Half Made World Reviewed by Fran Lewis

Half Made World

Author Felix Gilman


Don’t move a muscle or they will know I’m still alive. The soldiers of the Line are pilfering bodies, checking to see who is alive or dead and then ending those riddled with bullets and pain because these human lives mean nothing to these young men. Poking bodies, killing anyone that is still alive they rummage through the worn torn area but miss one man whose mind is not fully there but who is still alive. He was the General who fought in the Red Republic Army and who battled against the two forces the Gun and the Line and almost won. The Line is setting the stage for the world in industry and treats its inhabitants poorly reducing them to mere slaves. The Gun, more dangerous and fierce, grips the population with fear terrorizing them at every turn. But, can anything or anyone stop them. The Republic once fought the Line and the Gun but did not succeed.



The mind is an amazing machine that holds your thoughts; ideas and hopes helping you deal with the world, process information and explore many venues and avenues. But, when you lose memory, lose thought and your life as it is begins to disappear from stress, torture or mental illness, some revert into their own world and shells longing for someone to free them from their own private hell.


Dr. Liv Alverhyusen, psychology, receives a letter meant for her late husband requesting help with the many mentally ill patients in a place so far to the west that her colleagues and friends fear for her safety if she agrees to go there. The House of Dolorous is a mental institution where one man, a general, lives within its walls but whose mind is shattered. A doctor this new wave of medicine, she travels to the west to a place where the Powerful Hill People reside hoping to make a difference and help the one person that might be housing the secret, the way and the method of stopping the Gun and the Line. She is not the only one who will seek to uncover the secrets within the mind of the General, the one man left alive by the Line and who could just bring them down.



Introducing John Creedmoor and Lowry the two men who will try and get the secret out of the General for the Gun and the Line. The Gun communicates telepathically using their weapon as the medium and a voice emanating from it that gives the receiver his/her orders. Lowry is part of the Line and they have their own supernatural way of communicating too. Both are after one thing, the General and his secret.


Meet the Gun and their minions who receive their orders from spirits whose voice comes through someone they use as their vessel. Their power or immortal spirits house themselves in the form of weapons, wood, metal, ivory and powder. These spirits manifest themselves in human forms that are used to carry out their wishes and plans. John Creedmoor is the vessel used and sent by the Gun to deal with the General.  Subvigilator-Lowry is the one being sent by the dangerous Line.

Let’s not forget the Red Valley Republic that ruled and treated everyone decently and fairly.  Destroyed by the Line, after fighting for more 10 years of underground resistance, our General is now mad or insane from a bomb exploded by the Line and he was presumed dead. They no longer exist except in the mind and form of the General and who book that our doctor was given before leaving for the west. Those representing the line pride themselves with their strong hatred, with total control and deliberation. They are considered tyrannical and treat their workers and inhabitants as mere garbage, slaves and expendable. The gun is considered anarchists and will resort to anything to get to the General. Due to guns, bombs, explosions and much loss of lives, the Line sends Lowry to the Asylum and their Spirit with one sub-invigilator, Lowry as one the officers and soon to be much more.


As both agents arrive at the Asylum and our doctor takes on her new role to help the mentally ill patients there, are all after one person: THE GENERAL. The House of Dolorous or the Doll House has its own spirit that protects it and the residents from any violence or harm. The First Folk who live there have a weapon and secret of their own that would neutralize the Line and the Gun and create peace. But, who will win out and what will happen?


As Creedmoor becomes more assimilated in the Asylum and Lowry gets promoted as those above him are killed and removed, the stage is being set for both groups to battle it out and try and unlock the secrets in one man’s mind. With the aid of someone called the Kid, Creedmoor disables the Spirit guarding the Asylum, kidnaps Liv and the General hoping to return to his home base and deliver the General to The Gun. Meanwhile the forces of the Line are killing, maiming and obliterating everything in its wake to get their hands on the General just at the right time. Why, he holds a hidden secret in his mind that would create Peace between both groups something neither one wants. Both want control and to rule the inhabitants of this Half-Made Western and Uncreated World as subservient slaves using what it appears to be as Mind Control tactics, fear and brainwashing convincing the masses to follow the rules similar to a totalitarian government where no one has a voice except those in charge.



The world described by our author is no different than the world we live in today. Countries at war with their own people living in hate and fear. The Line vs. the Gun: Objective: Control of their subjects: Total submission and leave no traitor behind. As Liv and the General are left on their own they are found by what is left of the Red Valley Republic and taken to their town of New Design. Sounds interesting or modern and a place where men are free and it seems women are considered beneath them. As Liv and the General are housed there she learns of the many restrictions placed on her and her voice as a doctor is silenced as the care of the General is transferred to one of the people of the Red Valley Republic. The Line treats it inhabitants as slaves in a prison camp. These people are not much better and when Liv suggests an alliance with Creedmoor that would benefit all sides and bring peace, they refuse. What does happen when the Line arrives you won’t believe. What will Creedmoor do? Whose side is he on? What will happen to Liv, the General and the people of New Design when the Line comes through? Will the Spirit that protects the House protect Liv and the people of New Design?


Taking the reader on a journey to a land uncreated and unchartered, author Felix Gilman gives us insider’s view of people that are no different today and whose goals are the same: Control at any cost: Mind Control or brainwashing these people into total obedience in order to fulfill their goals and desires. Even officers are not safe and will be killed if they fail. Imagine what would have happened if some of our leaders lived by back then. Battles so vividly graphic you can picture the scenes in your mind and feel like you are right on the front lines, author Felix Gilman gives the reader much pause for thought in this novel filled with paranormal, fantasy and much more. Well- defined characters whose goal is to learn the General’s secret cure/weapon to create peace and bring about a new world in the west. When the Line arrives and the War begins an even wider line is drawn and when the end comes it is not over yet. The fight has just begun and the sides are no longer evenly matched and there is much more to come. Bringing a new light to the West with excitement, adventures and one woman trying to keep it all together and deciding where to put her faith, read this great novel and find out where everyone winds up. I wonder what the world holds in store for New New Design and the people of the Line, Gun and Red Valley Republic if he writes a sequel. Beware: The Line is Out There! Who Else? Only the Author Knows!





Fran Lewis: Reviewer and Talk Show Host











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