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Cardanica (A Steampunk Nightmare) (World-9 Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Dario Tonani , Caroline Smart
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $2.99

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Book Description

"A delicious steampunk nightmare dripping blood and oil from every crevice."
Graham Edwards, Fantasy writer

"Not since Harlan Ellison's 'I Have no mouth and I must scream' has there been a better depiction of man at the mercy of his own vindictive and sadistic creations."
Paul Di Filippo, Science Fiction writer

"Now that I've read Cardanica, I won't be taking any elevators."
Roberto Grassilli

"Imagine a cross between Bruce Sterling's *Involution Ocean*, Keith Roberts' *The Grain Kings* and some of Ian Watson's darkest early short-stories; it's like that, but very different also..."
Rhys Hughes, Fantasy writer

A steampunk story set in a poisonous world where huge trucks the size of ships plow across the treacherous sands.

The “Robredo” is a giant ship-truck, the darling of the local engineering world. Built of metal and wood, it’s powered by a “magic mix” of steam and bacteria …


Awards: Tolkien (1989) Lovecraft (1994, 1999), Italia (1989,1992, 2000)

Length: 10.200 words

Product Details

  • File Size: 208 KB
  • Print Length: 34 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: 40k (September 20, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005OLF4I8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,091,444 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a steel nightmare....worth to read! September 23, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
A very good reading. But do not begin this book if you are not ready to finish it! Once begun you will not be able to stop. Within a simple narrative framework reminiscent of traditional Sci-fiction, Dario Tonani drags you into a gripping, claustrophobic nightmare where the very meaning of being human is challenged. Dario reads the "Man vs Machine" theme not as a struggle for power but as a dramatic symbiotic relationship that shakes the reader emotions. This was my first eBook, if Dario will continue to write with this quality it will not be the last!!..... just avoid eating before beginning.....
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A terrifying logbook September 23, 2011
By Kitsune
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A poisonous sand world where people travel inside big ship-trucks. Outside the protection of that structure, there are no possibilities of surviving in that inhospitable place but boarding a pneumoarc, the strange scape/survival vehicle that can detach from the ship and take people to a safer place like a Metroport. Garrasco, the Sandguard, and Victor, his second-in-command, knew that. So when the Robredo, one of the greatest pieces of engineering, lost power and shipwrecked they have to trust the pneumoarc to survive. But it ends up being more than a machine: a terrifying thing that drips oil and blood from the walls, where Garrasco and Victor are like prisoners.

Is surviving a matter of using others, letting them die?

A novelette mixed with a logbook, Cardanica is one of the most terrifying texts I've read this year. Dario Tonani's blunt prose leads the reader inside the pneumoarc among the characters to feel what they feel like: "Flesh on a course flesh."
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's Alive! October 11, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Warning: slight spoiler alert.
Somewhere amidst the poisonous sands of World 9, the remaining crew of the crippled desert crawler, Robredo, face these terrifying realities: there is no escape from within the relentless autonomous survival craft, Cardanica; and someone will be culled to serve the needs of both the survivor and Cardanica.

But the most perplexing questions of all, with possibly the more terrifying implications, remain: why did someone design Cardanica this way, and what was the moral calculus they used to decide who would be the survivor and who would be the sacrifice?

Cardanica is a perfect way to start the Halloween season, not with ghosts or ghouls, but with a monster of man's creation.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Oil-drenched Glance at the Mechanical Bizarre October 16, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
"Cardanica" grabs your interest and does not let go. It is a creaking, lubricated metal mystery of dark corners and suspicious mechanical motives that leads you through explorations of the limits of character and the fear of unfamiliar surroundings.

Excellent read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a well lubricated desert odyssey October 16, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Reading Dario Tonani's Cardanica has been a pleasantly unsettling experience. This novella is a perfect choice for those wishing for a greater daily dosage of pulpy gore in their literary diet, especially if read in the claustrophobic confines of an airport or plane.

It's the story of a cargo ship's crew inching through a harsh and remote desert world with little to control save their own psyches. Not much is known of their purpose except their eventual progression across the uneven sands, powered by a lumbering mechanical caterpillar of a vessel. Conjoined with the vehicle is a semi-sentient, self-sustaining and incessantly oiled "pneumoarc", the driving force behind an inevitable and undesirable turn of events.

Cardanica is a meaty however brief story containing a good mix of sci-fi, horror, and steampunk imaginings. It's definitely more than a work of simple shock value; rather, the story is a well-conceived peep into a dissolution of desperate events facing an unequipped crew. While leaving a fair amount of questions at its conclusion, the work justifies further exposition, perhaps best as a graphic novel, requiring a greater sense of closure. It's hard not to think of Cardanica as an overly oozing, anachronistic offshoot of Kubrick-inspired space drama, but is there anything wrong with that?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Welcome into the machine! September 29, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
A fantastic and horrify trip! Great ideas, strong and fast rythm. Usually Humans are supposed to be the main characters, heroes or bad guys doesnt matter; Machines should help Man to survive hostile environments like Planet 9, the planet on which this short novel takes place...but in Tonani's novels you never know... Highly exciting! Highly recommended! After reading this short novel my illustrator mind couldnt stop creating images inspired by Dario's work. Bravo,
We want more!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars shark-machine September 24, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
Such a strange tale, would have to receive a strange review.

The first connection that comes to my mind is Pinocchio who, after a long research, is swalowed by the shark and finds Geppetto in its stomach. Both are going to gain freedom.
The second one concerns pregnancy: the programming code imposed on the two characters by an unknown "who", who creates a so deterministic connection, remembers me the relationship mother/child. Both of them have no control on the creation of a new genetic code and, at the same time, are embedded in a symbiotic physiological condition. The same as for the two men and that kind of "shark-machine".

I awore you!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
The other reviewers have given a flavor of this work - for me, the key feature of a good work is that I feel drawn into the world that the author has created. Cardanica has those properties.

The "steampunk" gives the piece a broad set of unfamiliars - unlike some Neal Stephenson works, these unfamiliars become more easily understood and propel the story forward.

As another reviewer commented, I could have kept going in this world and with this story line.

Note - I bought and paid for this book, without inducement or invitation from the author, publisher or other source.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Gore and Gears.
Cardanica by Dario Tonani

This short story follows two survivors of a disaster in a poisonous desert. Read more
Published on January 29, 2012 by Spud
3.0 out of 5 stars Ghost in the Machine
Cardanica by Dario Tonani is a story that explores the danger of making machines too self-sufficient when they remain as cruelly logical as a computer tends to be. Read more
Published on December 20, 2011 by Sarah Baethge
4.0 out of 5 stars Like a Japanese puzzle box
When a short story makes you want to keep reading to uncover more about the plot it means that the author succeded in his intent. Read more
Published on November 26, 2011 by Edmondo
4.0 out of 5 stars This one will play games with your mind
Cardanica is a very quick read that could very well creep you out. While reading it I saw the action going on in black and white like an old Hitchcock movie. Read more
Published on November 16, 2011 by bookblogger
4.0 out of 5 stars Dark Absurdist Steampunk in the tradition of Kafka
'Cardanica' is definately my kind of story - all parts gruesome and absurd, it depicts the horrifying reality of survival in a world completely inhospitable to life. Read more
Published on November 1, 2011 by JamesOsiris
5.0 out of 5 stars A great All Hallow's Read Choice
I told my daughter I'd been offered a copy of a book to review, that it was steampunk. She asked me to define "steampunk". Read more
Published on October 21, 2011 by Käthe
5.0 out of 5 stars Dario Tonani makes me born in 3001
Usually I'm not a Steampunk Lover, and, before reading Cardanica I never thought that I'd love the adventures of a pneumoarc. Read more
Published on October 18, 2011 by Antonella
5.0 out of 5 stars The suspense alive
A classic theme of claustrophobic science fiction, turned in horror, revisited in the manner of Dario Tonani, an author who can transform the "beep beep" of electronic LED in... Read more
Published on October 2, 2011 by Catia P. (Italy)
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More About the Author

Dario Tonani is an Italian Science Fiction writer.

"This guy's fantascienza novels about a tough, hallucinatory future Milan are actually pretty good. I'm pleased to see there's a new one out."
Bruce Sterling

Tolkien (1989) Lovecraft (1994, 1999), Italia (1989, 1992, 2000, 2012)

Novels and anthologies (in Italian):

"Toxic@" (Mondadori, Urania, 2011), "Infected Files" (Delos Books, 2011), "World-9 Saga" (40k Books, 2010-2012), "L'algoritmo bianco" (Mondadori, Urania, 2009), "Infect@" (Mondadori, Urania, 2007), "La baracca degli angeli neri" (Marino Solfanelli Editore, 1991)

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