PIRATE UTOPIA is an artistic triumph

Three fresh reviews of Bruce Sterling’s brilliant PIRATE UTOPIA.


At SEEING THE ELEPHANT, William Grabowski lauds the book.

Some reviewers are
disappointed with the book’s “lightness,” and say it would fare
better as a graphic novel. I disagree, and perceive Sterling’s
effort as implicitly aligned with Michael Moorcock’s underrated
alternate histories THE LAND LEVIATHAN (1974), and THE STEEL TSAR
(1981), wherein large sociopolitical ideas and war are explored
without moral judgment.

With an Introduction
by Warren Ellis, Rick Klaw’s interview with the author, and John
Coulthart’s awe-inspiring illustrations based on the work of
designer and Futurist manifesto co-author Fortunato Depero, PIRATE
UTOPIA is an artistic triumph.


Michael Swanwick on his FLOGGING BABEL blog, praises the work.

The novella explores this strange phenomenon through the lens of the single worst member of the new government, exposing along the way the seductively poisonous appeal of fascism. At the end, after the inevitable has played out, Harry Houdini appears with two alt-historical pulp writers to implicate science fiction and fantasy literature in the in the whole mess.

It really is quite brilliant.


Tachyon has packaged this story with an introduction by Warren Ellis, a Cast of Characters explaining the historical figures behind the story, an afterword by Christopher Brown, an interview with Sterling himself (by Rick Klaw), and notes on the book’s design by John Coulthart. Taken all together, they raise the book to the status of Event.

Coulthart’s cover and illustrations must be singled out for particular praise. Based on Fortunato Depero’s graphics, they capture the energy and zest of Futurist art and the dangerous appeal that the movement had. I can’t think of a better marriage of image and text than here.


At the Czech 067, Petr Koubský discusses the volume in his yearly recap.

As is tradition, once again, I made a list of books that I have taken this year and could also be interested in you. Of jednasedmdesáti titles will surely choose something to read. Thematic range extends from the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan through a human brain into a robot scanned after telling English professor who decided to become a leisure professional fighter. And much more.


In the alternate history that we have two very nice pieces. Veteran sci-fi Bruce Sterling shear Adriatic pun PIRATE UTOPIA  : What if after the First World War, D’Annunzio futurists occupied Istria successfully? Develops real bizarre story , but which in reality took a quick end. Sterling has long lived in Belgrade and moved to the former Yugoslavia, so the mood of the place did not have to invent, it has experienced. Very nice! Loosely reminded me Hvorecký Bratislava escapade Wilson’s (literary, not the movie): same time, same circumstances, when Europe was dismantled for parts and began to assemble all kinds of ways.

(Translation courtesy of Google)

For more info on PIRATE UTOPIA, visit the Tachyon page.

Cover and illustrations by John Coulthart