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The Falling Machine (The Society of Steam) Paperback – May 24, 2011

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The Falling Machine (The Society of Steam) + The Society of Steam Book Two: Hearts of Smoke and Steam + Power Under Pressure (The Society of Steam)
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Editorial Reviews


"The Falling Machine is quite simply the coolest steampunk superhero book I've ever read. . . . Imagine if Gangs of New York had been directed by Jules Verne, instead of Martin Scorsese, [and] you're probably not too far off."
- Portland Book Review

"If Stan Lee had lived in the 1880s, [The Falling Machine] is the book he would have written- steampunk superheroes. Filled with larger-than-life characters, cliff-hanger action, and ingenious gadgets so richly realized you'll feel the steam hissing from them, at its heart, it's a two-fisted meditation on the mythic glories of heroism and the tragic frailties of the heroes themselves."
-Clay Griffith and Susan Griffith, authors of the Vampire Empire trilogy

"[A] glorious conceit. . . steampunk superheroes in Gilded Age New York City. [The Falling Machine] offers cocked-eyed adventure and the high camp of steampunk wrapped around a story of moral choice, family loyalty, and the ultimate question of who gets to be counted as a person. A ripping yarn that strikes all the right notes, [it] will delight and entertain you."
-Jay Lake, Campbell Award-winning author of Mainspring and Green

About the Author

Andrew P. Mayer is the author of a short comic story titled "Om Nom Nom" published by Dark Horse Comics. The story was anthologized in Myspace Dark Horse Presents Anthology #3 and in New Creepy Anthology. He currently works as a game designer, workin with a number of different companies developing games for Facebook.
Previously he worked as a game designer and creative director for Sony Psygnosis, the Cartoon Network, and PlayFirst Games. Visit Andrew at

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Product Details

  • Series: The Society of Steam (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 285 pages
  • Publisher: Pyr; First Edition edition (May 24, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616143754
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616143756
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #219,516 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Andrew Mayer knew he wanted to be a storyteller the moment he realized that words can be used as a key to open doors other worlds.

He spent his childhood devouring every book he could get his hands on (including quite a few he wasn't supposed to), and got his first job at the (now defunct) B. Daltons bookstore when he was just 14 years old.

Six years (and many short stories) later he interned at G.P. Putnam's Sons publishers, where he learned that writing and publishing are two very different activities.

Andrew spent over two decades creating video games, including the endlessly popular "Dogz" and "Catz" titles, and was a designer and creative director, working with numerous companies including Sony, and Cartoon Network.

Customer Reviews

There was just too much info dump originally, and the POV skipped around from omniscient to a hybrid third-person limited.
Kenneth B. Soward
While I may have read the sequel if it had belonged to this volume, I don't care enough about the story now to go out and get the rest of it.
A B Adams
One of the main issues with this novel is the distinct feeling that the author is trying incredibly hard to write this like a comic book.
Josh Vogt

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A B Adams on August 24, 2011
Format: Paperback
Several reviewers have already commented on THE FALLING MACHINE's slow pace, and I agree in particular with someone's statement that it reads too much like an intended comic book. That might sound strange considering the appeal for most readers will be the Victorian superhero scenario. I, too, was drawn in by that concept. That said, it was Justin Gerard's cover art that caught my attention, with the book itself falling short of its expectation. This may speak to the need for the visual side of the superhero genre. However, with or without the illustrations, many superhero stories succeed by merit of their complex characters, whereas THE FALLING MACHINE resorts too comfortably to stereotypes. None of the old men are any better than the sum of their steampunk costumes, and the villains--crucial to any superhero story--are all but invisible throughout.

What I haven't seen mentioned yet is something that proved highly distracting, which was the book's large amount of typos--usually missing words or spelling errors. Whether or not these were the author's original errors, the fact that so many exist in the published book (I'd say one every two pages or so) isn't a great advertisement for the publisher. Though a minor consideration in a stronger, more established work, something like this can be a death sentence for a debut novel, especially when combined with its other weaknesses. For me, these included a lack of perspective (never seeing or understanding the things that seemed most interesting), a plot that progressed far too slowly, and untapped potential in a setting and era that should have provided as much historical, atmospheric, and psychological context as some reviewers have claimed they did.

While I may have read the sequel if it had belonged to this volume, I don't care enough about the story now to go out and get the rest of it.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By J Smith on June 15, 2011
Format: Paperback
I'll be honest. I didn't research this book before I bought it. I knew nothing of the author, or the plot, or any other significant details. I picked it up on a whim on my last visit to the bookstore. And somehow, it turned out to be one of the better novels I've read this year.

The story goes like this (spoiler free!): Sarah Stanton, daughter of one of the leaders of the Paragons, a group of heroes that protect New York City, witnesses the murder of one of the founders of the same group, and becomes embroiled in a large scale plot that deals with themes of betrayal, aging, and the advent of technology, and the dangers and wonders that come with it. Also, last but not least, it muses on what really makes a hero, beyond a mask and fancy leather costume. The story manages to be easy to follow and fun, while addressing topics that can get pretty heavy.

This is one of the best concepts for a steampunk novel I've ever seen. I've always wanted to like this genre more than the novels I've read in it have allowed me to. But too many of them get caught up in reveling in their own creativity, wanting to put their ideas for cool, weird technology in the forefront and putting character development and story into the proverbial caboose.

But this novel never falls into that trap. It's tight, consistent, and uses the setting and genre as frosting on the cake. The focus is always on the story, which never really has a slow point that made me want to stop reading. That's when you know you have a good novel on your hands.

Seriously. If you've wanted to like Steampunk, enjoy the idea of superheroes in the 1880s, or just love a novel with vivid characters and a beautiful, creative world, get this book.

You'll be glad you did. Now to wait until November to read the second one...
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Timothy on July 7, 2011
Format: Paperback
Andrew Mayer's 'The Falling Machine' is the latest addition to the Steampunk sub-genre and stands out from its fellows. It does not contain zombies, vampires, magic or graphic sex. The current trend in Steampunk seems to find corseted heroines fighting the undead or some supernatural menace and in this regard 'The Falling Machine' is a refreshing find.
The story follows The Paragons, a society of New York's elite thinkers and inventors who have used technology to transform themselves into superheroes, protecting those who cannot protect themselves.
Sarah Stanton is the daughter of the "The Industrialist" one of the society's founding members. Her mentor, Sir Dennis Darby is also a founding member and a technological genius responsible for creating the fantastic inventions that give the Paragons their powers.
When Darby is murdered, Sarah is suddenly thrust into the middle of a conspiracy to bring down the Paragons themselves. Behind the plot is the mysterious Children of Eschaton. Sarah tries to solve the mystery but as a woman in a man's world, her intelligence and creativity are constantly being undermined by men who see her as nothing beyond her gender.
The story moves at lightening quick speed and I made it through the book in just a few sittings. Mayer goes to great lengths to explain the inventions. This really helps to develop the atmosphere of the book as you get something of an understanding for how the machines work. The steampunk world is very much a comic book one as the heroes wear costumes and have secret identities. In this it is a little difficult to take the story seriously. It feels as though we are reading a comic book without pictures. Imagine your first encounter with Superman being a novel about a man in blue tights.
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