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Ghosts by Gaslight

3.48  ·  Rating details ·  579 Ratings  ·  89 Reviews
Seventeen all-new stories illuminate the steampunk world of fog and fear!

Modern masters of the supernatural weave their magic to revitalize the chilling Victorian and Edwardian ghostly tale: here are haunted houses, arcane inventions, spirits reaching across the centuries, ghosts in the machine, fateful revelations, gaslit streets scarcely keeping the dark at bay, and othe
Paperback, 391 pages
Published September 6th 2011 by Harper Voyager
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Rating details
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Dec 08, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011, specfic
The "steampunk" in the title is a little misleading, which is fine by me--I'm not super-interested in clockwork and steam engines for their own sake. Many of the stories aren't really even about ghosts, or at least they don't seem particularly "ghosty" to me. There are Satanic enclaves, mad inventors and their hideous machines, mummies, and time travel, all loosely bound together with phantasmagoric ties. The real throughline of the collection is the nineteenth century, that spooky, obsessive pe ...more
Mauoijenn ~ *Mouthy Jenn* ~
I also, did not think there was much steampunk in these stories. A hint here and there, that was about it. Obviously some stories were better than others. But most on the bad side.
Eclectic Reader
Oct 21, 2011 rated it it was ok
I found this book disappointing, not because of the quality of the writing, but because of the marketing. To call this anthology 'steampunk' is like calling a foot an ear. They don't look the same, work the same, or meet the same needs of their users.

The steampunk elements are weak. In fact, they are as transparent as the haunts that appear in Ghosts by Gaslight. The publisher should have subtitled this tone "Stories of Victorian Supernatural Suspense". These stories are light on steampunk eleme
Jun 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Ghosts by Gaslight is the perfect example of what a short story collection ought to be. Though the stories are meant to convey a sense of dread (and indeed, many of them do - especially Lucius Shepard's dirty little tale), I found myself utterly delighted as I read each story. It has always seemed to me that ghost stories are best suited for briefness - else the author runs the risk of losing the tension. And yet, I am often frustrated by short stories that seem as though the author plucked them ...more
Apr 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
These stories are mostly not steampunk, and often not ghostly, either. It is a good collection, but read it if you like Victorian and Edwardian supernatural ambiance, not because you're in the mood for pistons and phantasms.
Sep 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: steampunk
I find that sometimes the only way I can process an anthology is by reading and evaluating each story individually, and then determining an average score for the work as a whole. In this case, there were seventeen stories, and each could earn a score of up to five points. With 85 points available, my final score for this anthology is 61, or an average of 3.59, which I have rounded up to a four star rating here. This is really a 3.5 star review. Some of my favorite are evaluated below, with the s ...more
Carolyn Vandine west
Even though I enjoy macabre books and short stories this one just didn't click with me. There were a couple stories I really enjoyed but they were too far in between the ones I didn't.
Dec 24, 2016 rated it it was ok
I liked (from seventeen stories only six of them):

Terry Dowling - The Shaddowwes Box about a curse on a old coffin mummy and a surprising sell and buy transaction. 2.5 Stars

Robert Silverberg - Smithers and the Ghosts of the Thar – some English company is in search of a land unseen in the India`s territory. 2.5 Stars

Richard Harland - Bad Thoughts and the Mechanism.

In my opinion the best story of the Anthology and the one that has the best and accurate ideea for this kind of Anthology. A kid has a
Carrie Naughton
Dec 31, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror, steampunk

Personally I care not at all what the proper steampunk story might be. This collection introduced me to a fine new cadre of horror, speculative, supernatch storytellers, and I'm grateful. To name my favorites: Rose Street Attractors/Shepard; Christopher Raven/Goss; Blackwood's Baby/Barron. My biggest pleasant surprise was Peter S Beagle's Music, When Soft Voices Die. I'd heretofore thought of him as merely "the unicorn guy" (I'm sorry!!!), but this story is exquisite, dark, and haunting. Now th
Chris Bauer
Dec 28, 2011 rated it it was ok
To be fair I had pretty high expectations for this anthology. Solid, consistently good authors (in some cases GREAT WRITERS), an intriguing moody setting and steampunk overtones. How awesome is that? I'm afraid we'll never know as there were very few stories contained in the collection which actually dealt with any form of steampunk genre. The majority of the stories were much more focused on Edwardian or Victorian ghost stories, which are fine on their own merit, but not what I was looking for. ...more
Sep 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
An outstanding collection of new stories, almost all of them good, and some truly splendid; my favourite is Lucius Shepherd's "Rose Street Attractors", which is easily one of the most imaginative works of short fiction I've read this year. Not to be missed by followers of the weird, or fans of the Victorian pastiche (the lapses into verbal modernisms are surprisingly few). The debit side is very modest: Jeffrey Ford and Laird Barron decline to play the game by the rules (i.e. write a story combi ...more
May 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
This anthology of steampunk-flavored ghost stories is one of the best overall that I've come across. There wasn't a single story I couldn't get through, and several of them were outstanding, particularly Margo Lanagan's "The Proving of Smollett Standforth" and "Christopher Raven" by Theodora Goss. I particularly liked the way Margo Lanagan's story focused on a main character who's a servant rather than a member of the privileged classes (one of those aspects of Victorian society that too often g ...more
Heidi Ward
A thoroughly entertaining collection, perhaps a bit less steampunk than advertised, but quite solid as an hommage to classic Victorian supernatural literature. See my full review here:
Oct 29, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: anthology
There were a few short stories in here that were fairly original and interesting, however the majority were rather boring. Rather than scaring me awake, it made me rather drowsy. The few pieces that were good do still make the book worth reading.
May 29, 2018 rated it liked it
Like many short story collections, there were stories I liked a lot, and stories I didn't like as well. I pretty much always enjoy Peter S. Beagle's writing, and his contribution to this collection was no exception. And the story of a young servant boy haunted by the ghost of a maid was also memorable.

This was an enjoyable collection, and if you like ghost stories set in these time periods, you'll probably like this.
Aug 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Spine-tingling fun

Stories for fans of ghostly Victorian and otherworldly settings. I will follow up with the authors of Blackwoods Baby and A Summer Place, the two that appealed best. I'm a longtime fan of John Haywood, who is included. Great fun and creeps.
Aug 17, 2017 rated it liked it
I immensely enjoyed Theodora Goss' Christopher Raven. Tickled by Beagle and Nix. ('Steampunk' is very decidedly not my thing, but this book was a very delightful gift from a friend. Thanks, Annie!)
colleen the convivial curmudgeon
I don't know why I keep falling for these anthologies, when I don't tend to have a good track record with them. Usually one or two of the short stories are good, and the rest of just meh or outright boring.

In this case - I didn't even finish them. I just stalled out and couldn't muster the energy or desire to continue. Especially since the "steampunk" elements are barely existent... and completely non-existent in some of the stories. Which, I could be down for a good ghost story now and again, b
Amy  Eller Lewis
I am a fan of short stories, and of themed anthologies as a rule, and this was a very good one. While it's being presented as a book of Steampunk stories, it seems many of the contributing writers have only a rudimentary understanding of Steampunk as a set of aesthetics, which is what I think makes the collection so very interesting. Fantasy writers not known for their Steampunk aesthetic try their hand at some 19th Century Ghosts Stories with terrific results. Gene Wolfe has the very compelling ...more
Oct 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
As I've stated before, anyone who knows me well knows that I love short stories and ghost stories. So here is a book that was perfect for me! There's even a little bit of steampunk thrown in, to boot.

Ghosts by Gaslight has seventeen stories, all set in the Victorian/Edwardian era of England. While I can't say that any of them gave me chilling goosebumps, they were all good stories. Some of my favorites include: "Music, When Soft Voices Die," by Peter S. Beagle, in which a man inadvertently inve
May 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book rocked my world!

(Full disclosure: even though I really liked this book, I would have like to have taken off half a star because there was one f-word in the book.)

This is one of the most creative ghost story books I have read in a long time. Have I been missing some? I have a hard time finding books of short stories in my library, they aren't shelved together, so there might be others that I've missed. This collection was amazing. Every story was creative, I could rarely see where the s
Dec 15, 2011 rated it liked it
This is a collection of short stories, all taking place in the nineteenth or early twentieth centuries, written in the style of the time. The stories range from fifteen to fifty pages. I am not very familiar with this genre, nor am I familiar with any but one of the authors but the book has intrigued me to check them out.

As a whole, I give this collection three stars. Some of these individual stories warranted five or four stars, and others one or two. There were enough 1-2 star stories sprinkle
The Bechdel Scream
Oct 12, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: ghosts, anthology
Steampunk is far and away one of my favorite escapist genres to explore. The playful Victorian aesthetics aside, there is something quite freeing in the retro-futuristic landscape of the worlds it encompasses. It allows for us to play in a setting where things were perhaps a bit more stifling for anyone that wasn’t a white, upper class man, and oftentimes show women who are going against the grain a bit. More recently, a subgenre of steampunk has emerged, that takes the ideas of steampunk, and f ...more
Jessica Fure
Jan 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I agree with the person who said the steampunk description was misleading. It's really more of an anthology of works after the style of Victorian and Edwardian era authors, and on that level, it's a success.
Some of the stories were less gripping than others - "Christopher Raven," for example, while still showing its heritage, is a bit of weak tea, something you'd recall having read before, and worse, more than a hint of author-wish-fulfillment persona. "Smithers and the Ghosts of the Thar" is a

Not a bad book, although I think that steampunk is a bit over used at the current time. This anthology is a good selection of various ghost stories set to the Victorian fantasy back drop. My usual caveat concerning anthologies applies, and this collection does have one or two stories that you could skip, but I think, all in all this was a well-put-together collection

The stories in this collection could not be more different from each other, even though they, like most anthology entries are, usua

Mar 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
A very good collection, although better described as Victorian than Steampunk, I think.

For my future self, here's the individual story ratings:

The Iron Shroud. 3.
Music, When Soft Voices Die. 2.
The Shaddowwes Box. 4.
The Curious Case of the Moondawn Daffodil Murders. 5. Silly, but in a great way.
Why I Was Hanged. 5. One of the only really creepy stories in the book.
The Proving of Smollett Standforth. 2.
The Jade Woman of the Luminous Star. 3.
Smithers and the Ghosts of the Thar. 3.
The Unbearable Pro
Rena Sherwood
I've barely read steampunk OR ghost stories before, so I'm afraid my review is not that of a connoisseur of these two genres. I did really enjoy this anthology, especially Lucius Shepherd's work, but some stories were not really steampunkish (if there is such a word.) I was going through some stressful situations during the time I read this and it helped take my mind off of my problems.

It was amusing to see that most of the authors were Australian -- writing about Victorian England. It's a bit
Henrietta H
Jan 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Ghosts by Gaslight: Stories of Steampunk and Supernatural Suspense is a collection of short stories by supposedly some of the best writers out there now in the realm of horror, suspense, and steampunk. I myself was not familiar with any of the authors and view this book as an excellent introduction to each.

Each story was written with the Victorian vernacular and feel to them. The voices were expertly done. They were so well done, in fact, it was easy to forget these were modern era stories and n
Sep 25, 2015 rated it it was ok
Ghosts by Gaslight is supposed to be a complilation of stories specifically written for this anthology. Each author was directed to create a story which combined the elements of a Victorian ghost story with a steampunk atmosphere.

I was sorely disappointed. First of all, I really like steampunk and none of these stories actually incorporated it. Yes, steampunk incorporates machines into Victorian times, but they are implausible machines for the times, such as the ubiquitous airship. (In one story
H. Anne Stoj
Mar 18, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: steampunk
I enjoyed most of the stories in the anthology. A nice mix, for me, of familiar and unknown authors. Some stories had more steampunk elements (looking at science, machines, etc.) and others felt more like traditional ghost stories. I think, though, what the anthology does show is that the idea of steampunk is wide and varying. A natural thing, really, as no one writes exactly alike. My favorite story was Rose Street Attractors by Lucius Shepard. I don't think I've read anything by him before, an ...more
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