Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2011-11-28
- Reviewer: Staff
Angry Robot launches its WorldBuilder project, which invites sanctioned fan fiction for certain works, with Christopher’s bleak steampunk noir. The Empire State is an alternate 1950s New York surrounded by endless mysterious fog and embroiled in endless mysterious war. In a pocket universe split off by a fight between estranged superheroes, a version of Empire State is inhabited by doppelgängers and powered by the rift between worlds; some want to close that rift, others to destroy it. The plot is both driven and occluded by anomalies and questions—how can protagonist Rad Braybury be 44 in a 19-year-old universe? where does food come from? Motivations are often unexplained and relationships tenuous. Readers may not care about the murky characters enough to make it through the novel, let alone create fan fiction, though the enigmas, missing backstories, and open-ended conclusion offer a wealth of jumping-off points. (Jan.)