Monday, November 21, 2011
REVIEW: The Gunfighter and The Gear-Head by Cassandra Duffy
Kind of a steampunk, post-apocalyptic, western, alien invasion mash-up, The Gunfighter and The Gear-Head is the most fun I've had between the pages of a book all year. It's sexy, it's funny, it's action-packed, and did I mention, it's sexy? :)
While you'll find the usual steampunk technology here (like steam-powered dirigibles and methanol powered automobiles), it's the more bizarre contraptions that excited me. For example, who wouldn't want a Sapphic Intimate Encounter Reciprocity Concluder that "let's a lesbian couple know when they're done having sex." Because, as we all know, "without it, girl-girl sex could hypothetically go on indefinitely."
Technology aside, it's the interplay between Gieo and Fiona really drives the story. Theirs is one of the weirdest, most wonderful romances in speculative fiction, as much a battle of the intellect as it is a celebration of the physical. There's a scene where an exasperated Fiona asks if there's anything she can do that Gielo won't enjoy, to which Gielo responds "I'm not sure. Why don't you start doing things to me, and I'll let you know when I don't like one of them?" that really sums them up nicely.
There are also some very absurd, Monty Python-esque developments to the story that should make you groan with feigned outrage, but which you can't help but clap delightedly at. The methanol addicted cultists are a prime example - having noticed the alien invader's aversion to blindness, they volunatrily drink themselves blind to protect themselves. That might be fine, if all they did was hole up in a cave and hide, but these crazy cultists want to fight . . . even though they can't see two feet in front of their faces.
Extremely well-written, with a story that's told a break-neck pace, but which never becomes tiresome, this is a book I would gladly read again and again. I know I'm not doing it justice here, but it's so hard to explain, without spoiling the story. Suffice to say, if you're up for an imaginative, slightly-absurd, reluctantly romantic buddy-cop style comedy, set is a post-apocayptic future decimated half by aliens, and half by human insanity, then I can't recommend this highly enough. Read it and enjoy!