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The Revolutions: A Novel Hardcover – Deckle Edge, April 1, 2014


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About the Author

FELIX GILMAN has been nominated for the John W. Campbell award and the Locus Award for best new writer. He is the author of the critically acclaimed Thunderer, Gears of the City, and The Half-Made World, which was listed by Amazon as one of the ten best SF/F novels of 2010. He lives with his wife in New York City.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books (April 1, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765337177
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765337177
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.4 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #928,651 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By London Fog on April 25, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Rarely have I read anything that opened so superbly as 'The Revolutions'. It was impressive with its fantastic, yet simultaneously authentic depictions of the Victorian fascination with all things occult, the peculiar events Arthur is thrust into, and the romance between him and Josephine which very much showcased what a strong grasp on characterization the author started off with. This book begins as serious historical fiction - with a steampunk twist - reminiscent of Dickens in many veins. The circumstances of the story itself may be off the beaten track, but the descriptions, events and players were so well drawn as to exceed my wildest expectations.

After the incident with Josephine, however, it devolved so rapidly, I had to convince myself I was not dreaming, and that the book had actually switched to a Martian setting, where we follow one of the characters who has become stranded on the Red Planet and sift through pages of exposition regarding her experiences therein. All the same, I would gladly have allotted this five stars - and then some - even after it began falling to pieces, as there were still plenty of scenes that made the read worthwhile, that gave glimpses of how outstanding a story it began as.

Alas, this was a truly excellent novel irrevocably ruined as it derailed further and further off of what it had been and devolved into something that had no place in this book, not after nearly two hundred pages of setting up the events taking place in London. It not only destroyed the atmosphere so grandiosely achieved, but made the character of Arthur seem inconsistent. The writing was captivating, the characters were fantastic; I had been completely drawn into this world only for the author himself to pluck me out of this wondrous version of London.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Amelia Gremelspacher TOP 500 REVIEWER on April 2, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The London Great Storm of 1893 has brought "a gret disruption among the Spheres". Felix Gilman's previous works are marked by his exquisite ability to build worlds that submerge the reader in alternative reality. This book is no different, but it happens to be set in an alternate London. This book is literate, witty, and ever so slightly funky. It is full of the the esoteric manipulations and observations of the revolution of the spheres. The spheres are the planets as we know them, but are in fact perfect balls of aether in this philosophy. Little details all fit together rather brilliantly, and the prose is a delight to the mental ear.

Arthur is a refreshingly overweight young man who has rather found himself at a point of general failure on the night of the Great Storm. He tells himself he simply fancies his sense of a greater shift as he sits in his chair in the National Library. As he walks home, he blunders into a familiar store and meets Josephine, the love of his life. Josephine types manuscripts for the esoteric members of London society. At a seance, they both meet the slightly sinister Atwood who sweeps them both into the search for the Spheres.

Somehow Gilman transfers the most mundane setting into fantasy. Arthur s hired to do endless operations in tiny print which then are to be transcribed into the Machine. The Machine feels like the attempts at a precursor of a computer, but it is nothing so plain. The scene of the job is rendered into a steam punk dream with mysterious co- workers, odd gears and crushing mental loads that appear from seemingly nowhere. Elsewhere, Josephine is lost to this world in a trip of astral projection, but this one is not like anything I have read in fiction to this point.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By ts on April 14, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Reminds me of Johnathan Strange and Mr. Norell by Stephanie Clarke. Weird and interesting. Would make a good movie. The only slight issue I have with the book is that the ending is slightly abrupt and doesn't tie up a couple loose ends, but that's life. We don't always end up with all the answers we seek, and that's kind of what this book is about.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Cygnet on September 10, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Review of The Revolutions by Felix Gilman

This book comes across in colors of dusky red, black, tawny, and gray, much as the planet Mars is portrayed therein. The cast of characters is fairly long and, especially at first, after one is well acquainted with Arthur and Josephine, difficult to keep straight. Ultimately, the story never quite seems to settle down. New characters are introduced at every turn of the clock, some to stay, and some to disappear as quickly as they came.

The story begins in London during the last decade of the 18th century. Arthur is a mild-mannered journalist of questionable will power. Josephine is a strong-minded stenographer. They meet by chance(?) during the Storm of the Century 1893. Both become involved with a small, mysterious, occult assemblage whose purported goal is to travel through the “aether” to Mars. At the same time, Arthur takes a job with Mr. Gracewell, whose mysterious Engine, using hundreds or thousands of man hours, speeds to accomplish the enigmatic Work.

Events unfold in great detail, primarily concerning Josephine and Arthur, but also the many other characters. Just as the two protagonists don’t know what’s going on, the reader also wanders around in the dark, attempting to discern the main thread of the tale. When the object of reaching Mars is achieved, things become even foggier (this time with red Martian dust).

Gilman’s writing style seems to mimic the style of fiction produced in the 1890s, which in and of itself is not hard to follow. The narrative, however, seems to jump around and the plot rather becomes a multi-tentacled monster in the end. After great detailed expositions of the plot, the whole thing is summed up in a few sentences and a brief epilogue for Mr.
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