Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Book Review: Steampunk!: An Anthology

The Steampunk! e-book cover

This anthology is a collection of steampunk short stories, and features work by some of my favorite authors. A wonderful variety of genres and themes are represented here, including the western, paranormal fiction, contemporary fiction, hard-core steam punk, time-travel, regency romance style, mythology, detective noir, and graphic fiction. I'll list a few of my favorites below. However, for some reason my e-reader would not access the graphic fiction, so I won't be able to cover them.

"Steam Girl" by Dylan Horrocks
The new girl at school is somewhat of a loner, but that's not so unusual. What's unusual about her is her wardrobe of dresses paired with high-laced boots, plus an aviator's cap and goggles. Everyone calls her weird and a freak, except for one boy in her class. He asks her if she is a pilot, and she says that she is called "Steam Girl." Slowly, Steam Girl comes out of her shell, and begins to tell him stories, wonderful stories, of another universe. And slowly, he begins to believe in her stories.
This story is the one contemporary fiction tale in this anthology, but don't pass it up. It is a story of choosing not to fit in and refusing to settle for status quo, and the results of this decision. Furthermore, it is a story of friendship.

"Peace in Our Time" by Garth Nix
What would become of a man who had preternatural hearing in a world of ticking, ticking clockwork? This story answers this question, and does it by lifting one layer of mystery at a time.
The protagonist of this story is an old man, who enjoys puttering in his garden. When a young woman comes and threatens to kill him if he refuses to tell her about his former job, we learn that not everything is as it seems.

"The Oracle Engine" by M.T. Anderson
This story is an alternate mythology story, and as such, it features evil Roman rulers, smart orphans who have a taste for revenge, and an engine that serves as (what else) an Oracle. A well-told story with surprising twists. 

I really enjoyed this anthology, which for me is unusual, as I don't normally enjoy such a wide range of stories. It was a fun, quick read, and one I plan to peruse again.

1 comment:

  1. This sounds really good! I have read a steampunk anthology that had some rather dodgy efforts in it, but this one sounds really good! I guess I need to read it!

    BTW have u read Steampunk magazine? Its a free download online, there is a link on the top right of my blog, roses and vellum :)