Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Unnatural History - dividing opinion

I came across these reviews of Pax Britannia: Unnatural History the other day, and they make for interesting reading (from my point of view at least). You know how people say, "Do you want the good news or the bad news first?" Well let's go with the bad. (I'll just give you the choice highlights - you can read the whole thing for yourself here.)

What makes reviewing this book complicated is the difficulty in discerning whether the campy, cliché-ridden, pulp-ishness of the book is intentional as an homage to earlier adventure novels, or simply an example of the standard of writing that is normally applied to multi-author paperback fantasy series, such as the Dragonlance, Forgotten Realms, or Halo series...

Green's writing style evokes clichés practically non-stop...

While there is style, and a lot of flash, Jonathan Green's contribution to the Pax Britanniaseries possesses very little substance...

I like that last bit. My contribution to the series "possesses very little substance." Really? After almost eight books, several novellas and with more story arcs planned, I'd beg to differ. But anyway, on to the good news.

Ulysses Quicksilver, is a dashing young man of not inconsiderable daring do. He's equal part Sherlock Holmes, James Bond, d'Artagnan, Allan Quatermain and Batman (sans the gimp suit)...

The writing is solid - I've read a few of Green's Warhammer books and they were usually pretty readable (I thoroughly enjoyed the two Armageddon ones) - with some nice flourishes...

As a series it has promise and the world is an interesting setting with echoes of many pulp sci-fi tropes showing up with the promise of a fun ride ahead.

You can read the rest of this review at The Steampunk Review.

Don't forget, you can now buy Unnatural History as part of The Ulysses Quicksilver Omnibus (Vol.1).


Kaushik Karforma said...

Hello Mr. Greem,

Greetings from India! I've completed Christmas Past, Leviathan Rising, and Dark Side, so far, and am reading Anno Frankenstein - in fact, I'm in the middle of Chapter 10, "All Hell".

Thank you for this series, sir!

Regarding the negative review, I think you missed out on the funniest sentence - This novel reads like pulp from top to bottom. I think the reviewer didn't understand that the books read like pulp because they ARE pulp.

But I think you're wrong in your reaction to her allegation that your contribution has little substance. Because UH was the first book in the series, and your reaction is benefiting from hindsight. Anyway, that's totally my opinion.

Once again, thanks a ton for writing Pax Britannia. Can't wait for Time's Arrow and Prodigal Son.

PS - I've taken a look at the last page of AF, and I see Ulysses is about to be arrested by a group of French soldiers! Am I right in assuming that somehow he's landed in an alternate timeline where the French had overthrown Magna Britannia? I understand this is a spoiler-rich question, so you might want to leave it out while publishing the comment. But it'd be nice to know the answer to that question. Could you reply me at kaushik.karforma@yahoo.com, if it's not too much trouble?



Jonathan Green said...

Hi Kaushik

Thanks for getting in touch. I've noticed that my blog's been getting a few hits from India. How cool is that?

Glad you've been enjoying the books and thanks for your comments about the reviews.

Anyway, check your inbox for a spoiler-rich reply to your final question.

Kaushik Karforma said...

Hello Mr. Green,

Just read your reply. Now my appetite's whetted even more