cover image The Half-Made World

The Half-Made World

Felix Gilman, Tor, $25.99 (480p) ISBN 978-0-7653-2552-5

Gilman (Gears of the City) honors the beauty of the frontier while skewering the colonists who despoil it in this vivid wild west–flavored fantasy. At the western edge of the world, time and space behave oddly and monsters roam. Colonizers push west, enslaving the magic-using Hillfolk (a questionable stand-in for human natives) and bringing industry, religion, and war. The violence-loving followers of the Gun are slowly losing to the engine-worshippers of the Line; avoiding the conflict, psychologist Liv Alverhuysen treats and studies those driven mad by the Line's noise bombs. Then a wily agent of the Gun kidnaps Liv and her patient, the General, whose broken mind holds a secret that can destroy the gods of both forces. Line drudges and machines pursue the trio into the titular unfinished lands. Though the story moves slowly, the lyrical descriptions of the harsh, dramatic, and mystical frontier compel the reader onward. (Oct.)