The Half-Made World
Tor, Oct 12 2010, $25.99
At one time seemingly in ancient history or earlier the now mythical Red Republic allegedly kept some order between the industrial polluting Line and the violent prone Gun. However, that was then; now the Red Republic is a legend in which people who abhor violence and terrorism against others and the planet dream of a return as hope for the future is nonexistent.
Line Colonizers tramp west, trampling anything in their way. They enslave the native magic practitioners Hillfolk while creating their industrial revolution built on the trifold engines of religion, war and slavery. The Gun is losing the longer term war to the Line due to technological advances in weapons of mass destruction and the enemy’s willingness to ignore collateral damage to others like the Hillfolk. Psychologist Dr. Liv Alverhuysen researches the impact of the Line's noise bombs on victims who go insane. She finds one case study particularly fascinating as the scrambled mind General claims he was an officer of the Red Republic. However, the desperate Gun abducts the shrink and the lunatic just in case his story is not insane.
The Half-Made World is a terrific alternate historical that uses the settling of the American West as a strong satire that rips the ethnic cleansing colonization and the industrial revolution polluting war machine. Not for grizzly mamas who would claim Felix Gilman is a liberal apologist, readers who relish a deep well written satire will enjoy this swift modest proposal of how the west was lost.