Friday, November 16, 2012

Book Review: The Chronological Man

The Monster in the Mist (A Chronological Man Adventure)  by Andrew Mayne
I bought this book for my Kindle because it was a steampunk book and it cost $0.99. And then two months later I read it and was surprised to discover that it was quite good. In 1890s Boston, Miss April Malone has a strange job. She goes to work everyday and sits in a room by herself. She gets requests to read a lot of different things, attend lectures, feed punch cards into things, and keep the coffee pot full. One day, after two years of this, a vault door in her workroom opens and a man called Smith appears and they go off to investigate a series of disappearances. The story is instantly engaging because it's so strange and mysterious. The mysterious "Smith" is at least 80 years old, but still young, and he seems to have been in the cellar the whole time, until the calculating machines decided it was time to wake him up. April is his "computer" due to her extraordinary recall. Without really any more explanation they proceed to investigate why people have been vanishing into heavy mist around the city. 

Smith is fairly obviously influenced by Doctor Who, so much so that I can't picture him as anyone other than the 10th Doctor. But I have read a lot worse ideas than "someone pretty much exactly like the 10th Doctor is in 1890s Boston and there are monsters and weird science and a smart and awesome female assistant." Who or what "Smith" is isn't exactly addressed in this novella, but I'm certainly ready for the sequel.

The Martian Emperor (A Chronological Man Adventure) - This was not a disappointing sequel at all. There's a lot of adventure and mystery packed into this novella when the mysterious Smith and his assistant April Malone have to get to the bottom of an apparent Martian invasion of Earth. With appearances from Teddy Roosevelt and Harry Houdini, this continues the steampunk fun of the first volume. Honestly you cannot beat these stories for the price. I would love to see more.

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