The Dream of Perpetual Motion
Imprisoned for life aboard a zeppelin that floats high above a fantastic metropolis, the greeting-card writer Harold Winslow pens his memoirs. His only companions are the disembodied voice of Miranda Taligent, the only woman he has ever loved, and the cryogenically frozen body of her father Prospero, t...more
Starred Review. Palmer's dazzling debut explodes with energy and invention on almost every page. In a steampunky alternate reality, genius inventor Prospero Taligent promises the 100 kids he's invited to his daughter Miranda's birthday party that they will have their "heart's desires fulfilled." When young Harold Winslow says he wants to be a storyteller, he sets in motion an astonishing plot that will eventually find him imprisoned aboard a giant zeppelin, the Chrysalis,
That said, this is a str...more
If you were to get a giant literary blender, combine equal parts from Shakespeare's The Tempest with the steampunk genre, add in a little Jules Verne, a little Franz Kafka, and the tiniest dash of Ovid, you'd get something that roughly approximates this novel. Probably one of the more unusual books I have ever read, The Dream of Perpetual Motion is probably also one of the most lyrically elegiac novels I have ever read.
The story primarily focuses on three...more
It can’t be un-read. Dexter Palmer’s _The Dream of Perpetual Motion_ promised, on the back cover, to be “beautifully written, stunningly imagined, and wickedly funny… a heartfelt meditation on the place of love in a world dominated by technology,” not to mention “gorgeously surreal… exhilarating, passionate, enthralling… constantly turning, giving off more energy than it receives, its movement at once beautiful and counterintuitive.”
I should have known that was too many adjectives. It turned ou...more
BEWARE! There are spoilers in this review, because I cannot express how wrong this book is without revealing critical details.
Palmer weaves elements of Shakespeare's _The Tempest_ into the book, but in a nonsensical, non-meaningful way. Prospero, Miranda, and Ferdinand all show...more
It was very poetic. It captures a sense of personal, an intimate journey into the fantastic. Not realistic at all. A certain type of reader will hate this sentimentality.
There's a scene where her father is making the unicorn for her, it was powerful and graphic, unexpected. He has a horse and he's drilling a hole in its head and putting the horn on, and saying something like "Be careful what you wish for". It's been a...more
It’s not what I expected- the cover promised an airship (which was provided, sure enough), mechanical men (ditto) and an alternate, Steampunk-ish history (once again, provided). I expected adventure from this, but this was not provided.
It’s not an adventure novel at all; it’s part reworking of ‘The Tempest’, part philosophy, and part sociology all with a thi...more
Shakespeare’s The Tempest set in a Steampunk world while Shakespeare was on a bad trip.
Mr. Palmer draws heavily on The Tempest in his novel, I also recommend everyone to get themselves at least somewhat acquainted with the plot of The Tempest and the protagonists and their role. Knowledge about this play adds a lot to the...more
The Tempest is one the most potent of Shakespeare's plays. The idea of the singular genius, living apart from the rest of humanity despite, or perhaps because of his unique gifts. An innocent, sheltered daughter of that genius, kept from the world. Caliban, who believes he is heir to Prospero's holdings and powers. Dark secrets. Hidden abilities. The conflict between the private and the public. The meaning of humanity.
Is it any wonder that it makes for strong meat for subsequent wr...more
I liked that this book made me think. I like the thing it made me thin about... the place of love in a world full of technologie... the ways in which the rituals of love change... the ways in which they don't...
I recently read "The fault in our stars" and I've been thinking about what it means to be a hero. And I think that th...more
This steam-punk novel is narrated by Harold Winslow, a writer for a greeting-card company. The story alternates between the first and third person as Harold writes to his imaginary reader in...more
"Imprisoned aboard a zeppelin floating high above a steampunk metropolis, greeting card writer Harold Winslow is composing his memoir. His companions are the only woman he has ever loved and the cryogenically frozen body of her father, the devilish genius Prospero Taligent.
Amidst a world where deserted islands exist within skyscrapers, where the...more
Although it is not the worst book that I ever read, Palmer's debut novel fails on so many levels. It manages to try to do too much, while managing to accomplish nothing....more
The book in and of it self is not bad really, it's just in terrible need of some serious editing which, my understanding is, it's not going to get...
I will only say that this book will probably appeal more to mainstream readers. If you're a...more
Though I must say it's not the worse book I've ever read, I mean there are much more time wasting books I...more
I was wandering around Barnes and Noble earlier this month, and ran across the trade paperback in the fiction department. It looked interesting, so I picked it up. When I got home I set in on my desk and a couple of days later went to add it to my book database only to discover that I already had a copy. Unfortunately this is not all that uncommon an occurrence. So I went down to the library an...more
The story is told from the point of view of Harold Winslow, a greeting card writer who narrates the story while trapped with only the company of himself, a voice, and his memories while floating through the sky in a perpetual motion flying machine that may or may not be working. From this vantage he tells the story of his family (a mildly inventive, but largely inneffectual toy-making father and his angr...more
The Dream of Perpetual Motion is the story of Harold Winslow and how his life intersected with the mad genius Prospero...more
Author photo credit to Bill Wadman.