This Page

has been moved to new address

Roil - Trent Jamieson

Sorry for inconvenience...

Redirection provided by Blogger to WordPress Migration Service
body { background:#aba; margin:0; padding:20px 10px; text-align:center; font:x-small/1.5em "Trebuchet MS",Verdana,Arial,Sans-serif; color:#333; font-size/* */:/**/small; font-size: /**/small; } /* Page Structure ----------------------------------------------- */ /* The images which help create rounded corners depend on the following widths and measurements. If you want to change these measurements, the images will also need to change. */ @media all { #content { width:740px; margin:0 auto; text-align:left; } #main { width:485px; float:left; background:#fff url("") no-repeat left bottom; margin:15px 0 0; padding:0 0 10px; color:#000; font-size:97%; line-height:1.5em; } #main2 { float:left; width:100%; background:url("") no-repeat left top; padding:10px 0 0; } #main3 { background:url("") repeat-y; padding:0; } #sidebar { width:240px; float:right; margin:15px 0 0; font-size:97%; line-height:1.5em; } } @media handheld { #content { width:90%; } #main { width:100%; float:none; background:#fff; } #main2 { float:none; background:none; } #main3 { background:none; padding:0; } #sidebar { width:100%; float:none; } } /* Links ----------------------------------------------- */ a:link { color:#258; } a:visited { color:#666; } a:hover { color:#c63; } a img { border-width:0; } /* Blog Header ----------------------------------------------- */ @media all { #header { background:#456 url("") no-repeat left top; margin:0 0 0; padding:8px 0 0; color:#fff; } #header div { background:url("") no-repeat left bottom; padding:0 15px 8px; } } @media handheld { #header { background:#456; } #header div { background:none; } } #blog-title { margin:0; padding:10px 30px 5px; font-size:200%; line-height:1.2em; } #blog-title a { text-decoration:none; color:#fff; } #description { margin:0; padding:5px 30px 10px; font-size:94%; line-height:1.5em; } /* Posts ----------------------------------------------- */ .date-header { margin:0 28px 0 43px; font-size:85%; line-height:2em; text-transform:uppercase; letter-spacing:.2em; color:#357; } .post { margin:.3em 0 25px; padding:0 13px; border:1px dotted #bbb; border-width:1px 0; } .post-title { margin:0; font-size:135%; line-height:1.5em; background:url("") no-repeat 10px .5em; display:block; border:1px dotted #bbb; border-width:0 1px 1px; padding:2px 14px 2px 29px; color:#333; } a.title-link, .post-title strong { text-decoration:none; display:block; } a.title-link:hover { background-color:#ded; color:#000; } .post-body { border:1px dotted #bbb; border-width:0 1px 1px; border-bottom-color:#fff; padding:10px 14px 1px 29px; } html>body .post-body { border-bottom-width:0; } .post p { margin:0 0 .75em; } { background:#ded; margin:0; padding:2px 14px 2px 29px; border:1px dotted #bbb; border-width:1px; border-bottom:1px solid #eee; font-size:100%; line-height:1.5em; color:#666; text-align:right; } html>body { border-bottom-color:transparent; } em { display:block; float:left; text-align:left; font-style:normal; } a.comment-link { /* IE5.0/Win doesn't apply padding to inline elements, so we hide these two declarations from it */ background/* */:/**/url("") no-repeat 0 45%; padding-left:14px; } html>body a.comment-link { /* Respecified, for IE5/Mac's benefit */ background:url("") no-repeat 0 45%; padding-left:14px; } .post img { margin:0 0 5px 0; padding:4px; border:1px solid #ccc; } blockquote { margin:.75em 0; border:1px dotted #ccc; border-width:1px 0; padding:5px 15px; color:#666; } .post blockquote p { margin:.5em 0; } /* Comments ----------------------------------------------- */ #comments { margin:-25px 13px 0; border:1px dotted #ccc; border-width:0 1px 1px; padding:20px 0 15px 0; } #comments h4 { margin:0 0 10px; padding:0 14px 2px 29px; border-bottom:1px dotted #ccc; font-size:120%; line-height:1.4em; color:#333; } #comments-block { margin:0 15px 0 9px; } .comment-data { background:url("") no-repeat 2px .3em; margin:.5em 0; padding:0 0 0 20px; color:#666; } .comment-poster { font-weight:bold; } .comment-body { margin:0 0 1.25em; padding:0 0 0 20px; } .comment-body p { margin:0 0 .5em; } .comment-timestamp { margin:0 0 .5em; padding:0 0 .75em 20px; color:#666; } .comment-timestamp a:link { color:#666; } .deleted-comment { font-style:italic; color:gray; } .paging-control-container { float: right; margin: 0px 6px 0px 0px; font-size: 80%; } .unneeded-paging-control { visibility: hidden; } /* Profile ----------------------------------------------- */ @media all { #profile-container { background:#cdc url("") no-repeat left bottom; margin:0 0 15px; padding:0 0 10px; color:#345; } #profile-container h2 { background:url("") no-repeat left top; padding:10px 15px .2em; margin:0; border-width:0; font-size:115%; line-height:1.5em; color:#234; } } @media handheld { #profile-container { background:#cdc; } #profile-container h2 { background:none; } } .profile-datablock { margin:0 15px .5em; border-top:1px dotted #aba; padding-top:8px; } .profile-img {display:inline;} .profile-img img { float:left; margin:0 10px 5px 0; border:4px solid #fff; } .profile-data strong { display:block; } #profile-container p { margin:0 15px .5em; } #profile-container .profile-textblock { clear:left; } #profile-container a { color:#258; } .profile-link a { background:url("") no-repeat 0 .1em; padding-left:15px; font-weight:bold; } ul.profile-datablock { list-style-type:none; } /* Sidebar Boxes ----------------------------------------------- */ @media all { .box { background:#fff url("") no-repeat left top; margin:0 0 15px; padding:10px 0 0; color:#666; } .box2 { background:url("") no-repeat left bottom; padding:0 13px 8px; } } @media handheld { .box { background:#fff; } .box2 { background:none; } } .sidebar-title { margin:0; padding:0 0 .2em; border-bottom:1px dotted #9b9; font-size:115%; line-height:1.5em; color:#333; } .box ul { margin:.5em 0 1.25em; padding:0 0px; list-style:none; } .box ul li { background:url("") no-repeat 2px .25em; margin:0; padding:0 0 3px 16px; margin-bottom:3px; border-bottom:1px dotted #eee; line-height:1.4em; } .box p { margin:0 0 .6em; } /* Footer ----------------------------------------------- */ #footer { clear:both; margin:0; padding:15px 0 0; } @media all { #footer div { background:#456 url("") no-repeat left top; padding:8px 0 0; color:#fff; } #footer div div { background:url("") no-repeat left bottom; padding:0 15px 8px; } } @media handheld { #footer div { background:#456; } #footer div div { background:none; } } #footer hr {display:none;} #footer p {margin:0;} #footer a {color:#fff;} /* Feeds ----------------------------------------------- */ #blogfeeds { } #postfeeds { padding:0 15px 0; }

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Roil - Trent Jamieson

It seems like steampunk is the new vampire with a huge number of new titles claiming it as a sub-genre.  This probably shouldn't be surprising given the huge boom in the urban fantasy market in recent years.  For the most part steampunk tends to be more familiar to people than second world fantasy or space opera with no connection to the "real world".  It is traditionally set in a Victorian or Old West environment with historical elements that make sense to mainstream readers and don't require vast amounts of information dumping to understand.  I only mention these things because Roil by Trent Jamieson isn't that kind of steampunk despite the familiarity of airships and steam engines.

Existing in a second world setting, Roil reminded me of The Last Page, Anthony Huso's 2010 debut novel from Tor.  Since reading Huso earlier in the year, I'd been looking for something similar that captured his talent for world building but exceeded the uneven storytelling.  Roil did just that.

Shale is dying and the Roil is spreading.  A black cloud of heat and madness has crept through the land, absorbing city after city.  Where the Roil goes, life ends.  Once there were 12 metropolises, now only 4 remain.  Only the cold can stop it, but things are getting hotter.  A young drug addict, an orphaned girl seeking vengeance, and an Old Man are all that stand between total darkness and the annihilation of humanity.  Armed with cold suits, ice rifles, and the Old Men mysticism, the three begin a journey north to the Engine of the World - a force capable of beating back the inexhaustible Roil.

If it seems curious that I capitalized Old Men thus far, it should.  In Jamieson's world the Old Men are something akin to the Apostles of Christ if the Apostles had an insatiable hunger (use your imagination) and the ability to conjure ice at will.  In this bad analogy the Engine of the World would be Christ.  Throughout the novel who, and why, the Old Men are is of utmost interest.  It is clear from early on that the Old Men are a bastion against the Roil.  Where the Roil is hot as the sun, the Old Men are cold as hell.

Jamieson populates his worlds as much with "villains" as with heroes.  I put quotes around villains because to be frank, I'm not sure Roil has a villain.  It's clear Jamieson wants his reader to dislike Stade, the leader of the city of Mirrlees who begins the novel by murdering his rivals in the street.  He sees the Roil as an inevitability and he wants to protect as much as Mirrlees as possible (everyone else can kiss his ass).  Sure that's distasteful ends justifies the means kind of stuff, but does it make him a villain?  Even the Roil itself, which is about as evil as it gets on the surface, is more a force of nature than a malevolence.

Given that, it should be no surprise that Jamieson's heroes aren't particularly heroic.  David, a young man of privilege is addicted to a drug called Carnival (heroinesque).  He is often more concerned about scoring than he is about staying alive.  His companion, an Old Man named John Cadell, isn't all roses either.  In fact, he killed David's uncle a few years back.  He's feels bad about it though.  The list goes on and on.  If a novel's strength is judged on its characters, then Roil is She-Hulk.  Not the Incredible Hulk mind you (there isn't necessarily an iconic character in the bunch), but Jamieson has created a smorgasbord of captivating characters that bring everything to life.

That said, Roil is not without some fault.  For all his world building and lush characterizations, Jamieson's story arc is a quest fantasy that will be decidedly familiar to anyone who's read a surfeit of speculative fiction novels.  Additionally some might find quite a bit of frustration is the lack of information he provides about the world.  In the early goings Jamieson sets up scenes of emotional loss, but doesn't provide a great deal of history about why it's important.  He forces his reader to infer and imply a lot which is it at times charming and at others equally infuriating.

On the strength of his setting and characters alone, I believe Jamieson has begun something that has the potential to be a standard bearer for Angry Robot while pushing the boundaries of steampunk as a sub-genre.  Roil is something I would recommend to all fans of epic fantasy.  The sequel, Night's Engines is due out next year and I'm very much looking forward to it.

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home