cover image The Sightless City

The Sightless City

Noah Lemelson. Tiny Fox, $16.95 trade paper (454p) ISBN 978-1-946501-33-2

Clarke’s Law—that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic—meets dieselpunk in Lemelson’s enjoyable debut, an inventive mash-up of science fiction and hardboiled mystery. Marcel Talwar fought for liberty—and sangleum, the aether-oil powering his postapocalyptic society’s weird science—in a war that left him maimed in body and spirit. Now he’s a private investigator working regular jobs for war acquaintance Lazarus Roache, who runs Lazacorp, a megacompany dealing in sangleum. After a set of indecipherable mechanical diagrams captioned “show to an engineer” appears in Marcel’s office, Marcel uncovers a conspiracy at the heart of Lazacorp that encompasses genocide, religious zealotry, and a brewing revolution. Meanwhile, Sylvaine Pelletier, a brilliant, animalian engineer who gave up everything in her quest to restore some of the world’s pre-apocalyptic splendor, discovers that Roache can supply her with the power she needs to manipulate sangleum, but at a high cost. The book ends in a somewhat predictable setup for the sequel, but getting there is good fun, with stellar worldbuilding and quick pacing. This is sure to entertain any fan of gritty speculative fiction. [em](July) [/em]