An Anthology of Fantastically Rich and Strange Stories
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Look what I just read at Tor.com, courtesy of Ay-leen the Peacemaker. Birth of a trend? Er, no. But, more […]
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Orphans use the puppet of a dead man to take control of their lives. A girl confronts the Grand Technomancer, Most Mighty Mechanician and Highest of the High Artificier Adepts. Another girl, who might be from another universe, stuns everyone when she pulls out her handmade Reality Gun.
Welcome to fourteen steampunk visions of the past, the future, and the not-quite today.
“You can’t have steampunk without steam (and maybe some gears), but in the hands of a stellar cast of authors, everything else is open to interpretation.
Tales range across space and time, from ancient Rome (sort of; M.T. Anderson takes history, adds a few gears and delivers a mind-boggling result) to a Dickensian North America, courtesy of Cory Doctorow, where maimed orphans fight the literal and figurative man; from Wales (Delia Sherman’s comedic “The Ghost of Cwmlech Manor”) to the melancholy present and a heroine who might be an accidental transplant from an altogether more exciting reality (Dylan Horrock’s “Steam Girl”). The collection is carefully organized, frontloaded with bound-to-be- popular selections from Libba Bray (girl power in the Old West) and Cassie Clare (unrequited love, talking dolls and second chances) and then moving into less well-known contributors. A couple of graphic tales mix with literary hard hitters like Elizabeth Knox (a dark, dreamy and tragic look at the nuances of relationships) and co-editor Link (whose “Summer People” riffs on old tales of Faeries and humans). Steampunk is hot at the moment in literature, art and fashion: This collection taps into the ethos without ever seeming topical or transient, thanks to contributions rich with much more than just steam and brass fittings.
“An excellent collection, full of unexpected delights.”
—Kirkus Reviews (*starred review*)
“In a genre based upon the re-imagining and reinvention of history, these authors manage to take their characters—and readers—to bold new frontiers, where, as contributor Dylan Horrocks writes, thanks to the “magic in technology,” things are “less drab, less logical, less straightforward. Everything’s a little more…possible.” ”
Depending on who you believe, steampunk has been exploding into the world for the last hundred years (thank you M. Jules Verne) or maybe the last twenty-five (when the term was first used by K.W. Jeter in a letter to Locus). We have had fabulous fun working with this baker’s dozen of authors investigating some of the more fascinating nooks and crannies of the genre.
You’ll find the requisite number of gaslit alleys, intrepid urchins, steam-powered machines, and technologies that never were. Those are the basic accoutrements that no self-respecting steampunk anthology could be without, but as we assembled the book (filing down this story here, finding the right solder to put these two ideas together there) we discovered that steampunk has gone far beyond these markers. The two Philips brought moving cities and armored polar bears (Reeve and Pullman, respectively). Alan Moore and Kevin O’Niell’s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen brought nineteenth century London to a halt. Cherie Priest introduced zombies (Boneshaker), Gail Carriger introduced vampires (Soulless), and Jeff and Ann VanderMeer brought it all together in Steampunk and Steampunk Reloaded.
Makers and artists have taken the romance and adventure of steampunk and remixed, reinvented, and remade the genre from whole cloth—and, yes, brass widgets. We’ve spent hours wandering through the online galleries on Etsy and Flickr marveling at the clockwork insects, corsets, art, hats, gloves, canes, modded computers, and even a steampunk house (modvic.com—want!) and love the DIY craftiness that keeps inspiring more decadent and more useful machines and toys.
The continuing reinterpretation of the steampunk idea made us ask the writers for stories that explored and expanded their own ideas of what steampunk could be. So we have a book of mad inventors, child mechanics, mysterious murderers, revolutionary motorists, steampunk fairies, monopoly-breaking schoolgirls, whose stories are set in Canada, New Zealand, Wales, Ancient Rome, future Australia, alternate California, and even the post-apocalypse—everywhere except Victorian London.
We didn’t miss it and don’t think you will either.
“Veteran editors Link and Grant serve up a delicious mix of original stories from 14 skilled writers and artists…Chockful of gear-driven automatons, looming dirigibles, and wildly implausible time machines, these often baroque, intensely anachronistic tales should please steampunks of all ages.”
— Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Within these pages, there’s a little something for everyone…This exceptional anthology does great service to the steampunk subgenre and will do much to further its audience.”
— School Library Journal (starred review)
“Editors Link and Gavin treat fans, old and new, to an array of fantastically rich stories in this polished, outstanding collection…the result is an anthology that is almost impossible to put down… From rebellious motorists to girl bandits, the characters in this imaginative collection shine, and there isn’t a weak story in the mix; each one offers depth and delight.”
— Booklist (starred review)
“It is about time that steampunk short stories really got a focused and creative exploration in YA lit, and this anthology of fourteen pieces is an excellent start.”
— Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books (starred review)