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4.02  ·  Rating details ·  131 Ratings  ·  34 Reviews
Rupetta is a sewn hardback of 352 pages, printed lithographically, with silk ribbon marker, head and tailbands, and d/w.

Four hundred years ago, in a small town in rural France, a young woman creates the future in the shape of Rupetta. Part mechanical, part human, Rupetta’s consciousness is tied to the women who wind her. In the years that follow she is bought and sold, bor
Hardcover, First Edition, 352 pages
Published February 9th 2013 by Tartarus Press (first published January 1st 2013)
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May 12, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, 2013
What a strange, lovely book. Rupetta follows an object — a thinking, feeling mechanical human — through time and meditates upon the stories we tell and the stories we don't: her stories, histories. This story begins in seventeenth-century France, travelling to hauntingly familiar places and emerging in a time not quite our own. It describes the genesis of a religion and the lies that lure followers. "We planted a seedling and buried a poem at its roots."

Rupetta recounts her own narrative in alte
Feb 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
I have such a bundle of feelings about this book. As others have said, some of the writing is liquidly delicious; descriptions of feelings and thoughts, in particular, are like pieces of glass tumbled by the ocean, precious and beautiful to touch. The idea is ambitious and grand, and the world Sulway creates is brilliantly imagined and purely itself. The chapter on the City of Bridges was my clear favourite, and was almost a story in itself: a sharply realised, lyrical place with details that we ...more
Emeraldia Ayakashi
Feb 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A 17th century cyborg Tale .

Four hundred years ago, in a small town in rural France, a young woman creates the future in the shape of Rupetta. Part mechanical, part human, Rupetta’s consciousness is tied to the women who wind her. In the years that follow she is bought and sold, borrowed, forgotten and revered.
By the twentieth century, the Rupettan four-fold law rules everyone’s lives, but Rupetta—the immortal being on whose existence and history those laws are based—is the keeper of a secret t
Randolph Carter
Feb 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 06, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Rupetta is a conscious mechanical woman with a heart that needs to be wound up regularly. She shares a special relation with the wynder and one plotline tells her story from 400 years ago until the present day. In the second plotline we follow Henri as she starts her studies in history.

The strongest point of the novel is its beautiful language. Whenever I had the feeling that it became a bit slow and boring I stumbled upon phrases and descriptions that truly touched me. The author has a remarkab
Susan Kornfeld
Mar 22, 2014 rated it liked it
I want to give this book a 3.5. It's an imaginative steam-punkish novel with wonderful world building and lush language. It seemed like it would be a great book, but I found it ultimately unsatisfying. The author is too lavish with imagery and simile; beautiful as it all is, at times I longed for the clarity of plot exposition. I read for a while each night. I often found myself lost as the plot meandered through the centuries. I was often a bit annoyed at some unexplained but important aspect – ...more
Ian Mond
May 26, 2014 rated it liked it
Rupetta won the 2013 Tiptree award and was nominated for an Aurealis in the science fiction category. You only need to read the first few pages of the book to understand why it gained critical attention. Beginning with the Foreword, Rupetta – who shares the book’s narrative with the historian Henri – tells us that:

"I have known loss for centuries. I have borne the deaths of each of my companions, both dear and tolerated. I have lost families, loves, houses, villages. Whole cities, whole nations,
Feb 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
In 2013, Nike Sulway won the Tiptree Award for her novel Rupetta, becoming the first Australian to win the award. Rupetta was also shortlisted for the Aurealis award for best science fiction novel, and won the Norma K. Hemming Award in 2014.

I purchased an ebook of Rupetta soon after the Tiptree win, and it was left lingering in my virtual to-be-read pile for too long (along with way too many books). This year, I’m trying to make inroads into reading through my to-be-read mountains, and Rupetta w
Ben Nash
Death gives meaning to life. I've seen that sentiment repeated in different ways, in many places.

Love brings meaning to life. Filial and paternal love. Fraternal and sororal love. Erotic love. In love, there's a spark that can pass from one person to another, rejuvenating them, sustaining them for a time, all because of a meaningful look, a familiar glance, a routine act of devoted love.

Life and death are forever at odds. At least, that's the way it plays out in this story. Immortality versus mo
Rupetta is an exquisite mystery, delving into the complexities of history, memory and the concept of created humanity. Rupetta, the protagonist, is an automaton, and the story is narrated from her perspective through history, at the same time as Henri, a historian delves through the Rupettan history in the present day.

Past and present move towards each other in this detailed world. Nike Sulway has created an original concept with the Wynders - women who are destined to wind Rupetta's mechanical
Linda Robinson
May 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Of the many wonders of WisCon39 (feminist science fiction/fantasy convention in Madison, WI), discovering Tiptree Award-winning books is at the top. Rupetta won the Tiptree last year. You can read Nike Sulway's acceptance speech here. In the Dealer's Room at the convention, A Room of One's Own bookstore had a table laden with a smorgasbord of marvelous books. I got the 2 that were awarded the Tiptree this year for 2014 and will read them next. But I will wait until Rup ...more
Rachel Watts
This novel. Wow. There's just so much going on I don't know where to start. Spanning hundreds of years it is the story of Rupetta. A mechanical woman, made not born, but with a consciousness. With a conscience. With a heart. It is also the story of the lies that grow around her. It is about the fictions that grow in the spaces left by the absence of a single, simple truth. Because there's never any such thing as a single, simple truth. Life isn't like that. It is about blind faith and horror and ...more
Jun 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I really liked this ... I don't read much speculative fiction so have no idea how it compares within the genre but I kept being reminded of Margaret Atwood's work whilst reading it. There were so many little details that I liked - the clockwork bird, the conversation cafe, what happens in a culture that cuts out its heart in order to live forever, ... - and sure, at times I was a bit overwhelmed by the detail but it's SO beautifully written and realised. My #2 favourite book this year - just pip ...more
Aug 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is a beautifully written fantastical fiction. There were moments when I stopped to read her sentences over and over again. An epic tale of love, the fight for humanity and how power and greed can re-interpret a miracle for their own ends. The ending chapters are however confused and somewhat trite. I would have loved the book to stay with its theme of the question of humanity both literal and figurative.
Tyrannosaurus regina
God this is gorgeous. So gorgeous. I should say more about it, talk about the ways in which it explores humanity and gender and relationships, talk about the glorious libraryporn, talk about how the words and the ideas and the characters moved me so much. But I'm still basking in the afterglow so that shall have to wait for another time.
Julia Dvorin
Oct 15, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Rupetta is the story of a centuries-old clockwork automaton whose mechanical heart must be “wound” through the touch and the psychic bond of a “Wynder”, ideally (but not always) a female descendant of the original maker. Her existence, and more specifically her immortality, sparks a religious and political movement in which she is elevated to a deity, and which is expressed by its followers in the “Rupettan four-fold law” (which reminded me somewhat of Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics). Rupetta’s ...more
Jul 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
I have some mixed feelings about this one.

It was inventive and unusual, and it had diverse and interesting female characters. The sections with Henri were my favourite, and I absolutely loved the romance that developed between her and Miri. Their love was really at the heart of the book for me.

I also enjoyed the writing style. It was quite beautiful, and some of it was very poetic. One particular part which stood out for me was a page describing Henri's feelings towards Miri, and it's a clash of
Andrea Blythe
“History was an art form — the delicate, dangerous art of creating the past.”

Science fiction writers have long used visions of animatronic machines and robots to questions the nature of humanity and god and to explore what constitutes a soul. In this beautiful and strange alternate history, N.A. Sulway performs a similar exploration while also taking into consideration how history is shaped and how the creation of history through carefully selected "facts" or stories shapes a society.

Rupetta is
Susie Munro
Less a novel than a work of art Rupetta is beautifully written and even more beautifully imagined. Its a steampunk fairytale, an alternate history with lashings of magical realism and a densely literary work about knowledge and power and love and loss and I can't recommend it highly enough. This is a novel of gorgeous style and great substance - story about the inherent slipperiness of history in a political context where there is only one right and true version of events which are very far remo ...more
Aug 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Sulway's genre-bridging work of sci-fi/gothic horror/alernative history fully earns the adjective 'baroque', both in its Byzantine structure and in the evocative richness of its imagery and world-building. What lingers in the mind, amidst the inventiveness with which it establishes a post-human consciousness and narrative voice, its feminist reworking of the trope of the female automaton, the symbolic depth of the fictional belief system and social order it builds, the narrative games it plays t ...more
Sep 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I do believe I have found a new 'favorite' author in "Rupetta". The unique setting of this book takes you into a historical world where a bit of Steampunk mashes into reality creating a new 'religion' that alters the lives of many. The relationships of the women are deep, sordid and involved. Sulway takes you into a level of relationships that is rarely touched.
Often, in reading, when you get a lot of detailed descriptions of 'things' it becomes a boring grocery list. This book is just the oppo
Feb 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
A beautifully written book. We follow the main character of Rupetta, part human, part clockwork, from her creation to her deification over five centuries. An alternative history sf fantasy, reminiscent of 'His Dark Materials' in it's attack on religious fundamentalism. The main fault for me was the transformation of Rupetta to a goddess was unconvincing.

Katharine (Ventureadlaxre)
Katharine is a judge for the Aurealis Awards. This review is the personal opinion of Katharine herself, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of any judging panel, the judging coordinator or the Aurealis Awards management team.
Angel S
Jun 18, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi, fantasy, queer
I'm uncertain how I feel about this book. I really enjoyed reading it, but the ending felt anticlimactic, and left me feeling little hope for humanity. Like all people do, or at least people in power do, is ruin things. But I still enjoyed it.
leong kar nim
May 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lovely prose and evocative imagery but the plot lines can be confusing.
May 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This seriously brilliant. Rich, textured, adult and full of unexpected but logical things. Wow!
Dec 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A beautifully written epic of literary fantasy that explores the outer limits of the genre while still celebrating its tropes with honesty and knowledge and love.
Cass Moriarty
Nov 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Behind this unassuming cover of Rupetta, the novel by Nike Sulway, lies a complex and multi-layered story of such wonder and imagination that I really don't know where to begin in describing it. Rupetta won both the James Tiptree Jr Award (a literary prize that expands our understanding of gender) and the Norma K Hemming Award (for excellence in the exploration of the themes of race, gender, sexuality, class and disability in a work of speculative fiction in Australia). The scope of the narrativ ...more
Jan 03, 2015 rated it liked it
This book had a lot of potential, but it didn't live up to it. Lovely writing, but I wasn't excited by the characters, and I didn't really care what happened to them. So for me, this book is a fail. the only reason I'm giving it three stars, and not two, is because the writing is quite good.

On a different note, this story has been done. I was driving home a one night, listening to the radio, and Styx's Mr. Roboto came on, and I thought, yep, been done already, and in a much more memorable fashio
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Hi! I am an Australian writer who enjoys reading as much as (perhaps even more than) writing.

In 2000, I won the Queensland Premier's Literary Award for Best Emerging Queensland Author for my novel The Bone Flute (under the author name N A Bourke) which was released by UQP in 2001 and subsequently shortlisted in the Commonwealth Writers Awards. My children’s picture book, What the Sky Knows (I
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