Mouldy Squid's Reviews > Steampunk

Steampunk by Jeff VanderMeer
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's review
Apr 04, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: fiction, science-fiction
Recommended for: Anyone who is interested in steampunk.
I own a copy

The VanderMeers have done excellent work with Weird Tales over the past several years. Jeff, himself, has written some excellent, and weird, steampunk-like fiction. Who better to put together an anthology of one of the hot new trends, Steampunk? While I can appreciate the editorial decisions Anne has made I cannot but seem disappointed in some vague way with the quality of the work as a whole.

There is nothing really new here; bog standard steampunk from the usual suspects and some new names. Nothing is aweful, but nothing is great either. This anthology would not have been out of place in the late 1980s and that is the problem. After almost twenty years of steampunk one would expect that the form would have matured, begun to push boundaries, adapted or evovled. Steampunk may be doing just that, but you wouldn't know it from this anthology.

All in all, a competent and entertaining, if not inspired. Anyone who is interested in steampunk should enjoy this. Readers new to the sub-sub-genre will find the anthology to be accessable and a fair introduction to the world of airships and brass goggles.

Post Script: Nick Gevers anthology Extraordinary Engines, another Steampunk anthology published the same year, is in my opinion, the superior of the two. Gevers, a long time Locus reviewer hit all the right notes for me. A good mix of standard adventure steampunk along with more inventive and subversive works that push the boundaries of what steampunk can be. Get both, read both. The editors have diffrent aims and goals and so have chosen different works but these two anthologies are excellent companions.

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