Karen morsecode's Reviews > Steampunk! An Anthology of Fantastically Rich and Strange Stories

Steampunk! An Anthology of Fantastically Rich and Strange Sto... by Kelly Link
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Jun 23, 2011

really liked it

Firmly rooted in Victorian London, steampunk has often been a bit too Anglo- and Eurocentric[footnote]. One of the things that's so refreshing about Steampunk! is that its diversity of setting, story, character, format. Something that was achieved by asking the anthology's contributors, whose ranks include both big names and virtual unknowns, for "stories that explored and expanded their own ideas of what steampunk could be" (8).

I read Steampunk! over the course of a month or six weeks. While I know that anthologies aren't meant to serve as a unified whole, I usually prefer not to read them straight through. I do almost always read the stories in the order they are presented, but I like to be able to sit on one before I start the next. I quite enjoyed being able to read Steampunk! leisurely.

I would like to say that each of the works collected in Steampunk! was absolutely wonderful, but I can't. Elizabeth Knox's "Gethsemane" caused me vexation; I didn't "get it" at all. I think I was too tired when I tried to read it and it's one of the longest stories in the anthology so I decided to skip it, fully intending to revisit it at some point before posting my review (that is until I realized that my e-galley was about to expire). Other than that (and please do note that the fault might very well be my own), the anthology was full of win.[footnote]

At the moment my favorite story of the bunch is Dylan Horrocks' "Steam Girl." I didn't expect to prefer this one because it is (at least in my opinion) one of the least steampunk contributions to Steampunk!3 (the titular character's alter ego exists in a imaginary? steampunk world, but she and the story's protagonist are firmly planted in the realistic here-and-now). "Steam Girl" is, however, perfectly crafted.

I should also note that Steampunk! is geared toward the young adult market unlike the steampunk anthologies of which I am familiar.

Steampunk!'s table of contents, with links to extracts when available (my favorites are starred): "Some Fortunate Future Day" by Cassandra Clare "The Last Ride of the Glory Girls" by Libba Bray* "Clockwork Fagin" by Cory Doctorow* "Seven Days Beset by Demons" (comic) by Shawn Cheng "Hand in Glove" by Ysabeau S. Wilce "The Ghost of Cwmlech Manor" by Delia Sherman "Gethsemane" by Elizabeth Knox "The Summer People" by Kelly Link* "Peace in Our Time" by Garth Nix "Nowhere Fast" by Christopher Rowe "Finishing School" (comic) by Kathleen Jennings* "Steam Girl" by Dylan Horrocks* "Everything Amiable and Obliging" by Holly Black* "The Oracle Engine" by M. T. Anderson* If you've clicked on nearly any of the table-of-contents links, you'll have realized that the book has a great website. If you haven't, visit StrangeAndFascinating.com to learn more about the book.

Full review (with footnotes) on my blog: http://morsiereads.blogspot.com/2011/...
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