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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific Steampunk/fantasy novel.
Mark Hodder`s name is one that appears in just about every reference book about the Steampunk genre; this was my introduction to his work and what a marvellous novel it is...

Hodder takes a very mischievous, tongue-in-cheek approach to the Steampunk elements of his tale, sending up the conventions to a degree and soft-pedalling on some of the genre's excesses...
Published 15 months ago by J. Mcdonald

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Shows potential
If this novel came out in 1900 it would have been a sensation! It's faster paced than HG Wells and contains better ideas than Jules Verne. However..... in 2013 it's a bit of a mishmash. In many ways the author plays it straight. The book is not full of ironic commentary, knowing winks to the modern world, deliberate anachronisms, etc. That is to be welcomed and allows a...
Published 11 months ago by Enquirer


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific Steampunk/fantasy novel., 15 Jan 2013
By 
J. Mcdonald "Yelochre" (Glasgow, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Red Sun Also Rises (Hardcover)
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Mark Hodder`s name is one that appears in just about every reference book about the Steampunk genre; this was my introduction to his work and what a marvellous novel it is...

Hodder takes a very mischievous, tongue-in-cheek approach to the Steampunk elements of his tale, sending up the conventions to a degree and soft-pedalling on some of the genre's excesses. Though leavened with humour, the novel has at It`s heart a pretty serious, well thought-out plot concept - as one would expect of any good science fiction novel. He has a particular gift for description, conjuring up landscapes evoking Roger Dean-like vistas inhabited by creatures straight out of the illustrations of Frank R. Paul; that he has been able to combine such strands of fantasy with the Steampunk slant is impressive indeed, raising it above the current conventions of that genre; this is - I think - a book that should appeal to a broader base of science fiction/fantasy readers, not just the author`s Steampunk followers - which is probably Hodder`s intention - I shall have to read his Burton and Swinburne novels to make a fair judgement on that. There are little touches of satire, references that perhaps evoke Wells, Burroughs and Moorcock here and there and a rattling good adventure story into the bargain.

An entertaining, at times subtle and thought-provoking novel; well-paced, gloriously imaginative and deserving of a wide readership.
Recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Shows potential, 10 May 2013
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Enquirer (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Red Sun Also Rises (Hardcover)
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If this novel came out in 1900 it would have been a sensation! It's faster paced than HG Wells and contains better ideas than Jules Verne. However..... in 2013 it's a bit of a mishmash. In many ways the author plays it straight. The book is not full of ironic commentary, knowing winks to the modern world, deliberate anachronisms, etc. That is to be welcomed and allows a reader to get really involved in the adventure.

I found the first half really well-done in a Gothic 'steam-punk' kind of way. It was atmospheric, drew the characters well, and gave some meaningful motivation for their coming behaviour. There is some kind of choice in what happens to them. They are not like say, 'John Carter of Mars', just flung from one event to another, having the adventure done to him rather than by him. The early encounters with the cultures of Mars are well-drawn and show Mark Hodder at his best. I can see why he previously won the Philip K Dick award.

The second half is a different matter. The 3 stars above are based on 4 for the first half - and 2 for the second. First half is steeped in what has gone before in early Sci Fi, but is still fresh. Second half is derivative pastiche. The hero, Aiden Fleischer, even ends up in exactly the same bind as John Carter! First half has a disciplined plot development. Second half is all over the place. As a film it might work, since the second half lurches from set-piece spectacle to set-piece spectacle, followed by the messy Edgar Rice Burroughs style ending.

If you are already a fan you will not be put off. If you are unfamiliar with early Science Fiction and its sub-genres you may just take it as it comes. If you have spent most of your life on a diet of the best, you will be left slightly hungry.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Steam Sci Fi Ripping Yarn, 19 Feb 2013
By 
John W. Edelman - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Red Sun Also Rises (Hardcover)
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This is the first book I've read by Mark Hodder but I don't think it will be my last. Mr Hodder has woven a deceptive, intricate and exciting tale with fascinating characters, fantastical creatures and bewitching descriptions of an entirely "other" world. He manages to pull off writing in a pseudo Victorian style by subtly enabling the reader to suspend disbelief without being aware of this fact. I read a lot of Graphic Novels (well, alright, collections of Super Hero comics- sue me) and the experience of reading A Red Sun Also Rises is very much like one of reading a prose version of a great tale from Marvel in the sixties. Even the totally ridiculous names adopted by some of the characters early on are, after an initial jolt of disbelief, assimilated into the totally and wonderfully insane, but totally believable, within its idiom, world.
Hidden within are a couple of morality tales, the explanation behind a famous supernatural phenomenon and an allegorical story which could be applied to the history of most Western European Imperial powers of the 19th Century. All with a peppering of irony-I'm being deliberately cryptic in order not to spoil this exciting story.
Highly Recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good old-fashioned adventure, 17 Feb 2013
By 
A. Skudder (Crawley, West Sussex) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Red Sun Also Rises (Hardcover)
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Despite this being almost exactly what steampunk isn't, for some reason this has a very steampunk feel to it, possibly the mental picture of the Clarrissa Stark character in her thick goggles. Instead of the idea of a Victorian Britain having made some scientific advances early, what we have here is a story with no real anachronisms, just a normal Victorian missionary finding himself somehow transported to a strange alien planet and trying to make sense of it.

This is an old-fashioned adventure in a couple of ways. Firstly it concentrates on making a world that is self-consistant rather than one that is entirely plausible in strict scientific terms and is no less enjoyable for that. So it is a bit like a classic SF story from Wallace or Wells.

The other way it is old-fashioned is that it is framed as the discovered journal of the hero, and therefore entirely written in the first person. This sort of device, with its little preamble about how the document found its way to the author can be annoying if done badly, but in this case it works very well.

I have to confess that I hadn't heard of Mark Hodder before, but after this I will certainly be downloading a few of his other books.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Really didn't think I would like this! Surprisingly good Victorian sci-fi, 16 Feb 2013
By 
Mr. Roy Ellor "Roy Ellor" (Salford, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Red Sun Also Rises (Hardcover)
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This is the sort of book that sets out the stall for an author. Blazing along with idea after idea, throwing in Victorian vicars and alien telepaths together with a touch of steampunk imagery and some explosive action and we have the kind of book that once you start it's hard to put down.

Certainly it's one which starts in pastoral Victorian England, with a somewhat bipolar vicar and his disabled companion going off to minister in the new world. Except they end up on a new world. Touches of many other authors and their styles could be identified here, but the book is a blizzard of content that sometimes can be hard work to keep up with.

If you like fantasy mixed in with your science fiction, it's definitely one for your reading list. I'm currently on my second read (always a good sign) to catch what I missed first time round. Definitely enjoyable if a little too hard on the mental exercises the author puts you through at times, but many readers look for precisely that avalanche of ideas and concepts.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well red, 19 Jan 2013
This review is from: A Red Sun Also Rises (Hardcover)
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Faithless vicar Aiden Fleischer and his sidekick Clarissa Stark are assigned missionary duties on the island of Koluwai. From there they find themselves, by means of a strange ritual, transported to the alien world of Ptallaya. There they are picked up by a group of native aliens, the telepathic Yatsill who use their mimicry abilities to construct a vision of London based on Clarissa's memories.

What follows is a very readable and enjoyable mix of steampunk / fantasy as the two travellers try to make sense of their new surroundings and attempt to unravel the nature of the relationship between the Yatsill, their Blood God enemies and the island of Phrenadoor where the Yatsill believe their heaven to be.

It's unusual and a little silly in places (the aliens adoption of rather stereotyped upper class English language and silly names grated on me a little bit) but overall a cleverly done piece of writing that I very much enjoyed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars My occult fantasy obsessed teenage daughter couldn't get going with it, but my teenage son and I enjoyed it, 21 April 2013
By 
Keith_Joseph (West Berkshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Red Sun Also Rises (Hardcover)
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My 18 year old daughter really fancied this book as she and the heroine share the same name, and the cover looks a bit the books she really enjoys, such as the The Dresden Files, The Ask and the Answer (Chaos Walking), Wyrmeweald: Returner's Wealth and The Codex Alera series. However soon after the book started off with descriptions of world war two bombers and it became clear this is a book about aliens and alien worlds she lost interest (strange as she is a Dr Who fan'atic, books and all, liked Disney's John Carter of Mars, and has every single season of all the Star Trek TV series & movies). Still she thought it would be a book her 17 year old brother would like, so she passed it on to him.

Being, like me, a SteamPunk fan he rather enjoyed it, and rated it highly. In many ways the book has similarities with Edgar rice Burroughs's John Carter hero, in that it involves a Victorian gentleman priest Aidan Fleischer and his female companion Clarissa Stark being transported to a far away world called Ptallya, where they meet a strange race called the Yatsill. What's different perhaps is that the Yatsill have modelled Ptallya on Victorian London, so their planet with two suns and no night, is strange, alien but oddly familiar. Ptallya seems idyllic but Aiden and Clarissa sense something isn't right, plus Aidan has his own demons to fight. This book is well written, it's very surreal, and it's a bit of a love story as well. After reading it, my son and I thought the trip to Ptallya was one worth taking, so 4*.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superlative Science- Fiction, 9 Mar 2013
By 
Fantasy Lore - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Red Sun Also Rises (Hardcover)
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I began reading `A Red Sun Also Rises' with no knowledge of the author or his stories. What struck me from the very first page was the incredible precision and quality of the writing.

From the outset of this novel I was reminded of authors such as Stephen R. Donaldson and C. S. Lewis not only in respect of the poetic prose, but also in respect of the style and content; this story is so reminiscent to me of the style of those classic fantasy and science-fiction stories published in and around the 1960's and `70's. The novel feels completely out of its time, which is likely aided by the Victorian England setting. It's remarkable how the author has created this novel that feels completely rooted in the period with no hint of the future point in time from which he's writing. In my opinion this is a title worthy of the same recognition and praise awarded any of the other masterworks of the genre published in the last hundred years you care to name.

The story is not just well-written, it's also original, and with a cast of characters who are unique and amazingly well-drawn. I don't like steampunk (at least I haven't read a steampunk novel I've enjoyed) but this...I loved. The book starts brilliantly and then, after what I felt was a bit of a lull (during which the protagonist is portrayed as a weak and whimpering character that it is difficult to summon interest in) the story once again takes off and doesn't let you draw breath. This is as soon as the protagonist, Rev. Aiden Fleischer, emerges from his shell and begins to display all the heroic character traits you expect in an adventure of this type. From here on in it's a roller-coaster and he's ably assisted by his companion character, the engaging and fascinating Clarissa Stark.

As a result of the writing style and subject matter that some might term archaic, I would however suggest that this won't be a novel for everyone. This story is incredibly intelligent, layered with ideas. This analytical approach will to some readers no doubt make for dull reading. However for those readers willing to invest time in a story, it will be very rewarding.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A corking tale of derring do on an alien world., 13 Feb 2013
By 
marcoscu "marcoscu" (Chorley,UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Red Sun Also Rises (Hardcover)
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I love Mark Hodder and this might be my favourite of his to date. I was expecting another steampunk tale, but this is high Victorianesque, inter-planetary SF. It has more in common with HG Wells than Burton & Swinburn.

A Red Sun Also Rises is a first-person narrative, told by Aiden Fleischer, a weak and hopeless sort; a failed vicar turned useless missionary, who becomes a true and selfless hero on an alien world - A world whose civilisation has been, accidentally and unwittingly, completely re-modelled by his companion and former servant, the terribly crippled Clarissa.

It's a terrific story; unique and completely, wonderfully bonkers. The world-building is especially good, complete and well-imagined. The characterisation is superb, the aliens especially, with their caricature Bertie Wooster speech and absurd, Dickensian names - Colonel Momentous Spearjab, Mademoiselle Crockery Clattersmash, Lady Falldown Bruisebad - the good humour and likeability of all the characters is what sets this above others in this genre for me. There are deeper themes, too, a dose of subtle philosophy as Fleischer's questions his faith, his quest for good in an evil world as he searches for God in the evil around him.

I loved the smooth, neat, completely surprising ending - leading into a sequel? I hope so.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A missionary to aliens, 3 Feb 2013
By 
Paul Tapner (poole dorset england) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Red Sun Also Rises (Hardcover)
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A science fiction novel which is of the kind they used to make. In that it's complete and self contained in one short volume that runs for less than three hundred pages.

Which is a good start.

It's divided into twelve chapters. Plus a note at start from the writer. Which presents it as being a manuscript that was recovered from a sunken ship.

This turns out to be the story of a Victorian priest called Aiden Fleischer. Who thus narrates the whole thing in first person present tense.

Aiden was destined to become a priest. Of a small parish. But had doubts about his ability in the role. Then one day he meets a lady called Clarissa Stark. Whom is forced to wear goggles to protect her eyes, because of a past mishap. She becomes his sexton. The two of them are both intellectuals and enjoy great debates. But when he is forced to leave the parish and become a missionary, life takes both of them on a remarkable journey. First to London. Then a remote island. Then to an alien world.

The latter is a very strange place indeed. However, the presence of humans there has some unexpected side effects. And nobody, human or alien, will ever be the same again.

Being that this is meant to be the journal of a victorian man it is presented in a writing style akin to something of the time. Which does take a short while to get used to, but once you're into the first couple of chapters you do get hooked, and they are very readable.

The heart of the novel is the relationship between Aiden and Clarissa, and here it scores highly. The latter in particular being a sympathetic and appealing character from the off.

The alien world is as mentioned, downright alien, and here the novel scores highly for inventiveness. The victorian style and the total alienness of the place does mean that it then does start to get a bit involved at certain points, and you will need to give the prose your full attention from the beginning of the second half of the book as a result, otherwise some things might pass you by.

Not quite five star material because of that, but it's a book to be admired and one with great promise in the writing. So it's well worth a look.
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A Red Sun Also Rises
A Red Sun Also Rises by Mark Hodder (Paperback - 16 Jan 2014)
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