Fungal Steampunk

by anakngfaraon ( | | )
Jeff VanderMeer
Truth?  Sure, I can handle the truth.  I wanted to know the truth, but it had been very hard to find.  There was betrayal after betrayal; faction after faction.  Who's on the good side?  Who's on the bad side?
Finally, I found out who was on the good side, and who was on the bad side (or the ones just out for their own interests).  I didn't really get into this novel until the last third, when a lot of the action started happening, and when the main character, Finch, started killing "creatures".
The novel was set in the city of Ambergris, which was taken over from humans by creatures called "gray caps".   Finch was a detective tasked to investigate the death of a human and a gray cap.  It looked like the two fell from a great height, but interestingly enough, they were found in a hotel room.  No great height within that room.    
I liked the development of the main character, Finch.  I sympathized with him, felt the blows given to him & the confusion he experienced.  In Ambergris, humans have no choice.  The gray caps made them work in camps, and actually, I think Finch was one of the lucky ones, having been hired by the gray caps to work for them as a detective.  When someone (or something?) dies, fungus grows on the corpse.  They have guns that used fungal bullets, and unless you have a mask on, the shots fired could be lethal by way of inhalation (of the spores).
The only thing that annoyed me with this novel was the style:  it was written in phrases.  Upon research, I realized that the author used that style because it was the style mostly used for detective novels.  So, I think it's safe to bet that his other Ambergris novels were not written in this manner.  Anyway, I got used to style halfway.
This book was a finalist for the 2010 World Fantasy Awards.  
Jeff VanderMeer is a World-Fantasy award winner, a finalist for the Hugo Awards, the Philip K. Dick awards, etc., and an editor.    
I recommend this book, especially if you like steampunk.