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The Rise of the Automated Aristocrats by…

The Rise of the Automated Aristocrats

by Mark Hodder

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The Rise of the Automated Aristocrats
Author: Mark Hodder
Publisher: Pyr Books
Published In: Amherst, NY
Date: 2015
Pgs: 382


Sir Richard has taken an expedition into the future. On his return with knowledge and technologies beyond anything imagined in the current era. These technologies must remain secret if history is to proceed as it should. But one of Sir Richard’s colleagues has gone rogue. And those secrets have fallen into the hands of those very people who are most likely to misuse them. Horror as London is transformed into a steampunk nightmare. Enemies of the state. Propaganda. Automata. Betrayal. Counter betrayal. Danger abounds. Sir Richard and his band of revolutionaries are faced with an indestructible and immortal autocrat.

Alternate History
Historical fiction
Science fiction

Why this book:
Burton and Swinburne are great. Hodder is great.


Favorite Character:
Edward Burton, Sir Richard’s brother and Minister of Chronological Affairs...even though we can’t be sure for most of the story which side he’s really on. Twist, counter twist, great stuff. Is he a villain? Is he a patriot? Is he a self serving, snivelling politician? Is he a hero?

Least Favorite Character:
Disraeli is a douche.

The Feel:
The steampunk isn’t overwhelmed by the time travel and robots. Great stuff.

Favorite Scene:
The sword duel.

Love the pace.

Plot Holes/Out of Character:
The crew of the Orpheus being cyphers when they reappear in the second act.

The Beetle disappearing from the narrative so completely after the first act. I understand it, but he’s too important to vanish so completely.

Hmm Moments:
The crossing of timelines and Gordian knot of lifetimes is well presented here.

Love the who is behind it mystery.

Great class warfare elements with the automated men both a means to an end and an end in themselves.

“If the ladder could be more easily climbed, the weight would surely accrue at the top, and inevitably, it would overbalance and fall. In order to be safe, the center of gravity must stay at the foot. Thus does the empire’s stability depend upon their being a clear division between the few at the heights and the laboring masses at the bottom”

...wow...that sounds like a lesson in the economics of the last 30 years in America where lipservice is paid to the idea of someone being able to climb the ladder while rungs are being removed from the ladder on an ongoing basis.

Why isn’t there a screenplay?
Probably won’t be...but it would be awesome if done right. Give it a Warehouse 13, Victoriana feel and let the steampunk awesomeness flow.

Casting call:
William B Davis of X-Files fame could be Disraeli or Babbage or Edward Burton. He could fit all those roles and bring the proper amount of menace, self servingness, madness, or officiousness to them. Yes...I am currently binging on X-Files on Netflix.

Last Page Sound:

Author Assessment:
I read Book 6 of this series and it stood on its own. It gave enough detail on past adventures to make it all hang together. The book stands on its own even with 5 other novels ahead of it. Love it when an author can do that.

I thought I had previously read something by Hodder, but I can’t find it listed on my Goodreads or on my LibraryThing accounts. This is probably because the style and prose sucks you in and makes the world of Sir Richard feel familiar to the reader even as the Sir Richards are at odds with themselves across multiple alternate historical iterations of his psyche.

Editorial Assessment:
See the Author’s Assessment above. The same can be said about editorial. Having the story stand up on its own while the other 5 books all indirectly influence this one is awesome. Well done.

Knee Jerk Reaction:
real genre classic

Irving Public Library
South Campus
Irving, TX

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  texascheeseman | Sep 25, 2015 |
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"Sir Richard Francis Burton's expedition has returned from the future, bringing with it knowledge of technologies that must remain secret if history is to proceed as it should. However, when one of his colleagues turns rogue, the secret falls into the hands of the very people most likely to misuse it. Betrayed, Burton and Swinburne watch in horror as the Empire's elite employ the technology to secure their positions of privilege"--Page 4 of cover.… (more)

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