Once again I was contacted via the æthernet and asked if I was interested in doing a review for an upcoming Steampunk anthology. This time it was Steampunk! An Anthology of Fantastically Rich and Strange Stories, due to be released October 11th.
Anthologies have thus far been something of a mixed blessing, but I was intrigued by this particular review offer, because it is a collection of Young Adult Steampunk Fiction, something I have not encountered before.
The collection offers quite a variety of stories, ranging from romance to post-apocalyptic to fairy-esque. Every single one is an entertaining read and a few also offer surprising alternative views on the steampunk multiverse. Two in particular are refreshingly different:
Some Fortunate Future Day, by Cassandra Clare, the tale of a lonely young girl surrounded by sentient dolls falling in love with a soldier and then using a time-manipulation device… But I will not spoil the fun here.
The second outstanding story is by one of the editors herself: Kelly Link’s The Summer People. This story could have been straight out of Sandman or The Books of Magic, I thought. Everything had a dreamlike quality to it, and the things the Summer People can do. Brilliant. I think The Summer People is the best story in the anthology.
Another contribution I want to mention is Peace in Our Time by Garth Nix. Quite a dark tale for an anthology for young adults. Set in a world devastated by war, it tells the story of how and why the war started via a conversation between a young woman and an old man. Peace in Our Time is chilling and fascinating at the same time, you cringe, when all the little steps to war are mentioned and cannot help but see the parallels in our own history and present. You can actually make a case of Peace in Our Time being Luddite steampunk cautionary tale.
Steampunk! An Anthology of Fantastically Rich and Strange Stories is an excellent collection of steampunk tales covering a wide variety of literary topics and motífs. Each tale is a unique and entertaining, some even inspiering. I think I will use some of them as a basis for role playing adventures.
Steampunk! An Anthology of Fantastically Rich and Strange Stories gets eight out of ten Zeppelins.