"This sequel to The Half-Made World stands well alone; written like an old-fashioned memoir, it seamlessly blends whimsy with deadly seriousness."
-- Publishers Weekly
"Like The Half-Made World that came before it, The Rise of Ransom City brings us a re-imagined tale of America's Old West, mixing steampunk and magic realism to great effect."
-- Kirkus Reviews ("Best SF/F Reads In November")
"...a piquant, Twainian mix of itinerant entertainers, down-at-heel dreamers, townsfolk, newspaper reporters, snake-oil salesmen and would-be entrepreneurs... It’s possible to see “The Rise of Ransom City” as a rumination on the hubris of the American Dream, if by “dream” you mean a form of individualism that holds it possible for a man to be all three things — rich, grand and free — at the same time. (Not to mention a rejoinder to the pop-culture fantasy that cathartic violence can set everything to right.) These are big ideas, a diagnosis of the American character as alternately possessed by ruthless utilitarianism and nihilistic self-aggrandizement, but they simmer below the surface of “The Rise of Ransom City” rather than running the show. The novel is also a sepia-toned panorama of eccentric and moving Western characters, and it has the lovely, unvarnished texture of Harry’s voice, eloquence in the guise of plain speaking."
-- Laura Miller, Salon
"Told in first person, Ransom City is suffused with Ransom’s wry, wondrous, charismatic voice, full of witticisms and philosophical asides... Ransom’s charming, winning character carries the day. As his quest for wealth and fame becomes sidelined by politics and peril, so do his theories; the rudiments of relativity and quantum theory begin to intrude into his worldview, and Gilman integrates them into a dizzying balance of action and ideas. The zeitgeist of America at the advent of the 20th century—in all its turmoil, utopianism, and paranoia—is captured and re-imagined with stunning scope."
-- Jason Heller, The Onion
"I enjoyed The Half-Made World thoroughly, but I’m pretty sure I loved its sequel. There’s adventure and mystery and wrenching episodes of moral compromise; there’s a layered narrative and a deft construction to the whole enterprise. And Gilman understands how to summon the promise of the unknown, and the call of the horizon."
-- Tobias Carroll, Vol. 1 Brooklyn
"Harry Ransom is a small-time con man wandering the flyspeck outposts of the Western Territory promoting a sort of perpetual motion machine that occasionally actually works. He's a perfect fixture for the taming-of-the-West atmosphere of this spirited and intelligent novel, which revisits the strange territory Gilman introduced in "The Half-Made World." . . . It's a marvelously imagined world depicted in a 19th-century prose style notable for its spare punctuation. Grade A"
--John Alden, The Cleveland Plain Dealer
"A fantasy novel of the best kind, where the familiar is delightfully skewed, it begins like a Western, a frontier tale told with the whimsy of an alternate reality Mark Twain. The story takes a Dickensian twist as the settings turn from frontier towns to cities of industry, but no matter where it takes place, this is an adventure tale of Harry Ransom and his followers seeking an unsettled territory where they can erect his utopia—the perfect city, Ransom City."
--Don Kelly, The Coffin Factory
"Gilman is one of the essential modern fantasists, and his latest book lives up to the expectations generated by his previous successes."
--Benjamin Wald, SF Revu
"In every way, it’s a delight to see the innocent Harry Ransom slowly learn about the world in which he lives . . . a cornucopia of delights."
-- David Marshall, Thinking about books
"Felix Gilman has a sly wit and an assured hand. He is a fresh and original voice in fantasy."
-- Lavie Tidhar, author of Osama
"A fantasy that Mark Twain would have been proud to write. Felix Gilman's theme is nothing less than the Matter of America, the story at the root of the whole continent. Never has fantasy been darker, cleverer, more sly, or more touching in its refraction of our own world. I scratch my head in awe."
-- Francis Spufford, author of Red Plenty
"On my being handed the book now in your hands, I promised myself - tacitly, of course - I'd only take a peek. But will you look at what's happened? Mr. Gilman's appeal promptly poured itself all over me, and I, by golly, in superb reciprocity, pored all over his pages from first to last. Is this not the joy in reading, no less in being? - enforced attention, the delightsome entrapment, a thorough-going filling and the rare repose of one's having been emptied - utterly, gratefully - out?"
-- Gordon Lish
"The Rise of Ransom City continues Felix Gilman's brilliant deconstruction of the mythology of the American West, putting it back together with magic and mechanics, and creating something so imaginative it seems to punch you in the chest. Narrator Professor Harry Ransom is a compelling voice; a teller of tall tales and showman, but whereas the snake-oil salesmen of the American West sold piss and ink, Ransom has a genuine miracle to sell. He is both liar and totally honest in ways that are sly and funny and sometimes tragic. This is a fantastic story of a war and a life told with incredible humanity and pizzazz, by a narrator who, like the world he inhabits, is bold and colorful and a wholly new sort of magic."
-- Lev AC Rosen, author of All Men of Genius
"The Rise of Ransom City is told in a powerful voice that is at once believable and utterly unreliable. This is the Old West re-imagined through a lens of the New Weird. Fascinating and strange."
-- Mary Robinette Kowal, author of Shades of Milk and Honey