Thursday, October 20, 2011

Review: Steampunk!

I'm a big fan of steampunk. I'm not sure when I came across it, or how, but I love the visual aesthetic of it. However I found it, I'm sure I found images well before I found stories. And from the visuals, it's a bit hard to understand the full breadth of the genre.

Steampunk stories cover a wide array of topics and themes. Some are more historical, and some take place in a future that seems strange. Some are born out of Victorian London, and others call the wild west home (while still others take place on space ships or foreign worlds). There is so much that can be considered steampunk that an anthology of steampunk stories can sometimes feel disjointed. *Cough* Steampunk *Cough*

Steampunk!, edited by Kelly Link and Gavin Grant, unfortunately suffers from this, but at least it gets off to one hell of a start. The first half or so of the book is filled with very strong stories that each take a stab at their own version of steampunk. Cory Doctorow's "Clockwork Fagin," about a bunch of kids in an orphanage, was by far my favorite of the group. I also really loved Cassandra Clare's "Some Fortunate Future Day," Delia Sherman's "The Ghost of Cwmlech Manor," and Libba Bray's "The Last Ride of the Glory Girls" (which I'm pretty sure was influenced by my beloved Firefly).

Some of the stories seemed not-so-steampunk, but I still enjoyed them. Kelly Link's "The Summer People" was my favorite of this bunch, owing very little to the steampunk genre apart from some mechanical toys that "the summer people" create.

This anthology has been published as a YA book (because it's from children's publisher Candlewick), but it's pretty perfect for anyone who likes steampunk. The only thing that would mark it YA is that many of the main characters are teens, but that shouldn't hamper an adult from reading along.

3/5 stars

Buy Steampunk! on Amazon
Buy Steampunk! at a local store through Indie Bound

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