Where to start? This whole book is one complete piece of art, within and without. The hardcover is beautifully designed and a gem in every bookshelf. The stories,tales, artwork, photographs inside are entertaining, inspiering and sometimes rather haunting. The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities: Exhibits, Oddities, Images, and Stories from Top Authors and Artists really contains some curious pieces, the title does not lie, the assembled contributors also carry quite a literary punch. Among them are such notables as Michael Moorcock and Cherie Priest.
As is to be expected by an anthology, the stories differ in quality but there is not a single one in the whole book I would consider mediocre. Every single piece is highly enjoyable and the different styles make for a very divers and entertaining reading experience. Moreover, since all stories describe the contents of the eponymoous cabinet of curiosities, they form one great narrative and paint one great combinig picture.
And what a picture it is. The Cabinet of Curiosities comes from a strangely familiar and yet disturbingly different Steampunk version of our own world. It writes a what-if narrative of a Steampunk past reaching into a Steampunk/Dieselpunk present. I found it most fascinating how many different aspects of a Steampunk/Dieselpunk (and in one case teslapunk) version of earth are tackled within the pages of this book. Education, religion, life extension, other medical subjects, curiosities of all shapes and sizes, the contributing authors have created an astounding and clourful collection, one amazing piece of art. And it is not only the quality of the writing that makes this anthology so enjoyable. The artwork, too, is fittingly and hauntingly beautiful. Sketches, drawings, photographs of props, everything fits together and adds to the narrative of the book, enhabcing it and giving it more substance.
A final aspect I do not want to forget: Almost every single story in this collection and every contraption and phyiscal curiosity described in these pages can be used as a hook or central piece in a Steampunk role playing adventure. This is a quality I have thus far not encountered in any other piece of Steampunk related literature so far.
What can I say,The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities: Exhibits, Oddities, Images, and Stories from Top Authors and Artists gets ten out of ten Zeppelins and I can heartily recommend it!