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The Affinity Bridge Paperback – 1 Sep 2008

3.3 out of 5 stars 64 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Snowbooks; paperback / softback edition (1 Sept. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1905005881
  • ISBN-13: 978-1905005888
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.5 x 12.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 381,059 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description

Review

'Automata, clattering railway carriages, hansom cabs and 'pea soupers', gas lit streets and the doffing of caps, gruff policemen, mad scientists, arrogant industrialists, seances, pentagrams, addictions to laudanum and a few ravening zombies...Mann is at the forefront of the new generation of UK genre movers and shakers' --SFRevu.com

'Fans of Alan Moore's work will likely enjoy Mann's depiction of Victorian asylums, slums, aristocratic soirees and things that go bump in the night' --Strange Horizons

'An enormous pile of awesome'; Chris Roberson, World Fantasy Award finalist and Sidewise Award Winner. 'Mann's imagination has clearly run wild in this quirky and well realised version of the world, and this is no bad thing!It's fun, it's exciting, and Mann has a very agreeable hand that's easy to appreciate!He has a sharp talent for writing and a surplus of enthusiasm for the genre' SCIFI Now 'The author does a superb job of recreating nineteenth century London...a thoroughly engaging story!Excellent world building; captures the Sherlock Holmes feel; never a boring passage. Bottom line: A hugely entertaining book. 4.5 out of 5.' SF Signal. 'I absolutely loved it' Lou Anders --Various

About the Author

George Mann is the Consultant Editor of Solaris Books, the major SF/Fantasy imprint of BL Publishing/Games Workshop. He is the editor of The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction and The Solaris Book of New Fantasy and the author of The Mammoth Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (Constable Robinson), The Human Abstract (Telos), The Severed Man (Telos) and The Child of Time (Telos, with David J. Howe). His short stories have appeared or are due to appear in venues such as Black Sails, Apex Digest, Triquorum and an anthology of Doctor Who stories. He regularly attends the major science fiction and fantasy conventions in both the UK and the US. He lives near Grantham with his wife and son.


Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Recipe for a steampunk novel: You will need:

1 victorian London - present.
A variety of steam-driven machines - present.
Several improbably capable clockwork automata - present.
Lots and lots of airships - check.

But:

1 involving 'ripping yarn' of a plot - missing
several interesting characters - absent
plenty of atmosphere - nope
a handful of plot twists the reader can't spot a mile off - uh uh.

This just doesn't work.

Dialogue: others have noted the dreadfully non-victorian dialogue; here's another example: people in the nineteenth century didn't say "How the devil are you?" - that's what modern people say if they are pretending to be cod-victorians.

Scene-setting: I never once believed I was in victorian London - even a steampunk version of it. There's no scenery, no colour, nothing to put me in the place. Compare Pullman's Sally Lockhart stories for how to do that really well.

Technology: I'm not convinced Mann knows his history of science and engineering. An example: one of the main characters goes back to her apartment and lights a gas grill to make some toast. In 1901? Not (completely) chronologically impossible, but it's hugely unlikely, and certainly unusual enough for it to be commented on in the text, if the writer had realised that and wasn't just being lazy.

He also never really talks about the way technology has changed society, except in banner-waving statements about clockwork robots putting people out of work, and that's never examined in any more detail. So even the technology he does discuss comes across as a two-dimensional maguffin - it's just 'Oo look! There's a steam taxi! Right, on with the plot.
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Format: Paperback
This was my first experience of a steam punk novel, not sure if it will be my last. The story revolves around the the investigation into an airship crash in Victorian London, with zombies clockwork robots and glowing ghostly policeman thrown in for good measure. heading up this investigation is the partnership between Sir Maurice Newbury and his female assistant Hobbes.

Now obviously the main protagonist has to have a major failing, he just wouldn't be a detective if he didn't have some failing. In this case it is an addiction to laudanum. Here in lies my first problem with this book, why does he have to have an addiction, especially laudanum, this seems to de the drug of choice for Victorian detectives.

Secondly, everything bar the Kitchen sink is thrown into the mix, secret meetings with the monarchy, clockwork powered robots, a slightly dubious scientist, a power mad business man, and lets not forget fog shrouded streets of London. Yet for all these things Mann, never to truly capture any sense or fell of Victorian London, regardless of its steam punk leanings. Reading this novel it was hard pushed to imagine the characters walking around London, even though all that was missing was a young boy shouting "shine your shoes guv'nor.

The novel read flat, at no point did I feel compelled to turn the page. Yet, this is where it becomes murky, would I recommend this novel to someone else, no I wouldn't, but will I buy the sequel, probably. There is a really good pulp novel sitting here, waiting to be edited and rewritten in to leaner more fast paced story. Hopefully the second novel sees a progression in the writing, with a few off the clichés thrown out in favour of some more original thoughts and ideas.

This novels deserve 2 and half outr of five.
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Format: Paperback
Like others I bought this on the strength of the excellent cover, having no knowledge of the author - and overall I enjoyed it. Whilst the characters and the setting are familiar and the debt to Sherlock Holmes etc is clear, thats OK with me - its SF! The plot is nicely put together, with everything from zombies to airships thrown into the mix and I can forgive any implausibilties such as the lead characters powers of regeneration.

There are the makings of a nice series here and the author knows it, eg references to other adventures such as the 'Hambleton affair'. I wish him luck. For me though the writing style was the real problem and never drew me in. Some of the dialogue really grated (eg "you can choose to help us or choose to create a situation for yourself" - in 1901?).

I can't recommend this book overall. I think the reviewer who classed this book as a missed opportunity pretty much summed it up. I hope that the author can round out the characters in future episodes, as the setting should give him plenty of room to play in.

I never thought that this book would be my first Amazon review. What prompted me was this: I can't be the first to wonder whether the reviewer Lou Anders is the same quoted on the front cover of my copy ("I absolutely loved it"), and thanked by the author in his acknowledgements. I feel that somehow he should have mentioned this in his review, if true.
1 Comment 19 of 20 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
I'm sorry to say that I've given this book two stars rather than one because I have, in fact, read worse.

Story-wise, it's mildly intriguing, though I made the mistake of not consuming it in one fell swoop, and, having once put it down, found I wasn't sufficiently invested in either the plot or the characters to get back into it. Neither grabbed me. After I made the second mistake of reading the end, I had no desire to wade through what I'd missed.

There are problems with this book that I found insurmountable:
- leaden prose
- boring bits describing people doing perfectly mundane stuff that contributes nothing to the flow of the story
- characterisation straight from the GCSE handbook of how to write stories
- obviously very quickly written

AND...

Well, this was the final nail in the coffin for me: disgraceful copy-editing. It would be disappointing to know that a writer didn't know the difference between loathe/loath, or hanger/hangar, may/might, or belie/betray - to pick just four examples - but to have such grotesque mistakes (and more) make it into print is simply shoddy. I'm an editor, and since my work is to ensure that the text I work with is as perfect as it can be before the public reads it, I feel insulted to be confronted with this ... thing... when I've actually paid money for it.

In the "About the Author" section of the book, we learn that "George Mann is the head of a major SF/Fantasy publishing imprint." Is it too cynical of me to wonder whether this had anything to do with this novel making it to the sales floor in such an unworthy condition?
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