Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Extraordinary Engines, edited by Nick Gevers

Extraordinary Engines, edited by Nick Gevers

Steampunk, the culture of modern inventions powered by steam in the 19th century, isn’t my favorite genre; I find it very hit-or-miss. This anthology was similar, a mix of good and not so good. Machine Maid by Margo Lanagan was easily my favorite, both entertaining and creepy. A young naive bride discovers she dislikes sex as much as her husband revels in it; finding that a nubile robotic maid has... other uses pushes her to commit mariticide in a most fitting fashion. Adam Robert’s Petrolpunk was a fascinating look at multiple dimensions, but as it went on got increasingly crazier until it spun entirely off its axis at the conclusion. I did like his term “steamternet” to describe the Victorian network, though. Jeffrey Ford’s The Dream of Reason was another odd one, telling of an experiment that trapped the rays of a star in a young woman’s mind using a fog that slowed light. Like I said, odd!

If you already like steampunk this is can be an interesting read; if you are looking for an introduction to the category, though, try The Difference Engine or The Peshawar Lancers.

First Sentence (from the Introduction):
Steampunk is a particularly engaging, entertaining, as well as thematically resonant, subgenre of science fiction, fantasy, and horror.

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