the Little Red Reviewer

Archive for the ‘Mark Hodder’ Category

ARedSunAlsoRisesA Red Sun Also Rises, by Mark Hodder

published December 2012

where I got it: received ARC from the publisher












Aiden Fleischer is a conflicted man, more so than most men.  A young and sheltered priest who struggles with his faith, Aiden escapes an extortion scheme by signing up with the Missionary Society. Travelling with him, is his friend and housekeeper Clarissa Stark, whose engineering genius is matched only by her crippling disfigurement. Before long, Aiden and Clarissa find themselves on a remote island near the Solomon Islands, and Aiden begins his task of bringing the Lord’s word to the natives. Who aren’t the slightest bit interested. Also, they are cannibals.

During a ritual gone wrong (or maybe right?) Aiden and Clarissa are sent through a portal to an alien world, where strange insect-like beings welcome them with open arms. Apparently the islanders have been coming here for years to work as servants for the aliens. After Clarissa accidentally falls into a sacred pool, the aliens, known as Yatsill, are able to read her thoughts and memories of London. Soon, the Yatsill are all speaking with almost Cockney accents, and attempting to wear the fashions of 1880’s London, which look ridiculous on their four-legged bodies.

The Yatsill are mimics, able to create and recreate their city, their homes, their language and their fashions to copy memories read from an Earthling’s mind. But they are still just imitating, going through the motions with no understand of what they are doing (Not unlike how Aiden goes through the motions of being a  man of faith, actually). A funny example is the British sounding names many of Yatsill adopt, such as Crockery Clattersmash, Prosper Possibly, and Mordant Reverie. Poor Aiden, he has to keep a straight face the whole time!

The details put into the Yatsill and their planet of Ptallaya are nothing short of astounding.  Hodder lets his imagination run wild, offering up lighter-than-air behemoths who crawl across the landscape by grabbing trees with their hands, huge fruits that hum, and sky scraping tentacled creatures.  Ptallaya itself, is in a unique spot in the universe, which causes all sorts of strange things to happen on its surface. For no other reason, read this for the aliens and their unique planet. Because the Yatsill are just the beginning of what Ptallaya has on offer.

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Expedition to the Mountains of the Moon (Burton & Swinburn #3) by Mark Hodder

published in January 2011

where I got it: received review copy from Pyr

why I read it: Highly enjoyed the first two books in the series, The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack and The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man.







Shortly after starting this book, I had two predictions. and I was right on both of them.

The year is 1863, but not as it should be.  Two decades of unrestrained genetic engineering and eugenics have nearly covered London with the giant hollowed out insects filled with steam powered machinery, foul mouthed messenger birds and fouler breathed messenger dog-things.  Sir Richard Francis Burton has always felt an outsider in London, but things are getting out of control, even for him.

After an attempt on his life, Burton is approached by Prime Minister Palmerston to return to Africa. The trip will be publicized as another attempt to find the source of the Nile, but in reality, Palmerston has tasked Burton with finding the African Eyes of the Naga.  The Eyes, black diamonds that fell as asteroids, had already been found in Cambodia and South America. Connected to an impossible myth, the shards of the diamonds can retain thoughts impressed upon them.  And Burton isn’t the only one searching for the Eyes.

But meanwhile, we have another story line happening.  It’s 1914, and in the trenches of a Great War far more horrific that the one in your history books, a man has lost his memory.  Befriended by a journalist who recognizes him, the man very slowly regains his memories. What he remembers is even more impossible than the Great War his eyes are showing him.

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Ahh, the smell  and feel of new books.  Even if they are only new-to-me.  Even if they came from the library and I have to give them back. They are still the physical object known as book, usually smooth on the outside by not always, often shiny and sometimes embossed.  Sometimes with print on three of six faces,  alluring cover art or none at all, dearest book thing how do I love you?

Allow me to introduce you to my latest aquirrings:

Terminal World, by Alastair Reynolds.

I didn’t have much luck with Reynolds’ debut novel, Revelation Space,  it was an “almost” book for me. Almost awesome, but not quite.  So when Terminal World was announced as my local SF group’s October read, I was excited to give Reynolds another shot. I’m about 100 pages in, and so far, so good!

The photo doesn’t do it justice at all, but the cover art is stunning. It’s embossed, so the light reflects of the artwork in all sorts of alluring ways.   and it’s got air ships!  Let’s see if I can get a decent close up of the cover art:

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Don’t forget, today is the last day to get in on the contest to win a copy of The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man,  book two in Mark Hodder’s steampunk/mad science Burton & Swinburne series.

Enter for the give away here.
Read my review of the book here.
Read my review of the first book in the series, The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack here.

Contest will close at midnight tonight, eastern standard time.  I’ll announce the winner tomorrow, so watch this space, and watch your e-mail!

The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man, by Mark Hodder

Published March 2011

where I got it: received ARC from the publisher

why I read it: adored the first book in the series, The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack, reviewed here.

Enter to Win a Copy of The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man, here. Contest is open until March 21.

Welcome to Victorian England, just not the Victorian England you know.  The Queen is dead (so perhaps I should call it Albertian England?), scientists are having a field day with steam powered inventions, eugenicists are having a ball with genetically modified foodstuffs and insects grown to obscene proportions and magic is real.  Well, not magic exactly, but mind control, astral projections, spiritualism, mediumistic techniques to read the future is all very, very real. And it all started back in 1837, when a certain someone had such very good intentions and tried so very hard to fix what had gone horribly wrong.

It’s now 1862, and Sir Richard Francis Burton and his assistant Algernon Swinburne have recovered from the Spring Heeled Jack Affair. The Technologist faction is under control, Isembard Kingdom Brunel has made his new life public, the British government is playing favorites regarding the American War between the states, and Burton continues to be bitter about being passed over for funding for African expeditions.    Although Hodder provides plenty of background information and these are fairly episodic adventures so far, I am reluctant to say you can read The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man as a standalone, as there is a overarching plotline that I believe will become more important than any one adventure.

Hodder  gets the action, adventure, and mystery started right off the bat. Burton and Swinburne investigate an abandoned yet beautifully constructed clockwork man in the middle of a public square, which leads to a theft of famous black diamonds, the untimely death of Charles Babbage, a disturbing  vision of Burton’s future, a homeless philosopher who seems to suffer from multiple personality disorder, the mythology behind the rest of the black diamonds, and a haunted estate. Oh, and fairies, whatever you do, don’t forget the fairies. Read the rest of this entry »

I feel like that should be the name of a hallmark channel movie, “a very shiny clockwork christmas”, or something, don’t you?

Anyways, thanks to the always friendly folks at PYR, I have a beautiful,  very shiny and very lovely copy of Mark Hodder’s The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man to give away.  It really is lovely, and that’s just the cover art! Just wait till you get a load of what’s inside!

Interested in winning a copy of this alternate history steampunk driven,  mad-science brimming,  genetically modified plants weaponized,  clairvoyance mind-control-ized mystery adventure full of twists and turns?  Of course you are!  Just leave a comment that you’re interested, along with a way that I can get in touch with you (website, e-mail, twitter, parakeet address, favorite local indie bookstore that you haunt, twitter handle for author you’re stalking, etc).

Contest is open till end of the day March 21, and the winner will be announced on March 22, the day the book is released.

This giveaway is open to anyone living on Earth. However keep in mind the further away you live from me (I’m in the continental US), the longer it will take for the book to reach you.

My review will be posted in the next little while, so stay tuned!

apologies for the fuzzy photo and hideous carpeting.

seriously, who scheduled me to work on a Friday!?  Raise your hand, I want to glare at you!

however, for those of you who are not raising your hand, here are some goodies for you.

Filed under Totally Awesome, we’ve got

Doctor Who premiers on BBC America on April 23rd at, umm, check your local listings. Or you can attempt to navigate the annoyingly flash heavy and painfully photoshopped BBC America website. That site’s got a lot of weird mumbly jumbly time travelly floaty stuff going on. (now read that paragraph out loud in your best Amy Pond voice, you know you want to)

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Because I have a digital camera and I know how to use it!  (Ok, I sort of know how to use it)

I’ve still got The Wolf Age by James Enge and Mountains of Majipoor by Robert Silverberg topping the TBR list,  but here are some new goodies on deck, double deck, and triple deck for the next little while:

There’s something in that photo that I’m super crazy excited about, can you guess what it is?  Hint: It’s from the friendly folks at PYR.

I hadn’t planned on buying Grey, but I recently read some good reviews of it, and it was on the dollar table at Bargain Books because the cover was a bit marked up.  Also from Bargain Books, the Ai Yazawa.  I’m undecided on Bargain Books – no service, but tons of random cheap stuff that’s usually in mint condition.   A consumer’s dream, or a nail in the coffin of my favorite independent bookseller?

Oh, and I got seduced by this too:

I just can’t help myself when it comes to Robin Hobb.  You’re looking at the Soldier Son trilogy,  book 1 of which I’m about 150 pages into.   I probably won’t read these books one right after the other, but I hope to get to all of them, eventually.

So If I don’t get (too) distracted by anything else in the next week or so, you should expect to see reviews of at least a handful of the stuff mentioned or  pictured in this post.

Behold!  LRR’s end of year listy thing!  (Yay peer pressure!)

Favorite book of 2010: Zoo City by Lauren Beukes.  Words can not describe how much I loved this book. It turned me into a blabbering fangirl.

Favorite newly discovered author of 2010Joe Abercrombie.  Okay, so his First Law trilogy was published before 2010, but I read, no, I devoured this trilogy during the second half of 2010.  this is the uncut good shit.

Best twist in a SF/F novel:  Mark Hodder’s Springheeled Jack. If you’ve read it you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t read it,  you still have a few days of vacation left, so what are you waiting for?

Favorite newly discovered character is a  Big ole tie between:  Joe Abercrombie’s Sand dan Glotka, Lauren Beukes’ Zinzi December, and Mike Resnick’s Doc Holliday. Me, have a weakness for tragic characters? no way!

Favorite graphic novel Rising Stars by J. Michael Strazcynski.  It’s not new, but it was new to me.

Favorite Manga:  Nana, by Ai Yazawa.  I love Shojo.  Who knew?

Book most looking forward to in 2011: Wise Man’s Fear, by Patrick Rothfuss

what were your favorites for 2011?

London: the 1860’s. Upperclass British gents fund explorations to Africa, Asia and beyond. Bored dilettantes drink wine, write poetry, and look for direction in their lives. The working class works tirelessly, and the upper class spends money like it’s going out of style.

Mark Hodder’s Victorian London isn’t exactly the London we know from history. The streets are clogged with smog belching penny farthings, and genetically modified domesticated animals carry messages across town. A technological revolution has come early, with the digital revolution fast on it’s heels. Arguing in the taverns are the Libertines and the Technologists, the former being both luddite and libertarian, and the latter filling the streets with their inventions as they push science further every day.

Mark Hodder writes a London that could have been, populated by people you might recognize. But this is who they could have been, who and what they might have become, had things been just a little different. The London of The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack isn’t known as the “Victorian Age”, because young Victoria was assassinated at the age of 20, and Albert became King. And every page is fantastically delicious, whether you know your British history or not.

A debate has been scheduled between explorers Sir Richard Francis Burton and John Speke, but it’s cancelled at the last minute, as Speke has attempted to kill himself. Soon after, Burton is attacked by a creature known as Spring Heeled Jack, and the creature bluntly tells Burton to sod off.

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FTC Stuff

some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.