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Author Topic: While weeding out my bookshelves...  (Read 1585 times)
Snr. Officer
United States United States

"That is the Law. Are we not Men?"

« on: April 05, 2007, 02:52:41 am »

...doing a little spring cleaning, I came across a few gems that are worth mentioning:  Two Classics, two ripping tales, and one pretty good modern Steampunk story.  Thought I'd share:

The Classics:

The Prisoner of Zenda,  (Being the History of Three Months in the Life of an English Gentleman), by Anthony Hope (1894), This novel, set in Europe in the late 19th century; is the story of an ne'er-do-well Englishman who happens to be a very distant relative - and near-identical twin, to the uncrowned King of the Balkan Kingdom of Ruritania.  The hero happens to be visiting Ruritania at the time of the coronation, and finds himself embroiled in royal plots, assassination attempts, heroic fights and rescues, with lots of florid prose.  This story has been made into movies several times, the best on being the 1937 version starring Ronald Colman.

The Star Rover, by Jack London (1915),  This is a little known - and possibly the best - work of London's.  It is the story of a man, imprisoned in solitary confinement in a high-security prison under a particularly sadistic warden, who discovers the ability to visit past life experiences.  He escapes from his hellish existence by reliving his previous incarnations.  By the way, has anyone come across London's unfinished work, The Assassination Bureau?  I've heard of it, but have never seen it.

The Ripping Tales:

Dian of the Lost Land, by Edison Marshall (1930?).  This is a classic adventure story, about a brilliant young doctor who is shanghaied into joining an expedition searching for a lost civilization in Antarctica.  The doctor and the expedition's leader, an amoral ambitious scientist, find a flourishing Cro-Magnon culture in a hidden valley beyond the ice.  Much adventure follows.  My copy of this book is a 1966 paperback edition titled "The Lost Land", with pretty inferior cover art.  But the story is solid.

The Terrible Game, by Dan Tyler Moore (1956).  This is a cold war era adventure, in which the US and USSR are vying  to establish relations and gain a strategic presence in an isolated, semi-mythical Asian mountain country of Buranulke.  Buranulke has withstood invaders throughout the centuries, and has a tradition of requiring all visitors from the outside world play "the terrible game".  The protagonists, a young American agent, and an almost superhuman Soviet soldier, are sent to play the game and gain the trust of the Buranulke people.  I believe this story was first published in a serialized version in the Saturday Evening Post.  My copy is an old Berkely paperback, published in 1957 for a whopping 35 cents.

The Steampunk Story

The Peshawar Lancers, by S.M. Stirling,  is really a pretty good yarn.  It is set in an alternate Earth, which was ravaged by a series of meteor impacts during the reign of Queen Victoria.  The cataclysm resulted in a nuclear winter in the Northern Hemisphere, which forced the colonial empires to reconfigure and relocate the seats of government.  The British Empire is now centered in it's new capitol of Delhi, and technology development is still at the steam engine, rigid airship, level.  The story centers on the adventures of a young officer and his brilliant twin sister, and their efforts to thwart the plots of the Russian empire, and the death cult that controls it. 

Has anyone unearthed any other gems lately?

Blackadder: A man may fight for many things. His country, his friends, his principles, the glistening tear on the cheek of a golden child. But personally, I'd mud-wrestle my own mother for a ton of cash, an amusing clock and a sack of French porn.
La Bricoleuse
Snr. Officer
United States United States

Sartorial Engineer

« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2007, 03:24:53 am »

One i remember loving when i first read it: Jan Lars Jensen's Shiva 3000, in which Hindu culture collides with steampunk tech. Airships, obsessive inventors, crazy contraptions, an enormous gear-driven machine that roams out-of-control destroying cities in its path, a whole pantheon of reimagined gods, all kinds of creative ideas in this book. And an interesting side-note--apparently, the writing of it drove its author mad and he spent the five years subsequent to its publication institutionalized. I suppose that suggests a warning of "caveat lector" then, but i read it several years ago and i'm perfectly sane.  Huh Shocked
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2007, 04:09:58 pm »

The Steampunk Story

The Peshawar Lancers, by S.M. Stirling,

Thank you.  I'd browsed this book once, but never got a chance to read it and promptly forgot its title, author, etc.  Now I have some hope of finding it again.
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