Gilman, Felix -- The Half-Made World

This is the book I wished The Twist had been: the American West as a vast stretch of psychogeography, fragmenting into unformed potential at its limits (thus "half-made"). Unlike The Twist, this was never our world. The land is contested by two psychopolitical polarities, the Gun (individuality and chaos) and the Line (eusociality and order), as represented by sentient revolvers and steam engines. Neither is healthy to be around -- they don't want humans, they want heroes or drones, respectively. Correctly, the author doesn't pretend to explain any of this; it's the foundation for the story, not the story itself. More pragmatically, the foundation of the story is the fall of the Red Valley Republic (they wanted no part of either Gun or Line) ten years ago. It left unresolved wreckage. And yes, a hidden axis shadowing the native peoples turns up, although its import is not explained in this volume.

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