Sebastian is a young man living a thousand years in the future, in the remains of a destroyed world hit by a nuclear apocalypse way back when. Orphaned by disease, and trapped with a horrible aunt as his guardian, he is not able to continue his passions for a long-gone mechanical, steam-powered age he had been experiencing with a caring teacher. But when he finds an envelope hidden in a jewelbox he must fight for his life in a violent and raging adventure – this changes everything.
Steampunk goes head to head with Cyberpunk in a post-apocalyptic setting in TESLA by Mark Lingane, the first in a series of apocalyptic-themed books from this prolific author.
This original take on both of these tropes, and then setting them against each other is clever and satisfying for lovers of the genres involved. It’s like a supermatch between each camp, mixed with magic and war to the extent that Lingane has pulled off a totally new cocktail in a market that has been swamped with this kind of idea in recent times.
It takes a while to get going, but then Sebastian emerges as a relatable, interesting model for YA readers and evolves into a boy-to-man epic. Smash cuts and some more geeky exchanges in dialogue do mean readers may get a little over-muddled at times, and maybe Tesla’s prose could have benefitted for a tweak content edit to remove these hitches, but clever nods and witty naming conventions smooth over any dislikes here and keep the book rolling. Given the cover, and presentation of the text, there’s no doubt this is any example of a genre book that shows that indie doesn’t have to mean “homemade.” This is a professionally created novel, and has much to offer in terms of a lesson in self-publishing for others looking into how it should be done. Not only is Lingane a prolific writer, but also a master of marketing, with this book hitting bestseller #1 status this month in Steampunk categories.
This really is a cool mash-up novel, with Victorian elements meeting cyborgs head on in battles that draw upon all the well-loved imagery and possibilities, not to mention the fact Lingane is Australian – the seething hot Australian territory seems to have inspired a lot of this scenery, giving us some parallels with Mad Max and the works of Rusell Mulcahy on film, in book form. and what’s more, you can dive into the rest of Lingane’s series straight after, and get the most out of the fascinating futuristic world he’s creating with this series, and will be enjoyed by readers of all ages, well into adulthood and geekdoms of all sorts.