Dead of Veridon by Tim Akers

The very idea of recommending summer reading to steampunks seems a bit odd. It conjures images of those cumbersome full body swimsuits of bygone years; while such swimwear might drag one straight to the bottom, it also eliminates the need to apply sunscreen.

Nevertheless, I suppose if one was thinking of steampunk reading for the beach, in bikini or bloomers, they could do far worse than Tim Akers’ Dead of Veridon.

Summer reading, by my own definition, should be light reading. The beach is not the place for Proust. (I’m dubious as to there being any place for Proust, but that’s another discussion.) The beach is where I read Clive Cussler, Stephen King, and stacks of Conan, and Doc Savage paperbacks. So when I recommend Dead of Veridon, I hope you’ll understand that I’m not endorsing it as the best bit of steampunk fantasy I’ve ever read, or even read this year. That said, I found it an engaging, page-turning read, despite some shortcomings that only bother pretentious academics.

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  1. If there was an ebook, I would be reading it now. Lost sales for Solaris...

  2. i've jumped into your blog from gail carriger's site, very nice job, now i'm a follower too!

  3. Welcome on board, Hob03!

    No ebook? That's unfortunate, true. More of the growing pains of the e-book industry.

  4. Solaris contacted me and said that the ebook of this and Heart of Veridon should be up within the next two weeks.

  5. I picked up Heart of Veridion last summer on the strength of its opening--how can one go wrong kicking things off with a catastrophic zeppelin crash (i.e. Arcanum)? Unfortunately, I didn't find the rest of the book lived up to the opening's potential. Your point about essentially hardboiled yet curiously inconsistant characters is well observed. Heart of Veridion's Emily, as Jacob Burn's love interest, oscillates almost at random (or would that be at convenience?) between a tough Hooker-with-a-Heart-of-Gold and vulnerable Damsel-in-Distress, and suffers the obligationary tragic ending.

    The plot, from what I can recall, was an interesting mash-up, combining the the Unstoppable and Relentless Monster angle of Perdido Street Station with the politically-minded cabal of Glass Books of the Dream Eaters. In spite of this, or perhaps more accurately because of it, it seemed somewhat derivative. Come to think of it, there were several moments in the novel strongly evocative of Perdido--the extensively restructured crime boss comes first to mind, being an outwardly tamer but inwardly more alien version of Motley. Nonetheless, there are moments of truly compelling worldbuilding going on. I'll not provide any spoilers, but finding out what exactly lies at the heart of Veridion is downright eerie.

    Hopefully some of these strengths have carried over into the sequel--the excerpt of which has, I must say, piqued my interest. I may have to give Akers another shot. If the worldbuilding is of the quality you suggest, one can only hope that the Burn Cycle is building steam (no pun intended--Akers seems to prefer cogs) as it unfolds.

  6. Daniel, thanks for the great thoughts on Heart of Veridon! If you ever want to write a guest post for Steampunk Scholar, let me know! And I agree with the Perdido derivation, but I think Perdido stands as the pinnacle of secondary world Steampunk, against which others are measured. I also note you're a local Edmontonian! Do you play pen and paper RPGs as well?

  7. You've probably seen me around campus a few times--I'm an English major at MacEwan.

    And yes, I'm into PnP RPGs. My current group uses DnD 3.5, though I'm familiar with a few other systems.


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