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May 16, 2012

Title Page For Ransom City

Filed under: Uncategorized — felix @ 8:28 pm

first pass proofs are back, I like what they’ve done with it, thanks Tor production people. Title page is here:  http://twitpic.com/9lujb9

March 18, 2012

In The Vault

Filed under: Uncategorized — felix @ 8:10 pm

lot of interesting spiders in here. lot of interesting bones and trinkets. what did I come in here for. i forgot.

March 11, 2012

The Vault Opens

Filed under: Uncategorized — felix @ 8:19 pm

the door cracks open. a shaft of light falls on yellowed bones and ancient dust.  snakes hiss and spiders scatter. the very air shudders at the unfamiliar touch of torchlight. it has been a thousand years since human eyes gazed upon this blog.

October 31, 2010

review round-up #2

Filed under: Uncategorized — felix @ 9:19 pm

Zack Handlen gave the book an A in the Onion’s AV Club:

Great fantastical fiction has a way of suggesting metaphorical connections without insisting on them. It’s possible to read The Lord Of The Rings as an allegory for World War II, although JRR Tolkien rejected this interpretation; 1984’s immediate social relevance has faded over time, yet the novel’s genius remains undated and powerful. It’s a matter of collecting potent, resonant ideas, then combining them with well-drawn characters and a smartly constructed plot. Felix Gilman’s new novel, The Half-Made World, does this with an exhilarating level of self-assurance. Using the brutality of Westerns alongside steampunk gadgetry, he constructs a story that could be about how civilization forces itself onto a new frontier, about how industry and anarchy are both necessary forces which inevitably become corrupted when allowed too much power, or possibly just about monsters and demons and guns that never need to be reloaded. . . .The story is breathlessly paced, coming within a hairsbreadth of being rushed, but still breathing sufficient life into its people and settings to be satisfying. Creedmoor in particular is a wonderfully complex bastard, and his struggles against the giddying embrace of carnage help give the book’s stream of destruction a gratifyingly moral component. There’s much to be said about Gilman’s thematic aims, and about the abrupt, curious ending, but the important point to take away is that reading this novel will make anyone who cares about dark adventure giddy.

Faren Miller in Locus:

In the Half-Made World, Felix Gilman turns away from the strange city and Mountain of his first two books, fantasy/SF hybrids Thunderer and Gears of the City, to a variant of America in the late 1800s that goes beyond the possibilities of alternate history yet manages to come closer to the truth of that past than any exercise in what-ifs. Despite some extraordinary changes to geography, history and the nature of the original inhabitants, this setting manages to reflect the conflicts, myths and sheer craziness of our own 19th century. . . Gilman has no use for nostalgia’s sentimental visions of lost freedom or a gentle pastoral life out west. . . This enormously creative, complex tale uses every trope – and transforms it – in the service of a greater vision that never really forgets its roots.”

(I wish I could link to Locus reviews. Oh well).

An interesting essay/review by Mike Perschon on Tor.com, from which I am excerpting a bit about me and not the thoughtful remarks about Emily Dickinson, because it’s my website dammit:

When I began my study of steampunk by reading Thomas Pynchon’s Against the Day, I wondered if its theme of the loss of frontier, of unexplored and untamed spaces, was also a theme evoked by the steampunk aesthetic. It’s clearly a major theme in The Half-Made World, which Gilman explores with a page-turning narrative, engagingly complex characters, and deftly descriptive prose. Thankfully, it’s the first in a series, resolving many conflicts while leaving the requisite loose threads to entice anticipation for subsequent installments. While it’s not for those who like their steampunk in an upbeat utopia, The Half-Made World is custom-made for those looking for a dark dystopia filled with weird west, gritty steampunk, and literary intertexts.

On the other hand Cosma Shalizi says it isn’t steampunk at all. Fight!

A splendidly-written high-fantasy western. (It is by no stretch of the imagination “steampunk”.) Gilman takes great themes of what one might call the Matter of America — the encroachment of regimented industrial civilization, the hard-eye anarchic men (and women) of violence, the dream of not just starting the world afresh but of offering the last best hope of earth — and transforms the first two into warring rival pantheons of demons, the third into a noble lost cause. (I think Gilman knows exactly how explosive the last theme is, and which is why he manages to handle it without setting it off.) Beneath and behind it all lies the continuing presence of the dispossessed original inhabitants of the continent. A story of great excitement and moment unfolds in this very convincing world, tying together an appealing, if believably flawed, heroine and two finely-rendered anti-heroes, told in prose that is vivid and hypnotic by turns. The story is complete in itself, but leaves open a return to the world, which I really hope will happen soon. The most natural point of comparison is Stephen King’s The Dark Tower, especially The Gunslinger, which I love; this is more ambitious in its themes, sounder in its construction, and more satisfying in its execution. The Half-Made World is the finest rendition I’ve ever seen of one of our core national myths; go read it.

October 21, 2010


Filed under: Uncategorized — felix @ 8:37 pm

I should note that there are several contests for a copy of the book out there; I’ve sort of lost track. Here’s one. Here’s another, unless it’s over, which I can’t tell. I think there are more. I like this one, which requires you to complete a dirigible-themed haiku.

October 17, 2010

review round-up #1

Filed under: Uncategorized — felix @ 10:19 am

In no particular order:

The Authors Speak

His first books – Thunderer and Gears of the City – Gilman bit off a lot. Both of these were highly ambitious books that solidified his role in the steampunk world. You had the gaslight technology of Welles’ world, the similarities of Verne’s Paris, and a fascinating story of a musician seeking a god in a city of gods. Ambitious, no doubt. And yet, he pulled the task off without batting an eyelash.

In “The Half-Made World” (released today from Tor), Mr. Gilman has found his footing. This is a fascinating read, that scrapes the scope that his first two books had and hones in on character. . . ” the characters are rich and vibrant and, as mentioned above, have a pathos that hooks us.

Final Verdict? A worthy investment of your book allowance. Imagine a book that reads like a season of the Wild, Wild West as if the writing panel had been Victor Hugo, Charles Dickens, and H.G. Welles, and you can get an idea of what you’re in store for. A nice union of bizarro and steampunk, and perhaps one of the best books I’ve read all year.

I also did an interview with this reviewer (Eric Mays, author of the very interesting-sounding Naked Metamorphosis).

Fantasy Book Critic

. . .a powerful novel that confirms Felix Gilman as a master of the new weird fantastic.

What are the strengths of “The Half-Made World“? In the above overview I mentioned two – most notably its exquisite and quite original world-building which makes reading the book worthwhile on its own. And of course, the energy of the narrative flow that does not let go of the reader. The combination of story, action and descriptions are balanced perfectly and the continual switching between the three main threads is smooth.

While “The Half-Made World” immerses the reader into its world, the author’s superb writing style exerts its magic and the novel offers quite a lot, the big picture remains a bit murky to the end. There are tantalizing hints sure, the storyline and the fate of the main characters are more than enough reasons to strongly enjoy the book, but I was left wondering about the series’ destination and even if there is such.

Hopefully! Unless I get hit by a bus. You never know, do you?

Henry Farrell at Crooked Timber

Felix Gilman’s new book, The Half-Made World is out. I liked it very much indeed (but then, I’ve liked everything that Gilman has written since stumbling across Thunderer). It’s a steampunk-inflected Western, with a fair dollop of HP Lovecraft thrown in (the malignant ‘Engines,’ whose physical appearance is mostly left undescribed, are genuinely unsettling).

The writing is lovely, and the main character a genuinely complex and interesting woman. . .
This is a really good book. If you like books like this at all, you should buy it.

Which reminds me that I should get round to buying Henry’s blogmate Prof. John Quiggin’s Zombie Economics.

Fantasy Literature

The premise of The Half-Made World is utterly fascinating and is one of the most original underpinnings I’ve seen. I loved how Gilman took the archetypes of America’s frontier mythology — the expansion of the railroads and the gun-toting violent loner — and gave them life as magical spirits fighting for dominion. . .

That I wanted more, despite this being nearly 500 pages, isn’t so much criticism as it is praise. And it is the reason why I’m eager to read the next book. Highly recommended.

(Edited and reposted because I screwed up formatting).

October 13, 2010

D-Day +1

Filed under: Uncategorized — felix @ 8:28 pm

There is a strange and ominous silence.

August 26, 2010


Filed under: Uncategorized — felix @ 10:43 pm

Good review from Publishers Weekly:

The Half-Made World Felix Gilman, Tor, $25.99 (480p) ISBN 978-0-7653-2552-5Gilman (Gears of the City) honors the beauty of the frontier while skewering the colonists who despoil it in this vivid wild west–flavored fantasy. At the western edge of the world, time and space behave oddly and monsters roam. Colonizers push west, enslaving the magic-using Hillfolk (a questionable stand-in for human natives) and bringing industry, religion, and war. The violence-loving followers of the Gun are slowly losing to the engine-worshippers of the Line; avoiding the conflict, psychologist Liv Alverhuysen treats and studies those driven mad by the Line’s noise bombs. Then a wily agent of the Gun kidnaps Liv and her patient, the General, whose broken mind holds a secret that can destroy the gods of both forces. Line drudges and machines pursue the trio into the titular unfinished lands. Though the story moves slowly, the lyrical descriptions of the harsh, dramatic, and mystical frontier compel the reader onward. (Oct.)

August 22, 2010

please like me

Filed under: Uncategorized — felix @ 9:38 pm

what I’m doing

Filed under: Uncategorized — felix @ 9:34 pm

I will not be at WorldCon in Australia.  This is a huge shame, because I like Australia, or at least the parts of it I’ve been to, and of course in the unlikely event that I win the Campbell it would be nice to be there for it, and it feels lame and a bit rude not to.  But there’s just no way I can make the time this year.

I will be at a thing for the New Atlantic Independent Bookseller’s Association on September 20th in Atlantic City.

I will be doing a reading of some kind at the Steampunk Indie Mart in Brooklyn on October 24.

I will be World Fantasy in Ohio on October 29-31 if at all possible.

I will probably be at Steamcon in Seattle on November 19-21.

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All written content copyright © Felix Gilman. The art is by Ross MacDonald.