Monday, December 2, 2013

More Weird West

Last year, I recommended Felix Gilman's The Half-Made World and the (free online) short-story "Lightbringers and Rainmakers" set in that same setting. The sequel The Rise of Ransom City brings together the characters in the two previous works to put an end to a disastrous war between the oppressive order of the Line and their steampunkian AI masters, and the violent chaos represented by the Gun and their outlaw agents to whom they granted superhuman abilities.

Rise of Ransom City purports to be the edited form of the autobiography of self-educated inventor Harry Ransom, and so it's first half is his early life and travels in the West. Some readers might become impatient before the dangling plot from The Half-Made World finally surfaces. Still, there's a lot of color and travelogue in the early chapters that might be of particular interest to gamers. We learn for instance that: "Ford was also haunted by a Spirit that resembled ball-lightning and darted up and down Main Street at dusk, causing strange moods in women" and "dope fiends littered the streets of Caldwell, basking like lizards in the summer heat."

We don't get as much insight into the inner workings of the Gun and the Line as we got in the in the first novel, but we get more details about how their viewed by the rest of humanity and how they interact. I wish Ransom had given us more tidbits on infamous agents of the Gun from The Captains of Crime: Their Glorious Lives and Their Ignominious Ends that he reads from at one point.


Jack Guignol said...

Oooooh, I didn't know this had come out.

Porky said...

It's good fun reading books in books in itself too I think, or even just stories in stories, to really get immersed. The Golden Notebook is a good example being talked about quite a bit at the moment, and Lord Jim always comes to mind as a satisfying example with a lot to offer adventure gaming.