thanks to Liviu Suciu at

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“Leviathan” By Scott Westerfeld

Introduction: I have read about this book somewhere online some months ago and it strongly intrigued me despite its YA bent. When its trailer linked above appeared, I got hooked and once I read an excerpt and found the prose enjoyable, the book became a buy and read on publication. And I have to say that “Leviathan” delivered all that I expected and more, the only complaint is that I have to wait for the sequel which is now a big asap book of (hopefully) 2010. In an alternate Earth cca 1914, where the Great Powers are separated in “Darwinist” and “Clankers” following the “real history” pattern, Charles Darwin discovered both evolution and DNA and he and his disciples learned to splice genes and create astounding animals that are now used in day to day life – will leave to the reader to find out more, but Leviathan of the title is just one of the superb creations of the novel.


On the continent, the German engineers built powerful machines and using the Darwinist inspiration for form and function, they built sort of mechanical analogues – kind of like a steampunk Star Wars kind.

When Franz Ferdinand is assassinated, his 16 year old son Alek becomes a hunted person and he tries to escape in a powerful “walker” with the help of loyal Count Volger and several retainers.

Young Deryn Sharp used to enjoy her “tomboy” life with her father, but when he dies in an accident, she seems destined to a “woman’s fate” unless with the help of her older brother Jaspert, junior officer in the Royal Air Force, she will manage to become “Dylan” Sharp and get admitted as a “midshipman”.

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Playing the angles on a world: Steven Brust’s Dragaera Dragaera’s a really cool world, and the publication of Iorich in January will be the seventeenth book set there. Seventeen is a pretty significant number for the Dragaerans, and for Brust, so even though I did a post on the Vlad books when Jhegaala came out, that was ages ago and it seems like a good time to do some re-reading. Brust tends to write books with seventeen chapters, or double-length books with thirty-four. The Dragaerans have seventeen Houses, and a cycle that gives each House power in turn—though all the books are set when the House of the Phoenix is due to give way to the House of the Dragon real soon now.

One of the things that makes Dragaera so real is that Brust has given us two different kinds of stories set there, which lets you triangulate on information in a way I really like. You get this with Cherryh too, but it’s unusual. It may also be what’s stopped Brust souring on the world and the series — there have been gaps between books, but he has kept them coming, seventeen books since 1983, as well as unrelated books. The series isn’t finished, but it is continuing pretty reliably, and there’s no sign that Brust’s tired of it.

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Very interesting books we have today, and I like the themes they are being based on. What do you think of these two books? Would you read them?