I am presently finishing the steampunk novel Flaming London by Joe R. Lansdale, the continuation of his previous story, Flaming Zeppelins. If you know about the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen series, you will be familiar with the genre’s quirks: mixing the historical setting with futuristic and even supernatural elements. This book is a light and easy read with an all-star cast filled with adventures. I particularly enjoy the inclusion of Mark Twain as one of the heroes of the story (along with a talking seal, Ned, and fellow author Jules Verne, to only name a few). Being a humanitarian with a sharp wit and tongue, Mark Twain is a great addition to any team looking to save 19th century Earth, in this case from invading Martians!
This is not the first time Mr. Twain has been tasked with saving the world though; in Matt Fraction’s graphic novel The Five Fists of Science he enlists the help of scientist Nikola Tesla and Nobel Peace Price recipient Bertha Von Suttner in a scheme to bring about world peace (through the use of giant automatons…makes sense, right?) and defeat the nefarious plans of none other than J.P. Morgan and Thomas Edison (as well as Andrew Carnegie!?).
Both titles combine humour, retrofuturist inventions, and large casts of well-known fictional and historical figures of the later 19th century. A word of warning, these are not children’s stories as adult themes are present throughout both books.
In other news, new audio interviews have been added to the “Voices of the North End” website. This week you can listen to present and former Winnipeg Northenders discuss their lives and experiences in the neighbourhood. Check it out!