Friday, March 23, 2012

Steampunk! An Anthology -- by Various (including Lois Lowry and Garth Nix)

I usually don't read anthologies because I don't care for short stories.  They are usually unsatisfying, horrifyingly violent or tragic, and the endings are dreadful.  That's an unfair generalization, but I have read a ton of short stories.  (And yes, I do have some favorites -- Poe's "The Pit & the Pendulum" for one)

Perhaps I had better rephrase that to say, "I don't care for the modern/postmodern literature version of short stories," which is far more accurate.

Therefore, I was a wee mite trepidatious upon my primary perusal of the aforementioned anthology, "Steampunk!"

But it was steampunk.  And I was curious.

I was pleasantly surprised at the quality (and content) of the stories.  Instead of children mauling each other or everyone dying, there were semi-historical settings (some off-planet), gunslingers, nuns, a ghost and an automaton dance instructor who falls in love with his pupil.

Garth Nix and Lois Lowry are two of my favorite authors, so reading their steampunk stories was a real treat.

I have not been exposed to large quantities of steampunk but I like the general idea and hope to read more, as this was a lovely introduction.

The stories were so different from others I've read -- more like detailed oil portraits instead of dark and grainy snapshots.

"The Seventh Chair" (Lois Lowry) is especially intriguing.

I recommend this collection if you want to travel off-world for a while and learn about some very beautiful steam-powered machines (including a time-warping gun).

Have you read any steampunk literature?  Do you like the mixture of Victorian age science, futuristic societies and the occasional robot?  If you don't, what short stories do you like?

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