Android Karenina (Paperback)
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DescriptionA 'mashup' novel combining the tale of Anna Karenina with robot characters, Ben Winters updates Tolstoy's literary classic for the 21st century.
- Published: 08 June 2010
- Format: Paperback 541 pages
- ISBN 13: 9781594744600 ISBN 10: 1594744602
- Sales rank: 56,517
Reviews for Android Karenina
"We are still selling these titles well and while the trope will never rival the way Twilight has reintroduced vampires to the reading public, and brought many similar titles into the bestseller lists, its good fun while it lasts," said Jon Howells at Waterstones. "And Android Karenina is the funniest title yet." --The Guardian, 13 January 2010
"...Coalition literature sees the launch of Android Karenina. After the success of his previous mash-up Sense Sensibility and Sea Monsters - Ben H. Winters is publishing his own version of Tolstoys Anna Karenina, set in a dystopian world of robots and cyborgs..." --London Evening Standard, 17 May 2010
"The good folks at Quirk Books, whove brought you such classic mashups like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters have done it again. I bring you Android Karenina Tolstoy Steampunk style. This retelling of Tolstoys classic tale of love and betrayal brings us into an alternate version of 19th Century Russia full of amazing technology, adventure, and robots. Winters does an excellent job of blending the gloomy feel of Pre-Revolutionary Russia with futuristic technology and modernism creating a believable and interesting tale that feels familiar yet is deliciously different. The amazing illustrations only add to it. From the very first line of the story we know were in for an adventurous romp through the genres. Functioning Robots are all alike; every malfunctioning robot malfunctions in its own way. Like in the original, we follow the torrid affairs of Anna Karenina with Count Alexei Vronsky and Nikolai Levin with Princess Kitty Shcherbatskaya. This version adds a new layer trouble brewing between man and machine and scientific revolutionaries who act against the upper-class. Our couples must use all their resources and technology to save their world in this sci-fi meets steampunk in this alternate classic. The Iron Laws of Robot Behavior are well thought out and if you think hard enough could be an analogy for the socialist and moral laws governing our own behavior and what could happen if theyre broken. The interactions between the characters and their android companions are fun and some of the most creative bits in the story. Perhaps if Tolstoy had grown up reading Asimov he may have written something like this himself..." --Steampress, May 2010
Android Karenina is the latest outlandish literary parody and, as in the original novel, the story follows two relationships: The tragic adulterous love affair of Anna Karenina and Count Alexei Vronsky, and the more hopeful marriage of Nikolai Levin and Princess Kitty Shcherbatskaya. These characters live in a steampunk-inspired world of robotic butlers, clumsy automatons and rudimentary mechanical devices. But when these copper-plated machines begin to revolt against their human masters, the characters must fight back using state-of-the-art 19th-century technology - and a sleek new model of ultra-human cyborgs like nothing the world has ever seen. Filled with the same blend of romance, drama and fantasy that made the first two Quirk Classics into New York Times best sellers, Android Karenina takes this series into the exciting world of science fiction. Literary types will no doubt be outraged but the success of these imaginatively reinterpreted stories will introduce many people, especially the young, to the original books. Functioning robots are all alike; every malfunctioning robot malfunctions in its own way. ...New Classics, August, 2010.... As in the original novel, Android Karenina follows two relationships the tragic adulterous love affair of Anna Karenina and Count Alexei Vronsky and the more hopeful marriage of Nikolai Levin and Princess Kitty Shcherbatskaya. However, these characters live in a Steampunk-inspired world of robotic butlers, clumsy automatons and rudimentary mechanical devices. And when the copper-plated machines begin to revolt against their human masters, the characters must fight back using state-of-the-art technology and a sleek new model of ultra-human cyborgs ... --Lincolnshire Echo, August, 2010
in the hands of Ben H. Winters, who is a veteran of the mash-up game with the previous mash up Sense And Sensibility And Sea Monsters under his belt, Quirk seems to have found a balance between the added content and the recycled plot, characters, and setting. Either that or Tolstoy is the perfect framework for steampunk. Possibly a little of both. Really, Tolstoy's characters, bored amoral aristocracy with money troubles, neuroses, and a surplus of leisure time are the end result of a mechanized society or of one based off of cheap peasant labor. I mean, look at what's happened to the Western world thanks to the economic downturn? Everyone's crazy and depressed and broke, unemployment is rampant. The only difference is we don't have robots to hug when we feel depressed, like the folks in Android Karenina do. Those robots, given affectionate nicknames like Small Stiva and Socrates by their owners, function as sort of a butler/confidant/smartphone hybrid, and in the generations since the discovery of the miracle metal groznium, they have become invaluable to their owners. Some might contend that all the dependence on technology and robots is a moral weakness. Some, like the terrorist group UnConSciya, are worried that the government's control over the robotics industry is dangerous. Others, like Levin the groznium miner, deplore the physical weakness that robots engender in their owners and would prefer a simpler time when a man could work with his hands alongside his Class II robots. Android Karenina, like the book it came from, is a sprawling effort, with lots of characters, lots of different subplots going on, and lots of content within its 542 pages. The addition of aliens and ray guns only adds to the intrigue (and gives Tolstoy's long-winded characters someone to talk to other than themselves during the book's long soliloquies). If anything, the sci-fi elements add to the book's feelings of isolation and inhumanity, rather than detract from it. It's a setting that actually works better with the added elements. Rather than the comedy derived from mixing Jane Austen and zombies in the earlier works, it heightens Tolstoy's existing themes. Amazing, right? While I enjoyed Pride And Prejudice And Zombies, and the winking sense of fun they had, the idea of adding to the book, rather than poking fun at it is actually very appealing to me. It's not going to make me go out and read Tolstoy's original works, but it does fill me with respect for the man that his themes remain timeless, and can be adapted to pretty much any genre of literature, no matter how pulp. It's strange. Upon reading Android Karenina, I was struck at just how well Tolstoy's realism worked with the unreal technology provided by groznium. However, all the trappings, from electric lights to long-distance communication via video screen, are put together in such a way that the focus isn't on the technology, but still on the characters. Yes, there are robots, but they're added into the text so gracefully that, after the first few pages, you can accept their presence and accept them as metallic replacement serfs within with late 1800's Russia. I'm not sure how Quirk could top this one. This is quite possibly the definitive mash-up novel. It adds to the source incredibly skillfully. Steampunk and Tolstoy go so well together that I'm not sure any future Quirk Classics mash-ups could match this one. Put aside your fears. Android Karenina is a great read. ... --Den of Geek, August, 2010 by mat archer