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Valtat, Jean-Christophe

Entry updated 2 June 2020. Tagged: Author.

(1968-    ) French academic and author, active from the early 1990s. No fantastic content is clearly inferrable from 03: Roman (2005; trans Mitzi Angel 2010); but the Mysteries of New Venice Steampunk sequence, comprising Aurorarama (2010) and Luminous Chaos: Book Two in the Mysteries of New Venice Series (2013), unpacks a sophisticated narrative placed in an Alternate World circa 1905-1907, New Venice itself being a Dystopian enclave, somewhere between coercive Keep and supernaturally isolated City, situated near the North Pole. It is governed by a Council of Seven, who may be the Seven Sleepers of Ephesus in Cryogenic Suspended Animation, and who enforce the oppression of the Inuit peoples who occupy the surrounding hinterland. In the second volume, the Hero who overthrows the Seven is himself overthrown; sent on a mission, he finds his experimental Transportation device is in fact a Time Machine, and ends up in fin de siècle Paris. Adventures – conducted through Valtat's lush, self-conscious, slyly deformed English (he writes in both French and English) – ensue. It may be that the deracinated "plenitude" of the early twenty-first century steampunk vision may, in his hands, suffer in future volumes something of a healing sea-change. [JC]

Jean-Christophe Valtat

born France: 1968



Mysteries of New Venice

individual titles

  • Exes (Paris: Gallimard, 1997) [binding unknown/]
  • 03: Roman (Paris: Gallimard, 2005) [binding unknown/]
    • 03: A Novel (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2010) [trans by Mitzi Angel of the above: hb/]


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