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George Mann

George MannGeorge Mann is a Sunday Times bestselling novelist and scriptwriter. His comic writing includes extensive work on Doctor Who, Dark Souls, Warhammer 40,000 and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. He’s written audio scripts for Doctor Who, Blake’s 7, Sherlock Holmes, Warhammer 40,000 and more. As Editor he’s assembled four anthologies of original Sherlock Holmes fiction, as well as multiple volumes of The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction and The Solaris Book of New Fantasy. His website is at www.george-mann.com, and you can find him on Twitter at @george_mann

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The Affinity Bridge: Clever idea, poor execution

The Affinity Bridge by George Mann

I did not have any expectations for George Mann’s The Affinity Bridge, and it managed to disappoint me anyway.

The book is beautifully presented. I must remember what they say about books and covers. Besides the beautiful cover, The Affinity Bridge has a clever idea: a Holmesian detective who is an Agent of the Crown, and his plucky female Dr Watson, in a steampunk world. Poor plotting, shallow characterization and bad prose stand between this idea and its execution.

In the Whitechapel slums, people are being strangled by a strange “blue glowing policeman.” Just as Newbury and Hobbes, our two protagonists, begin to investigate, Queen Victoria calls them away to solve the mystery of an airship crash. It is immediately clear to the reader that the slum murders and the crash will be connected, and it is soon cl... Read More

The Osiris Ritual: Fun, predictable, slightly charming

The Osiris Ritual by George Mann

George Mann’s The Osiris Ritual (2010) is the sequel to his Victorian-era fantasy-mystery, The Affinity Bridge. It shares the same setting and characters, as well as the same positives and, unfortunately, negatives as its predecessor.

We’re back at the start with Sir Maurice, one of her Majesty’s agents and a specialist in the occult, as he attends the unwrapping (literally) of a newly-discovered mummy, who turns out to have been mummified alive. The mystery deepens when those associated with finding the mummy start to turn up dead. Soon, Sir Maurice is caught up in a web of violence involving the contemporary murderer, an old Egyptian myth (the basis for the title), and a rogue English agent who allegedly died years ago. Meanwhile, his assistant Veronica is caught up in her own mystery: a group of young women have gone missing, all of whom... Read More

Ghosts of Manhattan: Has serious problems

Ghosts of Manhattan by George Mann

I’ve been lukewarm to George Mann’s Victorian steampunk novels set in London, finding them mostly adequate: quick-paced but a bit flat and somewhat too beholden to cinematic cliché. They are intermittently entertaining and lively, but never quite get all the way to good. Mann’s new novel, Ghosts of Manhattan, is similar, but set in America this time. It’s perhaps a step above the London novels in quality.

It’s 1926 and America is in a cold war with a British Empire that still stretches over much of the world. The city of New York is filled with coal-powered cars and rocket-propelled biplanes. It’s also filled with crooks, most notably The Roman: the violent head of a group of gangsters and the person seemingly responsible for a run of targeted murders, each victim left with a pair of authentic Roman coins on their eyelids.

The police seem... Read More

The Solaris Book of New Fantasy: Celebrates the rich diversity of the genre

The Solaris Book of New Fantasy by George Mann (ed.)

I’m pretty much a novice when it comes to short fiction. Because of my lack of experience in this area, I hope that you will bear with me as I try to provide a thoughtful and comprehensive analysis of The Solaris Book of New Fantasy, even if I don’t always succeed. The plan is to first look at each short story individually providing synopses and commentary, followed by my evaluation of the compilation as a whole. So, let’s look at the stories:

1) “Who Slays the Gyant, Wounds the Beast” by Mark Chadbourn. On Christmas Eve in the year 1598 in a world where England is at war against the Faerie, England’s greatest spy Will Swyfte is on a mission of the greatest import — he has until dawn to prevent the Faerie Queen from crossing over to the other side. If he doesn’t, then the Unseelie Court w... Read More

More speculative fiction by George Mann

Sherlock Holmes — (2013-2014) Publisher: A young man named Peter Maugram appears at the front door of Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson’s Baker Street lodgings. Maugram’s uncle is dead and his will has disappeared, leaving the man afraid that he will be left penniless. Holmes agrees to take the case and he and Watson dig deep into the murky past of this complex family.

fantasy and science fiction book reviewsfantasy and science fiction book reviewsfantasy and science fiction book reviews


fantasy and science fiction book reviewsThe Human Abstract — (2004) Publisher: Guided by machines from Earth, the colony world of Copernica has become a stable human outpost, a world not dissimilar to Earth itself, with a burgeoning population and culture of its own. But Rehan Mihajlovic, a dealer in antiquarian goods, is about to find out that history is only as reliable as those who write it, and that death, when it comes, is never very far away…


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