Today I have a new book to review for you. Technically, I’m supposed to post this on June 8th, as part of their “blogsplosion” release party, but Tuesday is Lolita Theresa’s day, so I’m posting a day early.
As part of their big online release party, Quirk has some prizes and mayhem planned. Starting tomorrow, June 8th,you can long onto their message board mention Steamed! and you can win one of 25 prize packs filled with Quirk books, posters, and more. Who doesn’t like prizes and books?
Android Karenina by Leo Tolstoy and Ben Winters. On sale Tuesday, June 8, 2010 from Quirk Books. Book provided by Quirk.
The good folks at Quirk Books, who’ve brought you such classic mashups like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters have done it again. I bring you Android Karenina — Tolstoy Steampunk style.
This retelling of Tolstoy’s classic tale of love and betrayal brings us into an alternate version of 19th Century Russia full of amazing technology, adventure, and robots. Winters does an excellent job of blending the gloomy feel of Pre-Revolutionary Russia with futuristic technology and modernism creating a believable and interesting tale that feels familiar yet is deliciously different. The amazing illustrations only add to it.
From the very first line of the story we know we’re in for an adventurous romp through the genres. Functioning Robots are all alike; every malfunctioning robot malfunctions in its own way.
Like in the original, we follow the torrid affairs of Anna Karenina with Count Alexei Vronsky and Nikolai Levin with Princess Kitty Shcherbatskaya. This version adds a new layer–trouble brewing between man and machine and scientific revolutionaries who act against the upper-class. Our couples must use all their resources and technology to save their world in this sci-fi meets steampunk in this alternate classic.
The Iron Laws of Robot Behavior are well thought out and if you think hard enough could be an analogy for the socialist and moral laws governing our own behavior and what could happen if they’re broken. The interactions between the characters and their android companions are fun and some of the most creative bits in the story. Perhaps if Tolstoy had grown up reading Asimov he may have written something like this himself.