Ab's Reviews > The Dream of Perpetual Motion

The Dream of Perpetual Motion by Dexter Palmer
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Sep 10, 09

bookshelves: post-apocalyptic-futuristic, utopias-dystopias
Read in September, 2009

Since there's no description of what this book is about, like, ANYWHERE, I'm just going to type what the book has on it. Obviously I'm reading the ARC.

"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 well-heeled have mechanical men for servants, and where the world of fairy tales can be built from scratch, Harold Winslow heads toward a final, desperate confrontation with the mad inventor. And all the while, he is an unwitting participant in the creation of the greatest invention of them all -- the perpetual motion machine."
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So I finished the book. A very interesting story, and very dystopian in the sense of "technology is overrunning the world and taking it over and invariably going to lead to its ruin and a core sense of relentless apathy amongst the people of the world". At times I felt a little like I felt when I read Genesis, especially when reading Caliban's journals (he is a secret son of Taligent's who lives in a cage in a room filled with tubes that he can just reach and put to his ear to hear a different room from each one). So worth a read, I think, but not amazingly amazing, and a bit too overly "grey-cast" and dark for me. My mental picture is of a city filled with a reddish, hazy, grey smoke, everything is rust-colored, metallic, or black, and people go from work to home to work with dazed, zombified looks on their hopeless faces. Pretty chilling, to me.

My one negative comment about this book is that the author, being a first-time author and all (and even if he wasn't) should NOT have included a chapter where the main character meets him, Dexter Palmer, and he becomes a chapter-length, superficial character, but nonetheless a character... in his own book! A bit too ... TOO. If you get my meaning.
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Reading Progress

09/06/2009 page 25
7.1% "Intriguing. Discovering what "Steampunk fiction" means."

Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Sarah (new)

Sarah is it written like "and then Harold met dexter palmer, the author of the book he was a character in. Dexter Palmer wrote that Harold said hello to Dexter Palmer and Harold did"?

because that could be sort of cool.

but if it's just that dexter palmer is some random charcter and its not meta and intentionally weird -- yeah, that's kind of conceited.


message 2: by Ab (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ab Yeah, he was just a character. He was a writer, but just a character, and it came off as weird and sort of pretentious, however short the chapter was.

Sarah wrote: "is it written like "and then Harold met dexter palmer, the author of the book he was a character in. Dexter Palmer wrote that Harold said hello to Dexter Palmer and Harold did"?

because that could..."







Kate I'm half-way through it, and I'm really looking forward to this odd chapter where Dexter Palmer is met. I think this book may be a little too confusing. It's difficult sometimes to get back into when I've taken a few days off.


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