Review: The Robot Scientist’s Daughter

The Robot Scientist's Daughter Front CoverThe Robot Scientist’s Daughter
by Jeannine Hall Gailey
Mayapple Press
Paperback, 9781936419425, 82pp.
Publication Date: March 1, 2015

It’s hard to resist a book with the title The Robot Scientist’s Daughter. Those four words send the mind in a myriad of directions. Is this science fiction? A child’s tale? A woman’s story? A cousin of Frankenstein? And the answer would be, ‘yes, it is, and more. Genre be damned.’

The story unfolds via poetry—little glimpses of life pressed to each page like butterflies pinned to a board. And, like life, it can’t all be told at once, nor in order, and not always in the same mood. The days of the life of the Robot Scientist’s Daughter can be peaceful and beautiful, yet burdened by the price that must be paid. Other times, the nightmares are close to the surface and not always hidden behind sleeping eyes. It’s complicated to be the Robot Scientist’s Daughter.

She lives amongst the clutter and ruins of a Project called Manhattan, quite literally within a notable hot spot. Atomic bombs, nuclear reactors, softly dying plants and animals (and people), weapons grade uranium, idyllic meadows, these are the puzzle pieces that make up the landscape of her childhood.  It’s where she grew up, learning, as children do, about their surroundings. She knows the birds and the strawberries and is a true child of nature, such as it is. Her realities are our nightmares, and her dreams are our history.

I wavered as she charmed, terrified, soothed and disturbed me. I often stopped to stare at the palm of my right hand—the same hand that, as a child, I would cup to hold a large blob of mercury and roll it around, watching how pretty it was as it sparkled and undulated, before easing it back into the little tube I would carry around in my pocket.

My hand looks smooth and healthy, after all these years. I can’t help but feel a kinship with the Robot Scientist’s Daughter. We are survivors, we are the products of our time, and we are strong and clever, knowledgeable in the ways of unnatural nature. We survived in the worst of times, how can we help but thrive in the best of times?

Visit Jeannine Hall Gailey’s website to learn more about her.

Pre-Order The Robot Scientist’s Daughter

Fantastic!

If you’ve dreamed of owning Jess Nevins Encyclopedia of Fantastic Victoriana but weren’t willing to take out a second mortgage to get the collectors edition (or your landlord nixed the idea), or if your floorboards couldn’t handle the sheer weight of that tome… good news! It’s now light as a feather in Kindle format, and cheaper than lunch at Applebees.

My review of the hardcover copy (now a decade out of print, very expensive, and let’s face it, big enough to require a wheelbarrow to de-shelve), is reads thusly:

“This book is big. Really big. Vastly and hugely big. You may think it’s a long way down to the chemists, but that’s peanuts compared to The Encyclopedia of Fantastic Victoriana. I’ve looked up so many entries and each time I do, I find myself wandering about to other random entries. Cracking into this book requires time (and a wheelbarrow), but it’s time well spent. Rather like wandering through an information maze and finding little prizes at the end of the dead-stops throughout. Jess knows his stuff, and now thanks to his encyclopedia, so do I.”

The official description is probably more helpful.

“This enormous volume is the first comprehensive encyclopedia of fantastic literature of the nineteenth century. From detective fiction to historical novels, from well-known authors like Jules Verne and H.G. Wells, to Russian newspaper serials and Chinese martial arts novels, THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF FANTASTIC VICTORIANA is a truly exhaustive look at every aspect of fantastic literature in the days of Queen Victoria.”

Countdown: One Day To Brassbright

In 1 day you’ll meet someone who doesn’t just mangle the spoken word—but twists them till they squeak, turns them inside out, and forces them into meanings that make Etymologists hurl themselves off cliffs.

“The Flight To Brassbright” publishes January 31, 2015 and is available for pre-order in electronic form for the Kindle, the Nook, or all other formats (except print) from Smashwords, for $4.99.

words

Countdown: Four Days To Brassbright

In 4 days you’ll learn exactly what is so darned special about the Ladies Parlor at the Air Azimuth Aether Docks. This luxury skyport serves as a principal transfer hub to and from points all over Industralia.

“The Flight To Brassbright” publishes January 31, 2015 and is available for pre-order in electronic form for the Kindle, the Nook, or all other formats (except print) from Smashwords, for $4.99.

Air Azimuth Ladies Parlor

Countdown: Six Days To Brassbright

In 6 days that tweeting and trilling sound you hear will be coming from a genuine clockwork bird, a marvel of the modern age built by the Songbird Twitter Works in collaboration with the Featherstone Fine Novelty Company of Ratchet Bluffs.

“The Flight To Brassbright” publishes January 31, 2015 and is available for pre-order in electronic form for the Kindle, the Nook, or all other formats (except print) from Smashwords, for $4.99.

 

Songbird Twitter Works Ad

Countdown: Seven Days To Brassbright

In 7 days we will race the clock to be on time when that venerable airship, The Jasmine, shrugs off its mooring ropes and sails the skies of Industralia. You don’t want to be left on the ground!

Clock

“The Flight To Brassbright” publishes January 31, 2015 and is available for pre-order in electronic form for the Kindle, the Nook, or all other formats (except print) from Smashwords, for $4.99.