Nils Visser's Reviews > Tales of New Albion - Volume 2

Tales of New Albion - Volume 2 by Daren Callow
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it was amazing
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I bought a copy of this book from the author at the Brighton & Hove Book Fayre. The author was far too modestly apologetic for his efforts, as I have enjoyed reading Tales of New Albion (Volume 2) a great deal.

Each short story and memoir sparkles vividly with a degree of inventiveness that is astonishing. One can almost hear the author chuckling in the background at times as new gadgets, plot twists, or general surrealism hit the pages – delighted with new creations of his imagination.

These stories are the purest form of Steampunk I’ve yet encountered – each item of outlandish machinery of immense functionality and interwoven closely in the storylines, rather than stuck on rather haphazardly in obeisance to a genre. Although the stories can be read as stand-alone tales, a joyful experience in itself, there is method to the madness as it gradually becomes apparent to the reader that the stories are related and all together form a most excellent narrative of an epic and suitably bombastic series of historical events in the world of New Albion. To perfect the sheer craftmanship such an undertaking requires, the reader isn’t left feeling outsmarted by the author, but delighted at their own discovery of the underlying whole.

Particular favourites included the overwhelming sense of cringing empathy the author evokes for Rusty Inglemop’s first day on a new job in the ‘Monkey Teaspoon Design Agency’, where she encounters a moving assembly line for office workers, disdainful simian colleagues, and the general expectation that she fully understands bewildering protocols and way of doing things. Perhaps there are exceptions, but I’m pretty sure we’ve all been there, albeit in less surreal circumstances.

I loved the kids in ‘Crash!’ and their simultaneously terrifying and hilarious encounter with a Martian invader. The accidental launch of a rocket ship (not yet fully ready) due to communication difficulties in ‘Crash Again!’ had me in stitches. The concept of Aeropa is simply fantastic. Fitch’s mechanical arm with a mind of its own was pure Slapstick a la Steampunk, and the author chose the perfect narrator to relate The Battle of the Turnip Field. I made the mistake of reading ‘A Martian Calls’ on the train. At least half-a-dozen fellow passengers left the carriage I was in with concern on their faces about the chuckling, guffawing, hooting, and then roaring fellow commuter – the Martian command of English and their formulation of sentences is absolutely ingenious.

I’d also like to add that as someone who believes there are far too few women protagonists in stories, it was refreshing to find most of the blokes in these stories rather full of themselves but generally ineffective and the ladies taking charge to solve the seemingly impossible.

As an extra bonus, I discovered that the author reads all these fine tales on the Tales of New Albion podcasts, allowing me to enjoy them in an audible format as well. All in all, greatly recommended, and top hat off to the author’s brilliant imagination and sense of fun and creative sparkle that simply jumps off the pages. And please, can we have some more?
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
Finished Reading
September 17, 2020 – Shelved

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