Aurorarama

A startling, seductive literary novel that entwines suspense, science fiction, adventure, romance and history into an intoxicating new genre.1908 New Venice the pearl of the Arctic a place of ice palaces and pneumatic tubes, of beautifully ornate carriage sleds and elegant victorian garb, of long nights and vistas of ice.But as the city prepares for spring, it feels mA startling, seductive literary novel that entwines suspense, science fiction, adventure, romance and history into an intoxicating new genre.1908 New Venice the pearl of the Arctic a place of ice palaces and pneumatic tubes, of beautifully ornate carriage sleds and elegant victorian garb, of long nights and vistas of ice.But as the city prepares for spring, it feels like qaartsiluni, the time when something is about to explode in the dark Local poletics are wracked by tensions with the Eskimos circling the city, with suffragette riots led by an underground music star, with drug round ups by the secret police force known as the Gentlemen of the Night An ominous black airship hovers over the city, and the Gentlemen are hunting for the author of a radical pamphlet calling for revolt.Their lead suspect is Brentford Orsini, one of the city s most prominent figures But as the Gentlemen of the Night tighten the net around him, Orsini receives a mysterious message from a long lost love that compels him to act.What transpires is a literary adventure novel unlike anything you ve ever read before Brilliant in its conception, masterful in its prose, thrilling in its plot twists, and laced with humor, suspense, and intelligence, it marks the beginning of a great new series of books set in New Venice and the launch of an astonishing new writer.
Aurorarama A startling seductive literary novel that entwines suspense science fiction adventure romance and history into an intoxicating new genre New Venice the pearl of the Arctic a place of ice pala

  • Title: Aurorarama
  • Author: Jean-Christophe Valtat
  • ISBN: 9781935554134
  • Page: 318
  • Format: Hardcover
  • John W Campbell Memorial Award for Best Science Fiction The John W Campbell Memorial Award for Best Science Fiction Novel, or Campbell Memorial Award, is an annual award presented by the Center for the Study of Science Fiction at the University of Kansas to the author of the best science fiction novel published in English in the preceding calendar year It is the novel counterpart of the Theodore Sturgeon Award for best short story, awarded by the List of steampunk works Steampunk is a subgenre of fantasy and speculative fiction that came into prominence in the s and early s The term denotes works set in an era or world wherein steam power is still widely used usually the th century, and often set in Victorian era England but with prominent elements of either science fiction or fantasy, such as fictional technological inventions like those found

    1 thought on “Aurorarama”

    1. i wrote a review for this, already, for another source - michael isn't the only one who can cuckold a website! but so i haven't really wanted to write a whole new review, but i didn't think it was seemly to cut and paste the one i already wrote. and that blank spot has been tormenting me with its blankness i gotta write something a physical object, this book is gorgeous. and like anything gorgeous, it isn't going to give you its number at the end of the night. not unless you work little for it f [...]

    2. The bookgods are sometimes so good to me: I found this book (which I've been wanting to read forever) in a box on the curb near my apartment—a box which was otherwise full of computer coding manuals and broken picture frames and ugly shoes. I sometimes think that Brooklyn really wants me to read good things? Maybe that's an overly charitable view, but I don't care; optimism is my superpower.So anyway, Aurorarama. This book was nothing like I expected. It's a plot that would absolutely laugh at [...]

    3. Aurorarama is set in the city of New Venice, a marvel of architecture built in the Arctic in which steampunk technology prevails, crazy mind-altering drugs are tolerated and enjoyed by many, and dreams are sold as commodities to citizens in search of escapism and good times. At first blush, one might think that all is well in this Utopia on Ice, that nothing untoward could possibly happen. Not so. Revolution is afoot and, as far as I’m concerned, what shape this revolution will take is anybody [...]

    4. Described as "Jules Verne on drugs" with some justification, the book takes place in the fictional city of New Venice 450 miles from the N. Pole - "putting ice back in Ven*ice* " is one of the many wonderful plays on language in the book; literate, funny, a sort of "icepunk" alt-history with sex and drugs. Will add the full review tbd soon, but for now I would say that this is the best sf I've read in 2010 (full FBC rv below)INTRODUCTION: "1908: New Venice--"the pearl of the Arctic"--a place of [...]

    5. A Victorian, almost steampunk ice-crusted Viriconium, an frigid Gormenghast. New Venice is lodged somewhere in the Arctic Circle, surrounded by an elaborate Air Architecture which warms the city to a tolerable degree of frigidity, populated by elaborate architectural fancies and a mythological history. So many ideas are packed into this volume, many of them incorporating, contrasting, and clashing with Inuit philosophies which might as well be alien. The fact that people took the time to build s [...]

    6. Gave up. I not only stopped caring about the characters and the plot, I started actively rooting for everyone involved to be eaten by a polar bear, beginning with the author, s'il vous plait et merci beaucoup! It was time to stop reading.

    7. Enjoyed it, but I wouldn't term it a favorite, though there were some clever things &/or wording in there that I quite enjoyed, lots of nice historical touches too. Love, love the look & feel of the cover & endpapers -- a little artistic beauty in & of itself. (Leah, here on GR, posted a review & added a link to her blog w/ some fascinating info about the cover art. Check it out! Thanks, Leah!) Overall, I'd rate this book 3.5 stars.I guess I'd say it's a fantasy w/ dystopian [...]

    8. Non-steam steampunk? I believe Valtat calls his genre Teslapunk perhaps because so much depends on early and revolutionary use of electricity.Would it be too gauche to suggest that the emperor has no clothes? Valtat is an award-winning French science fiction author. This story, written in English, is praised by all the right and right-minded people, but all I can think is “I can’t believe I read the whole thing.” Did they?Undoubtedly Valat had fun twisting the words and ideas. If he couldn [...]

    9. Take a large measure of Jules Verne, for his late nineteenth century steampunk milieu and wild, individualistic adventuring, and mix in a heap of China Miéville, to add the fantastic fabulation that he does in that weird-fiction world. Stir in the spice of militant anarchism (remember, those ante bellum years were the heyday of anarchism!) and place the resulting dish on a bed of ice, to represent the arctic locale for the story.Now, throw the whole thing away and read Valtat's Aurorarama. Afte [...]

    10. So there was this bit on BBC World this morning about sexism in France.Explains the fact that female characters are cyphers in this book.Intersting idea and world building. But needs more character and plot.

    11. The reason people are having trouble reading this is because it isn't very good. It was okay for a fun novel of weird things happening, but this was sold to us as a "literary adventure." I think it aspired to be one, what with all it's quotes of uncertain origin and fancy Inuit words all over the place, but it didn't quite make it.The characters are a little too wooden for me to get behind, especially the women and the men's relationships to them. There are not one, but two amazingly unbelievabl [...]

    12. Halfway through, and there's already three manic-pixie-dream-girl characters. The fourth female character? Is dead.Okay, I finished it. The book creates an interesting world, but I can't help feeling like it was a sequel to a book I hadn't read, with references to past events in New Venice's history I'm not sure if the reader is supposed to understand or not.And the women? Two of them are literally hypnotized and used as pawns throughout most of the book (and bringing them out of their hypnosis, [...]

    13. Jeff VanderMeer mentioned Aurorarama on his blog a few months ago. I can't remember what he said about it, but the cover was pretty, and arctic steampunk seemed like an awesome idea, so I waited anxiously for the library to get it. After getting it from the library, I still think it's pretty, and I still think arctic steampunk is an awesome idea, but I can't say anything else. I tried to read it a few times (I read a few chapters, abandoned it for a few days, got hopelessly confused when I came [...]

    14. A utopian city stumbles under the weight of its lost ideals. A pair of once-great bohemian Articocrats drowse through their days, bored, drugged, and surveilled. A terrible past hovers over the pleasure-seeking inhabitants of the Arctic paradise known as New Venice, where winter nights never end and the omnipresent Council keeps an all-too-watchful eyeValtat has created a beautiful, solidly real world in New Venice, a society driving itself crazy with shut-in boredom, creating, using and throwin [...]

    15. I'm done with Jean-Christophe Valtat’s deleriously literary steampunk adventure Aurorarama. It’s a book brimming with ideas and wit; a fully realised alternate history of the arctic city of New Venice, 1908. The “poletics” are deftly observed - the city is slowly encroaching on the life of the native Inuit, and the sinister & authoritarian Council are clamping down on the riotous, drug-fuelled, auroral cultural scene as an anonymous radical pamphlet A Blast on the Barren Land begins [...]

    16. Oh boy. I really wanted to like this book -- and it does have some original, beautiful ideas. It really ultimately failed to live up to those ideas though. The women characters are so badly written that they read like parodies of misogynist writing, which made it really difficult to enjoy. "Jules Verne" on drugs is a really accurate description, actually. But it it's not a literary metaphor; reading this book is really like talking to someone on LSD who just watched that Werner Herzog movie abou [...]

    17. Yes, this book took me a month to read. I finished it out of sheer cussedness - and so that, if I posted a less-than-glowing review, people wouldn't be able to convincingly tell me it got better. In Aurorarama, we have two main point of view characters, plus periodic appearances of an intrusive omniscient narrator. I rather liked the omniscient narrator, as it fit with the emulated time period. I hated Gabriel d'Allier. He's a terrible person and (worse) not in any sort of interesting way. When [...]

    18. I both enjoyed and was disappointed by ‘Aurorarama’. It was magnificent and ambitious in scope, but failed in several significant ways. The scene of events is New Venice, a magnificent confection of a city located inside the Arctic Circle, north of Canada. The time is around the end of the 19th or beginning of the 20th century. The city is undergoing some political upheaval relating to circulation of a forbidden book, dissatisfaction among the native Inuit, and a black airship that hovers om [...]

    19. This is a hard book to review. This are well done things in it and not so well done. A reasonable size city sits very far north. On the surface the city functions quite well, but trouble is brewing. Ultimately this is a dystopian novel but that aspect only shows up late in the book. The world building is OK but takes way too long. The characters are nice but quite confusing for most of the book. Where the story is left at the end hints of future promise in the story line, but who knows.

    20. This is one of the strangest books I've read in years, not only from the standpoint of plot, but also from the uneven writing style. If the first 50 pages seem Baroque, overwritten, and almost intentionally opaque, it's not just you, and it doesn't stay like that throughout: it evens out into a solid, although very odd, story. At times this reminded me of Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy, and at other times, of Chabon's The Jewish Policemen's Union, but mostly it felt like an arctic steampun [...]

    21. I really liked this book but I think it is only going to be liked by certain people. It reminded me of "Sleep no more," the New York performance art piece where you wander around and experience thingsot being less important than being immersed. Also reminded me of "The Night Circus" (but much better). You've got to sit back and relax and allow yourself to be confused. I probably read 100 pages before I got my bearings. In a good way. Every character has a personality, and there is a plot though [...]

    22. With Zelazny-esque strangeness Valtat constructs a layered, poetic New Venice, a city of ice and bacchanalia. While I loved the setting and verbosity of the novel, the plot did not move me. Still, this neo-Romantic artifact is teeming with myth, mystery, 'poletics' and a certain amount of philosophy. I adore indie publishers precisely because of books like this. My favorite bit?“I thought you were real Anarchists,” Brentford said, surprised at his own disappointment and suddenly worried that [...]

    23. Valtat’s Aurorarama is a sui generic creation filled with bizarre and loopy humor, dreamlike images, and a playful skewering of literature and history. A combination of its dreamy style, Valtat’s use of English (he is French writing in English for the first time), complex plot and a large cast renders much of this hard to follow and to be honest a little incomprehensible, but push through and it will be mostly worth it. Lots of stuff gets pulled together here, Pynchon( Against the Day seems [...]

    24. This was more like a 2.5 for me. My hopes were high because I heard this was the "adult Golden Compass," but I also almost expected to be disappointed because it could never be as good.There were 8 or 9 knockout sentences and a few breathtaking paragraphs, even, but the plot didn't start intriguing me until more than 2/3rds of the way through. Once it picked up, it was highly entertaining, though. I was much more interested by one of the main characters than the other, and- maybe it was just me- [...]

    25. I picked up this book looking for something fun and interesting, and it was a bit of both of those things, but left me feeling 'meh.'While there are some intriguing ideas in the book, I found the story jumbled and dull. I never cared particularly about the characters or the plot. It wasn't immersive enough to really take me somewhere, and it didn't move along quick enough to hold my attention. And there was all that annoying, jargon-filled, self-referencing "steampunk" bullshit. Although the end [...]

    26. Volume one in "The Mysteries of New Venice" trilogy is a steampunk epic about life, love and political collapse in New Venice, the utopic/dystopic city run on steam power at the heart of the North Pole. Valtat is French intellectual and literary author of renown, but it is steampunk that is his passion. This is a strange, wonderful book that celebrates and innovates within the genre. The appended essay defending the steampunk movement is incredibly potent. It is based on the essay Valtat wrote f [...]

    27. I didn't finish this book. It made me sad to give up on it, but there were no characters to speak of. There were male people, but they just seemed to drift about aimlessly and seem secretive. The women were even worse, with fluffy manic pixie dream girl-types thick on the ground, but no real women of any kind. I loved the world-building, but what is the point of a beautiful world with only cardboard cutouts to populate it? I read some other reviews, and it seems that that aspect never gets bette [...]

    28. This book is basically not worthy of my time. As many reviewers note, the world building is great. Yet, amazing novels come about because a concept isn't just that. It is something with either robust characters or a strong plot. This book has neither. Add in a remorseless rape, and I'm pretty much done. I got a hundred pages into this and felt I would prefer to spend my time elsewhere.

    29. If you think that polar crime fiction set in another otherworldly world near the North Pole is hard to resist like I did, I suggest you take a deep breath and resist. I so wanted to like this book since it has everything that I would normally love, but instead it just felt flat and as if you were reading the bad sequel to a novel you hadn't read.

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