Tuesday, August 8, 2017
Book Review: Slaves of the Switchboard of Doom by Bradley W. Schenck
I love steampunk. (No, this is not steampunk; just hear me out, OK?) I love the whole concept of a world where science reality continued as it was in around 1870 or so: no electricity, but steam and clockwork and Darwinism not thoroughly understood and ether! Wow. It's just so fun to live in those worlds while I read.
Now, Schenck has done a similar thing with his retro-sci-fi. It's sort of "rocketpunk," if you will. His premise for all of his books and much of his (fantastic) artwork is this: What if science had gone on the way it was imagined in the action/adventure and sci-fi stories of the 1930s? Thus he creates "stories of the retro-future." In Slaves, for example, he has characters use an iPad-like device called an Info-Slate -- but there's no high-speed internet; there isn't even dial-up. Instead, the information is routed via a switchboard, where humans (or enslaved robotic persons) must plug and unplug different connections, the way phone operators did for decades. It's just so amusing to see the world he creates.
The plot is crazy fun, well-paced, and full of little twists. The characters are surprisingly well-developed. The artwork is fabulous! And the humor! Oh my. It's like reading Douglas Adams, but set decades earlier.
If you have a good sense of humor and like sci-fi, pick this one up. You'll be glad you did.
And even if you're not a sci-fi person (it's really not my favorite genre, but I own all of Schenck's books), give this a try anyway. It's more Jetsons than Star Wars.
Oh, just go buy a copy; you'll love it. :D