Friday, December 17, 2010

What we're reading: Pastworld

What if there was another economic collapse, frighteningly more severe than anything we’ve experienced? What if, in response to this economic collapse, a powerful corporation stepped in and essentially “purchased” one of the world’s most recognizable cities, built a dome over it and “restored” it to an earlier period in time, and charged admission for visitors to experience living there and then? And what if the efforts to re-create that earlier time period were taken too far?

This is the premise of Ian Beck’s Pastworld, where the rich and bored pay to experience the novelty--and brutality--of Victorian London. And those not so well off live in the city, often in squalor, to provide an authentic experience for the paying guests. But the Buckland Corporation’s quest for authenticity may have gone too far, because now the Fantom roams the streets of Pastworld and he is committing murders very similar to those of one of London’s most infamous residents. . .

While some of the characters are not as fully realized as readers might hope, Beck has created a world that is quite compelling and believable, and the story is gripping right up to the very end. While the story’s resolution is complete and satisfying, there is also enough of an opening to make a repeat visit to Pastworld possible. I certainly hope Beck provides us the opportunity!

Thanks to Daryl for this fascinating review!

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