Gail Carriger’s Parasolverse

Parasolverse is the name given to the universe in which are set several series of books and books written by Gail Carriger.
The name comes from the name of her first series in that universe, “The Parasol Protectorate”.

This very well thought out universe is steampunk with fantasy elements, making it potentially fit into the gaslamp fantasy category.

It’s set during the Victorian era, but in which technology is more developed and in a reality in which ether exists.
Ether is an element that the ancient Greeks situated as being in the top parts of the sky. It’s found in several theories in the field of physics until the early 20th Century. Its existence hasn’t been proved so it is admitted that it does not exist. (If I’ve understood what I’ve read correctly.)
In the parasolverse this element is associated with the soul – too much of it allows one to become a werewolf, a vampire or a ghost; the lack of it is rare and negates the effects of having too much of it. It also has practical uses, such as long distance communication as well as faster air travel.

 

I must specify that there are LGBTQ+ characters in each series, and some books are dedicated to them. If you have a problem with that, this is not for you.

 

Let me introduce the three main series, in order of publication of the first book in each.
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New views from the sky, and a new town to discover

This is the last part of the story of the little hedgehog. The first part is here, and the second one there. I hoped you enjoyed it!

 

He was woken up by Squirrel shaking his shoulder.

“We’re almost above the sea, come and see!”

Hedgehog got up, still half-asleep, and followed him towards the portholes.
When he looked, he discovered a strip of land, not as green as the last time he looked, and just behind it, the blue-grey expanse of the sea.

“It’s beautiful… It looks like the sky, but without the clouds…”

The water sparkled, its colour changing in places. It was stunning.

He finally forced himself to climb down to have a snack and some water, and went back to work.

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Steampunk, n.

Designed by Vectorpocket / Freepik

The story of “the little hedgehog who wanted to pilot a dirigible” is set in a steampunk universe.
Since I didn’t know whether you knew what it was, I decided to give you a (very) brief overview.

 

From the Merriam-Webster dictionary :
steampunk, noun

steam·​punk | \ ˈstēm-ˌpəŋk \

: science fiction dealing with 19th-century societies dominated by historical or imagined steam-powered technology

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What to do with friends ?

Warning: almost spoiler free commentary of « Shang-Chi and the legend of the ten rings » further along, with a picture of an important (I think) character.

The theme for these four weeks is friendship, and Mr Risson and his friends are going to share some things they enjoy doing together.

 

Drink a cup of tea together

Magnus (on the right) and Thorsten love drinking a cup of tea whilst chatting.
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A hedgehog in the engine room

Here’s the second part of the story of little Hedgehog, now an adult. If you’ve missed the first part, you can find it here.

 

One day, a worker from the engine room fell ill and Hedgehog was offered his post temporarily.
It was a bit tiring, one had to fill the wood-fired boilers so they wouldn’t go out, but he agreed.
He was going to fly!

A dirigible is a bit like a ship except, instead of the sails, there are some big balloons that are filled up by steam coming out of big funnels.
That steam comes from the boilers in which wood is being burnt.
It’s not very practical, but at that time they didn’t know how to do differently.

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Long distance friendships

There are several situations that can lead to a friendship moving to letters, or more recently to e-mails: in childhood, when meeting friends on holidays, at summer camps or when they move town ; later on, with friends met at university, or even friends from work.
There is also the situation of the pen pal, where the relationship starts by letters and can lead to an enduring friendship, sometimes without people ever meeting face to face.

Then there is the case of social networks.

Some people say friends met on them are not real friends yet the principle seems, to me anyway, very close to that of the pen pal: someone with whom one bonds over a common interest, whatever it may be.

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« The Forty Rules of Love » by Elif Shafak

My summer read to end this month under the theme of summer and back to school.

 

My mother and a friend both recommended this book and I thank them for it.

I have read a criticism that Elif Shafak separates, or moves away, Sufi mysticism from Islam in this book, and that the image of it being put forward is not (quite) the truth of this philosophy.
I couldn’t tell, but I prefer to let you know.
This book might not be an introduction to Sufi mysticism.

What it is, though, is an introduction to Love, or a reminder.
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