four-stars
Bookmarks Issue: 
50-Jan-Feb-2011
By: 
Felix Gilman
user_rating: 
0

A-The Half-Made WorldFelix Gilman, a lawyer who lives in New York City, is also the author of Thunderer (2007) and Gears of the City (2008).

The Story: Half the world has yet to be made: the East is stable and secure, but in the West, the boundary between dream and reality remains uncertain. Similarly indefinite is the balance of power between the two great forces of the West, the technological juggernaut of the Line and the more anarchical Gun. Dr. Liv Alverhuysen, a psychologist, thought she had journeyed from East to West just to treat an asylum patient, General Enver, once the leader of the democratic Red Republic, which has been destroyed by the Line and the Gun. It turns out, however, that he, too, may be the object of a struggle between the two sides hoping to subdue the land.
Tor. 480 pages. $26. ISBN: 9780765325525

Fantasy Book Critic HHHH
"All in all The Half-Made World ... is a powerful novel that confirms Felix Gilman as a master of the new weird fantastic."

Io9.com 4 of 5 Stars
"Sick of predictable books that fill your subgenre bingo card with the same subgenre elements over and over? With The Half-Made World, Felix Gilman has blended elements from alternate history, Steampunk, Westerns, and epic fantasy to create something truly original." Kelly Faircloth

Onion AV Club 4 of 5 Stars
"Using the brutality of Westerns alongside steampunk gadgetry, [Gilman] constructs a story that could be about how civilization forces itself onto a new frontier, about how industry and anarchy are both necessary forces which inevitably become corrupted when allowed too much power, or possibly just about monsters and demons and guns that never need to be reloaded. ... There's much to be said about Gilman's thematic aims, and about the abrupt, curious ending, but the important point to take away is that reading this novel will make anyone who cares about dark adventure giddy." Zack Handlen

Critical Summary

What most impressed reviewers of The Half-Made World was the way that Gilman drew upon elements from many different science fiction and fantasy subgenres, such as steampunk and dystopian fiction, without making his world seem like an unoriginal mishmash. Critics also appreciated how the story felt like a Western without ever descending into cliché or camp, in part because of his strong characterizations (especially Liv). Gilman successfully explores the world he creates, but he leaves plenty of room for ambiguity and lingering mystery, while adding a deep moral component. Several critics called The Half-Made World one of the more original and unpredictable novels they had read this year: "new and exciting--and well worth reading" (io9.com).