Monday, December 10, 2012

The Rise of Ransom City by Felix Gilman

Harry Ransom has entrusted Elmer Merrial Carson in sharing his story. It arrived in pieces -- sometimes incomplete, prompting Carson to go to great lengths to track down the missing pages. But this is it, in Ransom's own words. He recounts his adventures and antics beginning with his childhood years, the Ransom Process and his travels to Jasper City, and his sometimes heroics. Ransom's biggest hope is that his name will be known. 

The Rise of Ransom City is a companion to Felix Gilman's The Half-Made World. In fact, fans of that first book will notice that Ransom crosses paths with Liv and Creedmore in the first part of his tale. No worries if you have yet to read Half-Made World, Rise of Ransom City serves as a great intro to Gilman's created world.

It is a world in which two rival forces -- the Gun and the Line -- have been warring for quite some time. It is also a world that somewhat resembles ours at the end of the nineteenth century, but in Gilman's world there are the Folk and there's magic and, of course, the Gun and the Line.

Gilman's style and world building are quite amazing. The Rise of Ransom City is funny and engaging and the story moves along at a swift pace, all of which makes this book quick and entertaining. I'd also bet that it leaves more readers than just myself begging for more of Gilman's (or Ransom's) world. Fortunately for myself, I've yet to read The Half-Made World, which means I get to return very soon!

Because this is Ransom's story, and it is told through Ransom's "writings," the glimpses of this world through Ransom's eyes are sometimes quite brief. It makes for an interesting perspective but it also leaves the reader wondering about quite a bit of the world's history and mythos. This, perhaps, is where reading The Half-Made World first would be a benefit. I prefer Gilman's method, however, in that while I personally would love to know more about the Gun and the Line and the Folk and such, there's no massive info dump to worry about. Instead, pieces of the world's mythos are gleaned through Ransom's story and I trust that I'll learn more through Gilman's other installments.

Fans of quirky fiction, fantasy, and/or steampunk (and likely weird westerns, too) are sure to enjoy The Rise of Ransom City.

One add-on, this "Letter From Harry Ransom" came through the Tor newsletter today. Enjoy!

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