I decided to take a break from my usual reading patterns and explore two intriguing phenomena. The first is graphic novels which my public library now has an entire section devoted to and I’ve heard a lot of buzz about their art and creativity. The second is steampunk, a genre of science fiction based on possible but not probable technology from the 19th century. With this twin interests in mind I checked out the following books:
The Remarkable Worlds of Professor Phineas B. Fuddle by Boaz Yakin, Erez Yakin and Angus McKie.
Two English scientists Angus and McKee learn that strange climactic changes and invasions of even stranger creatures are caused by the time travel exploits of the eponymous Prof. Fuddle. Apparently Fuddle decided to travel through time to share technology with earlier cultures in order to prevent violence and warfare. Instead he creates a time paradox of multiple, overlapping universes.
Angus and McKee follow Fuddle through time in an attempt to reverse Fuddle’s interventions. Most of the plot is nonsensical but fun as the two English scientists visit pharaoh’s Egypt, ancient India, and medieval England. They get in and out of scrapes, and eventually find Fuddle and return him home. Or do they?
The best part of this book is the illustration with colorful, chaotic scenes of ancient cultures adapting to modern technology that come out as cross between Where’s Waldo? and William Hogarth.
The Five Fists of Science by Matt Fraction and Steven Sanders
This graphic novels sets off a battle of Mark Twain, Nikola Tesla, Baroness Bertha Von Suttner vs. JP Morgan, Thomas Edison, Guglielmo Marconi, and Andrew Carnegie. Tesla and his assistant invent a giant robot which Twain and the Baroness see as a means of creating world peace on the theory that no one would want to face the annihilation of this massive weapon. Meanwhile Morgan and Edison construct a giant tower to tap into the dark arts and gain power for themselves through human sacrifices. Inevitably the two sides go into battle with good triumphing over evil. Or does it?
I liked the quirky use of historical characters in this book although I feel it could use more text and dialog to fill out the narrative.
This is something I’d like to read more of so if anyone has any good graphic novel or steampunk recommendations, let me know in the comments.