The Half-Made World by Felix Gilman

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A fantastical reimagining of the American West which draws its influence from steampunk, the American western tradition, and magical realism

The world is only half made. What exists has been carved out amidst a war between two rival factions: the Line, paving the world with industry and claiming its residents as slaves; and the Gun, a cult of terror and violence that cripples the population with fear. The only hope at stopping them has seemingly disappeared—the Red Republic that once battled the Gun and the Line, and almost won. Now they’re just a myth, a bedtime story parents tell their children, of hope.

To the west lies a vast, uncharted world, inhabited only by the legends of the immortal and powerful Hill People, who live at one with the earth and its elements. Liv Alverhyusen, a doctor of the new science of psychology, travels to the edge of the made world to a spiritually protected mental institution in order to study the minds of those broken by the Gun and the Line. In its rooms lies an old general of the Red Republic, a man whose shattered mind just may hold the secret to stopping the Gun and the Line. And either side will do anything to understand how.

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About Felix Gilman

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FELIX GILMAN has been nominated for the John W. Campbell award and the Locus Award for best new writer. He is the author of the critically acclaimed Thunderer, Gears of the City, and The Half-Made World, which was listed by Amazon as one of the ten best SFF novels of 2010. He lives with his wife in New York City.
Published October 12, 2010 by Tor Books. 480 pages
Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Literature & Fiction, History. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Half-Made World

Publishers Weekly

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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.

Aug 23 2010 | Read Full Review of The Half-Made World

BC Books

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The Line almost seemed a bit like George Orwell's dystopian 1984, with the individual suppressed in favor of the larger machine.

Dec 23 2011 | Read Full Review of The Half-Made World

BC Books

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And yet the way world elements are introduced — through flashbacks of the main characters, exposition in characters we meet along the way, and then through children's books read along the way and snippets of conversation — it all seems so natural and organic that it gently tugs you along towards ...

Dec 23 2011 | Read Full Review of The Half-Made World


These Agents fight the Line wherever they can, but are no more appreciated by most of those who keep themselves neutral than are the men of the Line, as their methods are typically violent and destructive.

Jan 05 2011 | Read Full Review of The Half-Made World

AV Club

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Their connection isn’t immediately explained, but what is clear is the cohesive power of their world, a place where the farthest unexplored territory is still considered “un-made,” and where the forces of the Line devour whole towns in their war against chaos and the individual.

Oct 28 2010 | Read Full Review of The Half-Made World

Bookmarks Magazine

Zack Handlen Critical Summary What most impressed reviewers of The Half-Made World was the way that Gilman drew upon elements from many different science fiction and fantasy subgenres, such as steampunk and dystopian fiction, without making his world seem like an unoriginal mishmash.

Nov 01 2010 | Read Full Review of The Half-Made World


Liv knows nothing of the General's past, but she wants to cure him;

Nov 09 2010 | Read Full Review of The Half-Made World

Strange Horizons

There is nothing half-made about The Half-Made World.

Jan 26 2011 | Read Full Review of The Half-Made World

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