Review for Derek J. Goodman’s Machina
Derek J. Goodman has crafted four very different and very intriguing fantastical stories about machines that seem to spring straight from his imagination onto the page.
The first, Dea Ex Machina, mixes the grim metallic future of a world filled with humans that are essentially factory slaves, working on machines as if they too are machines, but it also has magic in it as well that goes beyond the simple metal and zombie slave mentality that shackles the workers in place.
The second, a novella, Twister Sisters, was the story I enjoyed the most, more than likely because I have not been exposed to much steam punk and this was a rousing introduction to the genre. The depth of the society the author developed was exceptional. Here we are thrust not only into a world where steam and machines allow humans to take flight in massive contraptions, but also is a place where women, for the most part, rule and men play a secondary role due to their penchant towards violence and machismo. I enjoyed this swashbuckling tale of high adventure and would not mind re-entering that world once again.
Those Were The Days, the third story, was something I, as a kid who grew up on 80s teen and sci fi stories could appreciate. The author’s notes confirmed that he shares similar sentiments with me about movies such as War Games, amongst others. Revisiting and updating a lost tale from the 80s allowed me to grow nostalgic for a story that never actually existed, though it seemed quite familiar to me.
As Wide As The Sky, And Twice as Explosive was the shortest and in some ways, the most interesting of the four stories found in this book. A boy who finds the sky dwelling and warring giant robots far more fascinating and intoxicating than his earth-bound human counterparts is not all that different than things we have seen before, but the extent to which he takes that fascination definitely new. We are given a taste of something that perhaps might leave you wondering where a story like this could lead to if it was expanded, and wondering whether you would be interested in taking such a journey.
Overall, I enjoyed the diversity of machine related stories the author has lined up in this book. I could really get into a larger volume of steam punk either in the world of Twister Sisters or a brand new one from Derek Goodman. I also have a feeling the author has many other worlds he could show us with machines in them that are just as fascinating as the ones he has shown us here.
Machina can be found at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Machina-Derek-J-Goodman/dp/145155351X/ref=cm_cr-mr-title