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Michael Swanwick
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message 1: by Cuniculus (new)

Cuniculus Potterton | 101 comments I finished The Dragons of Babel today, the second of two standalone novels set in the fantasy world of Faerie. Well, at least that's the name given by Wikipedia and certain secondary texts, while a name is not mentioned in the novels themselves, as far as I can recall. The other and earlier novel set in the world/universe is The Iron Dragon's Daughter. Faerie is reminiscent of an alternate version of Earth, populated by feys, ogres, dwarves, elves, centaurs and almost every stereotyped fantasy race possible. The only race/species not native to Faerie are humans, but they are imported from Earth by the high elf ruling class by means of child trafficking, because a certain amount of human genes and blood is required to pilot the iron dragons, the mightiest weapon in the world. Iron dragons are no scaly lizards, but a kind of fighting jet with a high developed/evolved cybernetic mind, because while magic is a common element in Faerie, the level of technology is also extremely high and seemingly reminiscent of the cyberpunk genre of science fiction. At the same time, there occur even more obscure anachronisms like characters drinking earthly brands like Pepsi cola or cruising around on Kawasaki motorcycles.

The Iron Dragon's Daughter is nihilistic, antiheroic and has a lot of grim moments. For example, the story begins in a dragon factory were a human changeling slave girl is forced to manufacture iron dragons. However, the read will rather leave you in a state of wide-eyed amazement than depression. The Dragons of Babel has a more punky, light-hearted attitude.

While the two books can be classified as science (and perhaps urban) fantasy, I cannot think of a single fantasy writer comparable to Swanwick. However, he seems to have some literary relatives in (post-)cyberpunk writers like Neal Stephenson and William Gibson. Swanwick and Gibson have also co-written a short story, Dogfight.

message 2: by MrsJoseph *grouchy*, Bad Girls Deadlift (new)

MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 5312 comments The only Swanswick I have is Sci-Fi. I liked him when I met him but the book hasn't worked for me so far. I do have an original signed short story by him that I really treasure, though.

He said at the signing that this was the only copy but that was a few years ago. I'm sure he's published it since then.

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