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Andrew P. Mayer

Andrew P. MayerAndrew P. Mayer has spent sixteen years involved with every facet of game design and production and has been a creative force behind numerous best-selling titles. As a writer, Mr. Mayer has completed numerous short stories and co-wrote the script for THE LEGEND OF ZORRO, which was released for the Wii. He currently works as a consultant in social games and virtual goods, focused on working with game publishers and developers to help them create successful, original social game titles and integrate effective development, monetization, and community strategies. Learn more at Andrew Mayer’s blog.

The Falling Machine: A shiny surface but almost no support structure

The Falling Machine by Andrew P. Mayer

It’s hard for me to grasp just what Andrew P. Mayer is trying to do in his 1880’s Society of Steam debut, The Falling Machine. Mayer sets his book in New York City during the Gilded Age. The book, first of a trilogy, appears to be a fable or a parable about the transition of power, or the dangers of privilege, or something. I can’t quite tell what. I can’t tell who I am supposed to cheer for, or, really, why I should care about the travails of the Paragons, a group of aging, costumed crime-fighters.

The Falling Machine opens with a group of wealthy people visiting one of the towers of the under-construction Brooklyn Bridge. Among them are Sarah Stanton, daughter of Alexander Stanton, a wealthy industrialist; Nathaniel, whose relationship to the Stantons is unclear; Sir Dennis Darby; and Tom, an automaton created by D... Read More

Hearts of Smoke and Steam: Mayer needs to hone his storytelling skills

Hearts of Smoke and Steam by Andrew P. Mayer

Set in New York during the Gilded Age, Hearts of Smoke and Steam is Andrew P. Mayer’s second book in the Society of Steam series. It is extremely difficult to follow if you haven’t read The Falling Machine, which introduced these characters and their conflicts. This book continues the problem I had with the first book: an interesting premise is undercut by awkward storytelling.

I think this novel is about a transition of power from a stagnant, older generation to a young, vibrant and dynamic one. That’s what I think. Setting that story in 1880s New York City, a time and place of shocking contrasts and excesses, is a fascinating idea. It’s all the more disappointing, therefore, when characters are not plausible or well-developed, or the structure of the book swamps the story.

Sarah is the... Read More