I originally wrote this February, 2011 on a different blog, but decided to repost it here.
Lyra and Iorek
This week I read the entire His Dark Materials series. I started with Golden Compass idly at about ten last Sunday just to give me something non-work-related to do before I went to bed. I finished the Amber Spyglass yesterday evening sometime. I put aside work and school and sleep (I slept in my office one night to get more reading time) and to some extent eating as I read through the series.
Note from Reece: this is a guest post by one of my friends, explaining his position in a running debate between ourselves.
That's how you know a book isn't worth reading; if it's got gears on the cover.
A close friend of mine and I have a running bet on the nature of steampunk. I think the premise of steampunk as a genre is inherently flawed whereas my friend thinks the genre has potential to be good, if done right. It seems like a somewhat unfair bet; If he can provide one example of a good and well written steam punk novel he wins the debate, while I can only be right if from now until the end of time no one ever creates a steampunk masterpiece.
A close friend of mine and I have a running debate on steampunk. He thinks it's an inherently flawed genre, whereas I think it's a genre with the potential to be good, if done right.
I've been trying to prove him wrong, to little avail.
The heart of steampunk, from what I can tell, is the fantastical machines. Clockwork androids, aether flux shields, steam rifles and bicycle-powered flying machines. It's about a future that might have been, where mechanisms were just slightly less complicated and inventors only slightly more brilliant and insane. With a hammer, some wrenches, and a lathe, the dedicated professor can pound out some incredible piece revolution of precision engineering. It attempts to capture that era of uncertainty and excitement that surrounded the huge technical advancements of the 19th and 20th centuries. Any thing could have been made, anything could have been discovered; the world was young and large and waiting to be explored.
That is a good setting for a genre. It has so much potential.
Sadly, I've found very little that really captures it.