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Aetheric Mechanics

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  741 ratings  ·  69 reviews

The year is 1907, and Britain has entered into a terrifying war with Ruritania, whose strange metal planes darken the skies, and whose monstrous war engines cast looming shadows from across the channel. Doctor Robert Watcham, lately returned to London from the front, makes his homecoming to Dilke Street. There lives his old friend and England's greatest amateur detective,
Paperback, 48 pages
Published October 21st 2004 by Avatar Press
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3.64  · 
Rating details
 ·  741 ratings  ·  69 reviews

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Dec 25, 2008 rated it liked it
Trust Warren Ellis to combine a murder mystery, steampunk, war stories, Sherlock Holmes, giant robots, quantum mechanics, and flying cars in just 40 pages. And make it good.
Nov 14, 2010 rated it it was ok
So. The story is chugging along, doing nothing special, but the art is great right? So I keep on reading. How does it end? It ends like this: *magic happens* and that is unacceptable. Too clumsy. Too assured that its cleverness will save it.
Aug 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 23, 2017 rated it liked it
Ülilühike (40+ lk.) must-valge aurupunk, on ka elemente "Ruritaania romansist" ning peategelane "eradetektiiv Sax Raker", ja tema ustav arstist abiline "doktor Watcham" meenutavad muidugi teadagi keda, Baker Streedilt.
Ainult et ilmelikult lühike oli,ja mõnevõrra segase lõpplahendusega. Mulle jäi rohkem mulje miskist keel-põses naljast kui korralikust aurupungist.
Ja no must-valge mulle eriti ei istu ka, pole kunagi istunud. Keskmine "kolm".
Jul 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics
Very good. If not my favorite, Ellis is on my top 3 list of favorite comic book writers. Great little story & artwork, my only complaint is that's it's really short. Although the page count is pretty low almost every panel has a lot of good dialog, so in truth, it's probably got as much content as comic that's at least 50% bigger, so it was definitely worth the $6.99 I paid for it.
Venus Maneater
Sep 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics
This was surprisingly fun! Truly amazing art by Pagliarani.

Holmes with a twist. A futuristic, beautiful, steampunk ish twist.
Shaun Duke
Dec 23, 2009 rated it really liked it
It’s not very often that I get to review a graphic novel, so when a friend let me borrow this, I was really excited to tell you all about it.

Aetheric Mechanics takes place in an alternate Earth in which Britain is at war with a place called Ruritania, whose powerful technology is quickly turning the tide of the war in their favor. Doctor Richard Watcham returns from the war front and, upon reuniting with Sax Raker, an old friend and renowned amateur detective, he embarks on an investigation of b
Oct 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
I picked this up because I’m a Warren Ellis junkie, and will read anything with his name on it. I’m particularly fond of his APPARAT publishing project, in which he writes comics that might have been if not for the comics code and the superhero takeover. Sort of.

Anyhow, Aetheric Mechanics is a steampunk alternate history London in which quantum mechanics are available to turn-of-the-century technologists, such that Britain has ships in space. It follows the story of a doctor returning home from
Dec 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
An above-average Warren Ellis story with great black and white art. I was drawn in by the steampunk Sherlock Holmesy-ness, but was impressed and surprised by a way-out there conclusion that explains a lot more than you think it will but still leaves you dying to know what will happen to these characters next. Very short too.
Jun 12, 2015 rated it it was ok
This felt more like a long teaser than a finished product. The art is really nice, and the ending is interesting but comes about way too suddenly.
Brian Rogers
Aug 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics
The artwork is lovely, the story is solid - with the idea of a world of mashed together fictional concepts from the Victorian period explained in a new and different way - and worth the read. It's not Ellis' deepest work, but it is a fun book.
Sep 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was an incredible take on steampunk Sherlock Holmes. My one complaint is that I hate reading a story that is so deft and detailed in its worldbuilding (even if that world is effectively a fanfiction rendition of another world) but in the end is more of a prologue than a complete tale.
John Shaw
Jul 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A very unique book.
Blending a Sherlock Holmes-esque
tale with steampunk and a very shocking reveal
at the end.
A different London than history remembers.
A London with aetheric machines brought
to life with beautiful detail by illustrator
Alex Andrasik
A fun little puzzle-box with an unexpected heart. A teensy bit too slight, but just fine when calculating all the subtext. Gorgeous, liquid, highly-detailed art of an alternate yet terrifyingly familiar world.
Sep 16, 2018 rated it liked it
The choice of ending was... interesting.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 01, 2014 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Sherlock Holmes fans, Steampunk fans
Aetheric Mechanics fits in that broad category of Sherlock Holmes fan-fiction that adds sci-fi/fantasy elements (steampunky in this case). It was well-done, with interesting depth to the Holmes and Watson characters, and an unexpected twist in the character of Holmes.

That said, the whole climax of the story relied on some dubious science, and was too neatly resolved. (view spoiler)
Artur Coelho
Jun 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing
As coisas estão um pouco confusas na Londres de final do século XIX. O poderoso império britânico está a perder uma sangrenta guerra contra a Ruritânia, e Londres desaba sob o peso das bombas trazidas pelas impunes aeronaves. A marinha espacial britânica é impotente face às violentas máquinas de guerra da Ruritânia. Ao lado de tudo isto, o meticuloso detective Sax Raker, acompanhado do seu fiel amigo, o médico militar Watcham, e da sua némesis e paixão, Innana Meyer, investiga o estranho caso de ...more
Aug 23, 2009 rated it liked it
It has been ages since I've read a Sherlock Holmes and if I was better read in a few other classics, then maybe I wouldn't have been as irritated with this book as I was until the punch line four pages form the end. I bought it for the art, honestly. The art is great by the way. The whole time I am reading this book I was getting more and more frustrated -- too many ghost from other things I couldn't quite name (expect for Holmes) floating around. And too little steampunk expect for the art. The ...more
Dec 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Combining the atmosphere of Bryan Talbot’s Luther Arkwright adventures, the temporal distortions of Moorcock’s Metatemporal Detective, and the ominous science fiction mystery of Charles Stross’s “Missile Gap”, this is a perfect short work by Ellis. The pastiche of Wells and Arthur Conan Doyle plus the reference to Prisoners of Zenda and other books, anime, and films seems part of the fun but is revealed as integral to the understanding of the work. The ending pulls the rug out and castes everyth ...more
Lum Sao Ying
Apr 03, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: comics
Steampunk turn of the century comic plays off of Sherlock Holmes, but is unfortunately terribly written -- pretentious and dull with no wit or charm. The twist at the end comes too abruptly and is just too out of place. It felt like a pilot to a longer series that I won't be interested in reading. The bought this and love it for the art though, which is spectacularly.. a clean, classic 1950s style that isn't necessarily suited to Steampunk (too clean?), but is so incredibly detailed that you cou ...more
No Books
May 29, 2011 rated it liked it
Ellis has a go at classic steampunk.

It feels a bit too crammed, but I think the problem with this work lies in its length, not in the content. Besides, if Ellis leaves something unresolved, I should presume it was done on purpose.
The morale being, this is good steampunk & great fun.
Excellent drawings (although my partiality lies elsewhere, I must admit) by Gianluca Pagliarani, whom I should call a compatriot if I believed in countries, fatherlands &c.
May 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
i liked this quite a bit, and wish there had been more of it. it's a story within a story within a story, where literary characters have permeated an era and spun off into an alternate reality based on quantum physics. the dialogue's pretty sprightly, and the sense of everything being slightly... off, holds up throughout. i liked the drawings too, a neat way of entangling the altVictorian world with this one.
míol mór
Jul 06, 2012 rated it liked it
Ellis has a go at classic steampunk.

It feels a bit too crammed, but I think the problem with this work lies in its length, not in the content. Besides, if Ellis leaves something unresolved, I assume it was done on purpose.

The morale being, this is good steampunk & great fun.
Excellent drawings (although my partiality lies elsewhere, I must admit) by Gianluca Pagliarani, whom I should call a compatriot if I believed in countries, fatherlands &c.
Oct 26, 2008 rated it really liked it
This started off slowly but Ellis did a great job of building a believable yet startling world. It took turns I didn't expect, and morphed from a trifle into something that opens your mind to some interesting possibilities. The art is by Gianluca Pagliarani, which sounds like something Ellis made up, but he's on Facebook so I suppose he's real. In the more "mechanical" moments in the story, the art remind me of Geoff Darrow, which is high praise.
Barry Hammock
Oct 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
An interesting take on the steampunk genre and quantum mechanics. It is a science fiction story cleverly disguised as a mystery novel full of plot twists and a clever detective, as well as spaceships, a cold and logical Ruritanian menace, airplanes, and giant fighting robots. You'll never see the ending coming, and neither does the detective. An exercise in existentialism and the nature of reality itself.
Sep 05, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, picturebook

The art is lovely - black and white line drawings with few blocks of black ink - it looks like a complicated colouring-in book, actually - and the steampunky Edwardian age plus airships is great fun. The story lets the art down. The characters are shamelessly Sherlockian - Doyle's immortals with the serial numbers filed off. However, the plot is weak. The resolution feels hasty. The story is not as good as the art that tells it.
Neil McCrea
I greatly enjoy Warren Ellis' genre smashing one-offs, and the art here is fantastic as well. In Aetheric Mechanics we're presented with a Holmes pastiche set in an Edwardian Steam-punk world, but by the end of the story the whole world has been re-written. Clever stuff, and the details are marvelous, I particularly enjoyed the reference to Lesser Fenwick. It's such a short, sharp little piece that to reveal much more would be to reveal too much.
Lewis Manalo
Jan 03, 2013 rated it liked it
The illustration is great, but this is one of those science fiction stories where people talk a lot and there's one central idea. It's a cool central idea, but this story would've worked better for me as prose (or a STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION episode). I just don't read comics to look at pictures of people talking.
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Warren Ellis is the award-winning writer of graphic novels like TRANSMETROPOLITAN, FELL, MINISTRY OF SPACE and PLANETARY, and the author of the NYT-bestselling GUN MACHINE and the “underground classic” novel CROOKED LITTLE VEIN. The movie RED is based on his graphic novel of the same name, its sequel having been released in summer 2013. His graphic novel GLOBAL FREQUENCY is in development at Jerry ...more
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