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LITERATURE

the Texas Steampunk Trilogy: by American Manga author extraordinare Lea Hernandez (Rumble Girls). The Trilogy includes Cathedral Child, Clockwork Angels, and Ironclad Petal. The creator spins an interesting series, starting with a church-inhabiting analytical engine called Cathedral, and ending in a place that has not yet been foreseen.This work of American Manga is often more of a Victorian Romance Adventure, but the themes developed in the first book are well worth the price of admission. Also: this is a series that females might actually enjoy reading. FOCUS

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Which version? The comic book or the movie? The comic books were created by famed creator Alan Moore, responsible for groundbreaking titles like Batman: The Killing Joke, V is for Vendetta, and Watchmen. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, not abbreviated into LXG until the awful movie came out, was Moore's love letter to the British literature of the 1800's. He presents a pretty logical hypothesis that superheroes, as defined and proliferated by America, really evolved from these larger than life characters in 19th Century Victorian literature. Thus, we get Alan Quartermain, Captain Nemo, Doctor Jeckyl, and many others that my Microsoft Word spell check is too stupid to recognize, teamed together to fight threats-against-the-world. The movie is limp and deflated, ignoring Quartermain's opium addiction as existing in the comics, and throwing in characters like Tom Sawyer and riddling the script with ham-handed characterization to appease stupid American audiences who have never heard of Jules Verne or Bram Stoker. Not that Tom Sawyer is necessarily a bad idea (if he had been anything beyond a simple name), but the entire execution of this adaptation is flawed. Another example: the humongous (and rather interesting interpretation) of the Nautilus effortlessly glides through the shallow, narrow canals of Venice. The core plot has to do with an enigmatic villain's attempts to start a World War a few dozen years too early, and profit from an arms race based on fantastically advanced weaponry. This is all well and good, if you stick to the written/illustrated material. As for the movie, when Sean Connery was asked about the director by a reporter, he replied, "Ask my about somebody I like!"

Dinotopia: In 1862, biologist Arthur Denison and his young son Will are washed up on the shore of an uncharted island, where they discover humans and an ancient race of dinosaurs sharing a civilization of wonder and adventure.The original was a masterpiece by Author/Artist James Gurney. It won a number of awards and spawned some great sequels… and some less great attempts at TV shows, TV movies and videogames. At the risk of completely convuluting things... dare I even call this a work of Dinopunk? Dinosaurs are certainly used in a sophisticated version of the Flintstone method, but there are also a lot of sophisticated machines present in this Victorian-era world. I was completely blown away by Dinotopia when I discovered it as a young boy. It was the coolest thing since Legend of Zelda cereal.

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20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: one of the best... novels... ever.

the Mysterious Island / House of Steam - other Verne works.