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The Dream of Perpetual Motion by Dexter…

The Dream of Perpetual Motion (original 2010; edition 2010)

by Dexter Palmer

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4793421,531 (3.45)31
Title:The Dream of Perpetual Motion
Authors:Dexter Palmer
Info:Picador (2010), Paperback, 356 pages
Collections:Your library, Science Fiction/Fantasy
Tags:fiction, science fiction, fantasy

Work details

The Dream of Perpetual Motion by Dexter Palmer (2010)

  1. 00
    The Tempest by William Shakespeare (sturlington)
    sturlington: The Dream of Perpetual Motion is a steampunk retelling of The Tempest

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Oh, dear. How to describe? First, a bit of explanation...I am a mostly non-practicing admirer of steam punk. By that, I mean I don't go to conventions, dress up in costumes (though I reserve that right - I have been known to dress up for the major holidays, like St. pats) or blog as a character. I am attracted to the visual part of steam punk, and have a set of brass goggles my family gave me. I took apart a Nerf pistol and had a lot of fun punking it. But reading about it?I wasn't sure.

And I'm still not. I read it and then went in search of what others thought of it. Mixed reviews, but the ones that didn't jibe were gushing. Whatever. Dexter Palmer wrote a convoluted string of dark and strange, mentioning some things about mechanical men and airships which I'm guessing defines steam punk. Imagine the final sequence in Kubrick Space Odyssey in which time twists, insert some twisted imagination (Palmer is a bit ill, or at least can think ill.) Darken it.

This book offered me none of the wonderful imagination of the steam punk subculture. I admit that gas masks and some parts are not my cup of tea, but the artifacts, weapons and machines are fantastic trips of fancy and creativeness. Not so, this Dream. That's not to say it isn't creative or imaginative, but it's also not fun. I gathered from one review that Thomas Pynchon might be a better choice, so adding to my list...

How to describe? Bizarre. ( )
  Razinha | May 23, 2017 |
Dreamy escapism orbiting a first person narrator who is constantly bombarded by wonder and doubt. Elegant. ( )
  apomonis | Jun 2, 2016 |
Prospero (magician) invented mechanical world that's driviing Harold nuts with noise. Daughter Miranda and Harry fall in love and get put on zeppelin Crysalis. References to The Tempest, interesting voice -- swiches from first to third to second person with same character narrating. Storyteling style with stories within sotries, injects horror, Frankenstein theme, humor , world building descriptive detail. ( )
  jenzbaker | Oct 25, 2015 |
Wow. I love it when a book can take me on that kind of adventure, where a real sense of danger permeates the pages, and I can't tell where things will end up. Palmer is so good that he frequently telegraphs upcoming plot points. A technique which adds another layer of creepiness to the book.

The novel was a delight to read, an alternate, steampunk world in the 20th century, where emerging mechanical men are threatening the magic of the previous generations.

I will certainly be looking forward to other books by this author. ( )
  bpagano | Oct 3, 2015 |
I won this through First Reads.

This is a strange book, though I think I like it for the most part. It has a lot of interesting ideas, which make it worth reading in and of themselves.
It starts at the end, jumps back twenty years, forward ten, then forward to right before the end. I didn't mind that much at all, I thought it was pretty well done, but as soon as you figure everything out, it ends.
It often wanders off on tangents, unrelated to the story. I think that adds a lot to the book, but it gets annoying sometimes. ( )
  DeFor | Nov 28, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 34 (next | show all)
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Prospero. -- Dost thou hear?

Miranda. Your tale, sir, would cure deafness. 

-- William Shakespeare, The Tempest
Here opened another totally new education, which promised by far to be the most hazardous of all. The knife edge along which he must crawl, like Sir Lancelot in the twelfth century, divided two kingdoms of force which had nothing in common but attraction. They were as different as a magnet is from gravitation, supposing one knew what a magnet was, or gravitation, or love. -- Henry Adams, The Education of Henry Adams
First words



spiraling down

Into. The. Sea?

spiraling slowly down and crashing in to the open sea?
I’m going to try to tell a story now, and though I’ve made a life out of writing words, this is the first time I have told a story. There are no new stories in the world anymore, and no more storytellers.
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With his only companions being his insane lover and her cryogenically frozen father, greeting card writer Harold Winslow must come to terms with the madness of a genius inventor and his quest to create a perpetual motion machine.

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Average: (3.45)
1 8
1.5 1
2 7
2.5 7
3 25
3.5 12
4 31
4.5 2
5 19

Tantor Media

An edition of this book was published by Tantor Media.

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