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Agatha H. and the Airship City by Phil…
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Agatha H. and the Airship City (edition 2011)

by Phil Foglio (Author), Kaja Foglio (Author)

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3051936,648 (3.76)10
Member:jjmcgaffey
Title:Agatha H. and the Airship City
Authors:Phil Foglio (Author)
Other authors:Kaja Foglio (Author)
Info:San Francisco, CA : Night Shade Books, c2011.
Collections:Read, ebooks, Cover done
Rating:****1/2
Tags:Fic, SF, !Baen

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Agatha H. and the Airship City by Phil Foglio

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Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
Agatha H. and the Airship City is based on a number of graphic novels by the same authors. And it's... okay. It's a fun adventure story, female protagonist with brains, etc. But something felt off to me -- the way her figure was constantly emphasised, the whole bit where she was in her underwear... I don't know what the context of that is, but if it worked in the comics, it didn't work here. Especially since the opening made her seem so very young, and then suddenly it's all about her being a young woman and people perving on her. Bleh.

I might check out the graphic novels, but I'm not going to read any more of the books. I don't think they make good adaptations, or the authors don't translate their ideas well to a novel rather than a webcomic. It felt pretty mediocre, which is kinda disappointing since I know people adore the series. ( )
  shanaqui | Jun 28, 2014 |
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

Notes: This rating reflects my satisfaction with the novelization of Girl Genius. The comic itself is worth 5 stars. Artwork (used with permission) shown in the review at fantasyliterature.com.

Adventure! Romance! MAD SCIENCE!

Agatha H. and the Airship City is a novelization of the first three volumes of the Girl Genius comic created by Phil and Kaja Foglio. This beautiful comic strip, which won the 2009 and 2010 Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story, is ongoing and can be read from the beginning at Girl Genius Online. In fact, if you read or listen to the novelization, I’d suggest that you occasionally view the comic along with it so you can see the story’s strange characters and constructs (and, also, just because it’s gorgeous and deserves to be seen). At the bottom of each page is an archive with titles of the chapters, so it’s easy to find the pages you need while reading. The novelization follows the strip almost exactly, but there are some minor differences.

Phil & Kaja Foglio Girl Genius 1. Agatha H. and the Airship CityGirl Genius is a “gaslamp fantasy” set in a Victorian-style world which produces “Sparks” — admired, but also somewhat mad, geniuses who are able to create bizarre machines and biological constructs — some which make life easier for people, and some which can be used as deadly weapons. For years, the Sparks have been warring with each other and leaving devastation in their wakes. Things are beginning to stabilize, though, as Baron Wulfenbach, a particularly ambitious Spark, continues to annex more lands and to control them with his weird minions.

The story begins several years after the disappearance of the Heterodyne Boys, a couple of hero Spark brothers who fought evil and protected the regular people from the less benevolent Sparks. Without the protection of the Heterodynes, the people try to stay out of the way of the mad scientists, while hoping for the Heterodynes’ return. The heroine of Girl Genius is Agatha Clay, a girl who, though she isn’t aware of it at the beginning of the story, is actually Agatha Heterodyne, daughter of one of the Heterodyne Boys, and a very powerful Spark.

Agatha makes a charming heroine — she’s smart and brave, but somewhat clueless and not always capable. And, of course, as a Spark, she sometimes teeters on the edge of madness. The other characters, and even the machines and biological constructs, are also vivid and likable (or extremely unlikable when appropriate). The world, with its castles, airships, steam engines, metal monsters, and talking animals, is a lot of fun to explore. The plot is fast-paced and exciting and, as promised, contains “Adventure! Romance! MAD SCIENCE!”

Girl GeniusAll of this comes across so well in the comic, which has been published as a series of graphic novels available in hardback and paperback. So, why turn Girl Genius into novels? … I don’t know… I suppose that those who don’t read comics might read the Girl Genius story in novel form. Also novelization allows it to be put on audio, which is how I read Agatha H. and the Airship City. The audiobook is narrated by Angela Dawe, who is simply amazing — she’s enthusiastic and vibrant and has a wide range of voices and accents. She’s a lot of fun to listen to and a perfect choice for this zany story.

Readers who pick up Agatha H. and the Airship City while ignoring the comic will be missing out. The novelization is successful, but because it essentially recreates the story frame-by-frame, the scene and viewpoint transitions don’t always come across smoothly, and much of the humor that comes from the art is missing (though some of it is maintained through careful description). But, most importantly, so much of the charm of the comic comes from the stunning art! Thus, Agatha H. and the Airship City works as a novel, but it’s much better in graphic form. If you don’t have time to read years’ worth of the Girl Genius comic, then the audiobook is the next best thing. Just be sure to supplement your listening by occasionally following along with the artwork online. You can’t fully appreciate it otherwise. ( )
  Kat_Hooper | Apr 6, 2014 |
From giveaway by NightShade Books for Thanksgiving 2012.
  bookwormdreams | Apr 10, 2013 |
I have read all of the Girl Genius comics, so I have to review it through that lens. As a reworking of an existing story into a new medium, it's pretty fantastic - I don't think it supersedes the splendid comic, but it adds a lot of internal dialogue and depth to the characters that otherwise takes a lot more time to shine through. I would strongly recommend the book for fans of the existing comic - although I think I'd point new readers at the comic first, as well. ( )
  JeremyPreacher | Mar 30, 2013 |
got a copy at Night Shade's ebook giveaway! http://goo.gl/1KJh1
  CesarDimitrio | Mar 30, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (12 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Phil Foglioprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Foglio, Kajamain authorall editionsconfirmed
Kidd, TomCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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In a small clearing, an intricate device of glass and metal tubes scanned the night skies.
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Novelization. Please do not combine with Agatha Heterodyne and the Airship City
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The Industrial Revolution has escalated into all-out warfare. It has been sixteen years since the Heterodyne Boys, benevolent adventurers and inventors, disappeared under mysterious circumstances. Today, Europe is ruled by the Sparks, dynasties of mad scientists ruling over - and terrorizing - the hapless population with their bizarre inventions and unchecked power, while the downtrodden dream of the Hetrodynes' return. At Transylvania Polygnostic University, a pretty, young student named Agatha Clay seems to have nothing but bad luck. Incapable of building anything that actually works, but dedicated to her studies, Agatha seems destined for a lackluster career as a minor lab assistant. But when the University is overthrown by the ruthless tyrant Baron Klaus Wulfenbach, Agatha finds herself a prisoner aboard his massive airship Castle Wulfenbach - and it begins to look like she might carry a spark of Mad Science after all.… (more)

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