A fantastical reimagining of the American West which draws its influence from steampunk, the American western tradition, and magical realism
The world is only half made. What exists has been carved out amidst a war between two rival factions: the Line, paving the world with industry and claiming its residents as slaves; and the Gun, a cult of terror and violence that cripples the population with fear. The only hope at stopping them has seemingly disappeared—the Red Republic that once battled the Gun and the Line, and almost won. Now they're just a myth, a bedtime story parents tell their children, of hope.
To the west lies a vast, uncharted world, inhabited only by the legends of the immortal and powerful Hill People, who live at one with the earth and its elements. Liv Alverhyusen, a doctor of the new science of psychology, travels to the edge of the made world to a spiritually protected mental institution in order to study the minds of those broken by the Gun and the Line. In its rooms lies an old general of the Red Republic, a man whose shattered mind just may hold the secret to stopping the Gun and the Line. And either side will do anything to understand how.
At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.
Gilman (Gears of the City) honors the beauty of the frontier while skewering the colonists who despoil it in this vivid wild west flavored fantasy. At the western edge of the world, time and space behave oddly and monsters roam. Colonizers push west, enslaving the magic-using Hillfolk (a questionable stand-in for human natives) and bringing industry, religion, and war. The violence-loving followers of the Gun are slowly losing to the engine-worshippers of the Line; avoiding the conflict, psychologist Liv Alverhuysen treats and studies those driven mad by the Line's noise bombs. Then a wily agent of the Gun kidnaps Liv and her patient, the General, whose broken mind holds a secret that can destroy the gods of both forces. Line drudges and machines pursue the trio into the titular unfinished lands. Though the story moves slowly, the lyrical descriptions of the harsh, dramatic, and mystical frontier compel the reader onward.
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In this allegory for the carving of the American national identity, Gilman has made his mark as literary fantasist to rank with Thomas Pynchon. With prose that leaves treadmarks on your heart and mind, this wonderful tale of a search for answers and peace through a nation in it's infancy has all the makings of a timeless classic. Highly recommend this for anyone who wants to set their subconscious at play and wonder just what a nation builds itself upon.
Worth checking out
I couldn't help but laugh when I read the other review on here, this book is good yes, it's a interesting story, but it's not the next great American novel, not is it a instant classic, it is a enjoyable read though and I do recommend. It actually reminds me of those cheesy pulp horror type books I read as a child only much more fleshed out and subtle, maybe a little lovecraftian... Dunno, read it yourself its worth the day or two it takes to read.
I personally hated with a passion the main character, the chick doc, and really was rooting for the underdog the whole book. But it's got something for everyone, read it