Monday, July 18, 2011

Arcadia Snips And The Steamworks Consortium by Robert Rodgers

Mad math and science are afoot in the 19th century in the city of Aberwick.  There are tales of mad scientists who caused the fire that never ends and flying machines and machines that can not only do calculations but talk machine to machine without human intervention.  All these inventions are centered around the Steamworks Consortium, and the populace is unsure if the Consortium is a force for good or evil.

The most maligned name in the annals of mad scientists/mathematicians are the Daffodil family.  The grandparents were mad, and the grandmother lives in an asylum still.  Their son and his wife were credited/blamed with losing an hour of time with all the tragedies that entailed.  The current generation, William Daffodil, works at the Steamworks and tries to remain under the radar and live down his family's reputation.

But something is afoot.  There are stirrings of a plot, a plot that will be worse than anything that has gone before.  The forces of evil are arrayed against the forces of good.  These include Daffodil, an intrepid feminist named Miss Primrose, a madman who runs a detective agency and Arcadia Snips.  Born into a mad scientist family, Arcadia ran away at an early age to make her way on the streets.  She is a vagabond, a thief, and perhaps the savior of all mankind.

Robert Rodgers has created a rollicking steampunk tale of high adventure.  Steampunk is defined in Wikipedia as "a sub-genre of science fiction, alternate history, and speculative fiction that came into prominence during the 1980s and early 1990s. Steampunk involves a setting where steam power is still widely used—usually the Victorian era Britain—that incorporates elements of either science fiction or fantasy. Works of steampunk often feature anachronistic technology or futuristic innovations as Victorians may have envisioned them; based on a Victorian perspective on fashion, culture, architectural style, art, etc. This technology may include such fictional machines as those found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne."

Those readers who have wondered what steampunk literature is all about will be interested to explore it in such an accessible work.  Fans of high adventure will be delighted with all the action, while those interested in finding new and admirable characters will fall in love with Arcadia Snips, an unlikely heroine who is unforgettable.

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