This collection of unabridged, spectacular steampunk speculations includes several classics of the genre. These tales will sweep you away with their amazing automata, daring dirigibles, grinding gears, and scintillating steam as days gone by are infused with tech. In "Smoke City," by Christopher Barzak, a woman comes to terms with the loss of her family to the child labor mills of the city. A doctor tries to cope with a strange plague terrorizing the citizens of London in Jeffrey Ford's "Dr. Lash Remembers." In "Machine Maid," by Margo Lanagan, a sexually repressed wife gets revenge on her husband through a robot maid. Friedrich Engels strives to spread class revolution as a labor organizer for factory cyborg matchstick girls in "Arbeitskraft," by Nick Mamatas. In "Ninety Thousand Horses," by Sean McMullen, an acclaimed mathematician, with a murky past, is forced to spy for an industrialist prior to becoming Britain's foremost rocket expert during World War II. An orphan boy builds an automaton, in an aging scientist's laboratory, that becomes more than an idle companion in Cherie Priest's "Tanglefoot (A Clockwork Century Story)." In "Clockwork Fairies," by Cat Rambo, an English aristocrat courts a woman who would rather spend time in a laboratory than at high society balls. At Chicago's Columbian Exposition, in 1893, an Algerian bodyguard crosses paths with a disoriented naked man in Chris Roberson's "Edison's Frankenstein." In "A Serpent in the Gears," by Margaret Ronald, a dirigble journeys to an isolated land and discovers people and animals merged with machine parts. Radio Jones finds a way to listen in on the Naked Brains, who rule the world, while Rudy the Red fights against the oppressors in "Zeppelin City" by Michael Swanwick and Eileen Gunn.
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Most of the stories are just porn. I don't understand how you can sell sex stories as actual short stories.
There were too many narrators. A few of the narrators used horrible accents but then dropped the accent randomly.
Most of the characters were flat and predictable.
Don't bother with this book!
I grew up on Golden Age Radio, and while I love to read, I typically consume more books via audio thanks to a job that lets me listen while I work. As an aspiring writer, I try to read a great deal of non-fiction in addition to a variety of fictional genres. I especially love history, historical fiction, science fiction, fantasy, and old-style gothic horror.
The nice thing about anthologies is that they're a great way to explore an unfamiliar genre, learn about authors you might be unfamiliar with, and to get some fun stories that don't require a full-length investment. If it turns out you don't like a story, move on to the next one without feeling like you've wasted your time.
This particular anthology didn't have any disappointing stories for me, and there were a couple that really stood out for me, so on the whole I'd say this venture was well worth my credit. The stories were well-crafted and well-told, and the performances served largely to improve them. The couple that stood out... they REALLY stood out for me and pushed this from a 3-star to a 4-star rating. There's a lot of fun here, but there are also some decidedly darker twists that I didn't expect, the kind of thing that haunts the reader that lingers on it a bit too long. Sometimes it's surprising how much punch a short story can have.
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