Steampunk science fiction and fantasy has been a rising genre, in my eyes. It’s often difficult for me to immerse myself initially in the complexity of the steampunk universe, trying to remember how I know names like Algernon Swinburne and Charles Babbage. However, I’ve found that, after the first 100 pages, I’m irreconcilably mired in the story, and I can’t bring myself to close the book until I’ve reached the last page.
Of course, it’s helpful when the plot is sufficiently fantastic, as well.
Such is the case in Felix J. Palma’s “The Map of the Sky,” which happens to be the second of three books in his Map of Time trilogy. Ideally, I’d read the three books in order, but this was the only one available at my library, so I’m going with it! Not to worry – I have reservation requests in for the others.
In this story, our hero is none other than Herbert George Wells, cranky and irascible author of “The Time Machine” and “War of the Worlds”! The man has just published War of the Worlds, and finds himself initially amused when the story begins to come true! However, amusement quickly turns to horror as he finds that Martians truly are invading, and they appear unstoppable.
I won’t give away much more of the story, as there’s a significant plot twist that would quite spoil the ending. However, I will say that I was able to guess this twist was coming – it was really the only “out” the author had. That perhaps slightly dampened my enjoyment.
Still, the book was well written and engaging, and I’ll be reading the others. Plus, at a hefty five hundred pages or so, it’s long enough for some decent world-building, without initially growing too overwhelming or fantastic.
Time to read: About 6 hours, all in two days. Damn that immersive universe!