Sunday, 30 October 2011

Steampunk! - Book Review

This is an 'Anthology of Fantastically Rich and Strange Stories' from fourteen masters of Speculative Fiction.

Imagine an alternate universe where romance and technology reign. A world of automatons, ornate clockworks and time travel, where scientists and dreamers, intrepid orphans and schoolgirls solve dastardly crimes, escape from monstrous predicaments and hover over volcanos in steam powered airships.

Steampunk to me is very “Heath Robinson” a mish mash of old and new, young and old mixed together with bits of the future and obscure concepts too. It requires imagination, thought and a little bit of romance.

This is a great introduction to the concept of steampunk as there is a mix of short stories and graphic novels in the book. A huge advantage for the reader with short stories is that it's so easy to dip in and out of the book, and I enjoyed the interspersal of the two graphic novels between the twelve short stories

I particularly enjoyed the graphic novel: Seven Days Beset by Demons by Shaun Cheng about a characters unrequited love. The drawing is so intricate and full of little extras that I found myself reading the story & glancing at the drawing, then returning to the beginning to look more closely at each frame of the story to see what I had missed. A simple story illustrated brilliantly by the author, which deserves several re-reads.

A stand out short story for me was Some Fortunate Future Day by Cassandra Clare. Rose's father has gone off to war and she lives in the country awaiting his return. She has had no human contact for six months , and spends her days in the company of her servant robots. When she encounters a soldier injured near to her house, she nurses him back to health and dreams of a life together with him in the Capital. She'll do whatever it takes to make him want her in his life.

The anthology features authors from America, New Zealand, Australia and the UK, & also acknowledges influences from the great Japanese anime director Hayao Miyazaki. The diverse mix of nationalities adds to this great compendium which has certainly aroused my interest in cross-genre fiction and graphic novels.

This book was sent to me for review by

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