Steampunk! An Anthology of Fantastically Rich and Strange Stories
ed by Kelly Link and Gavin J. Grant
Imagine an altrnate universe where romance and technology reign. Where tinkerers and dreamers craft and re-craft a world of automatons, clockworks, calculating machines, and other marvels that never were. Where scientists and schoolgirls, fair folk and Romans, intergalactic bandits, utopian revolutionaries, and intrepid orphans solve crimes, escape from monstrous predicaments, consult oracles, and hover over volcanoes in steam-powered airships. Here, fourteen masters of speculative fiction, including two graphic storytellers, embrace the genre's established themes and refashion them in surprising ways and settings as diverse as Appalachia, Ancient Rome, future Australia, and alternate California. Visionaries Kelly Link and Gavin J. Grant have invited all-new explorations and expansions, taking a genre already rich, strange, and inventive in the extreme and challenging contributors to remake it from the ground up. The result is an anthology that defies the genre even as it defines it.
I adore steampunk. It's old, it's new, it's mechanical and magical, full of adventure and romance. It is a brilliant sub-genre. Traditionally steampunk means that the book is set in London, while Victoria was Queen, and unlike real life, steam power became the predominant power source. So lots of flying machines, steam-powered vehicles, and cool gadgets!
That being said, I loved the concept of this anthology. It's like...steampunk twisted. These are tales that all have strong steampunk elements, yet push beyond what we think of as steampunk to become even more. Not a one is set in Victorian London, either!
My favorites from this anthology were Libba Bray's story about girl thieves who use a device to stop time so that they can rob trains, Kelly Link's tale of a girl who is bound to serve fairies and is only somewhat mollified by their mechanized trinket gifts, and Dylan Horrock's story about a girl from another world, trying to find herself in a flatter version of her own life. Each of these tales literally *sparkled* at me from off of the pages. *grins* The other tales were really well done, as well.
Reading this book felt like traveling the world in a dirigible with dashing young lads and lasses hanging off of the anchor ropes... *whoops, just had a Scott Westerfeld moment there, lol.* Anyway, though I didn't read it all in one go, each tale was enthralling in it's own way.