Time travel, phrenology, homunculi, alchemy, good stuff.

Neo-Victorianism: 28
This was the first steampunk novel I've read that didn't pull me out of the 19th century. (Or in some cases, the 19-teens.)

Retrofuturism: 27

Miscellaneous: 5
Five points for absolute improbable zany silliness. If you want to get the mantra that Steampunk doesn't take itself seriously read this. The other 5 in miscellaneous I donated to technofantasy.


Wow, 95%, and deservedly so. The Langdon St. Ives stories are a blast. And they are all different. 'The Adventures' is a compilation and ranges from Keystone Kops style chases to dark meditations on evil, nature vs.  nurture, zombism, and time travel. All of the stories are over the top, and definitely not predictable.

I find that suspension of disbelief is very important, especially with steampunk. If something pulls me out of the 19th century feel, I quickly lose interest. Things that pull me out are numerous. Among them, are people being to modern, or treated condescendingly for not being modern enough, the use of to modern language, or descriptions of places that did not exist in period.

I was never pulled out of the nineteenth with Langdon St. Ives. To the contrary, little things constantly pulled me further in. The Ape Box Affair reminded me of the action of a silent film. The Idol's Eye gave a delicious view into 19th c. imperial and racial hubris without looking down on the actors themselves.

This entry was posted in Book Review, Steampunk and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.