Tuesday, August 2, 2011
Paul Di Filippo
The Steampunk Trilogy
The Steampunk Trilogy is a macabre romp through history that never was enlivened by a giddy sense of humor. William Gibson compares it Max Ernst’s Un Semaine de Bonte which I think is appropriate as it is also a cut up of pulp adventure, penny dreadfuls, gaslight science fiction, with surreal imagery. Similar ground to Powers and Gibson/Sterling but the strongest resemblance is to Pynchon with a mix of technological speculation, serious augury, slapstick comedy, dialects, bizarre characters, parodies of literature and history, and raunchy sex. Weird comic adventures with asides to the social constraints of the 19th century, pseudo science, and the interaction of fiction characters (both made up by Di Fillipo and from literary sources) and historical figures.
Ribofunk is a comic and bizarre collection of stories describing a bioengineered future that reads like a combination of Bruce Sterling’s Schismatrix, Warner Brother’s Cartoons, W.S. Burrough’s fever dream, Chandler noir, Cordwainer Smith, Disney talking animal tales, and fairy tales. Disgusting, funny, confusing, and filled with style and word games. A future that is neither utopian or dystopian and pokes fun at the present and many sci fi tropes. For its mad cap humor and imagination it reminds of me Steve Aylett.