Steampunk'd

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Steampunk'd

"Chance Corrigan and the Tick-toc King of the Nile" by Michael A. Stackpole

Chance Corrigan is working for a man he greatly dislikes, improving his machines, thinking that this might bring down a man he loathes. Everything is not as it seems, but will Chance find this out in time to make things right?

"Foggy Goggles" by Donald J. Bingle

Gavin Densmore is a The New York Times reporter in the travel and science section and he is on his way to the deserts of Las Vegas in order to interview Doctor Pendleton Merganser about his steam powered balloon. When he reaches his destination, however, he finds something entirely unexpected.

"The Battle of Cumberland Gap" by William C. Dietz

The French are on their way to Cumberland Gap in the land ship the Indomptable because Napoleon wants control over the coal regions of Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia. British forces are guarding the Gap with new weapons. Will the British win or will the French fight their way through and be able to take over the region?

"Portrait of a Lady in a Monocle" by Jody Lynn Nye

Penelope Galferd's reputation is in tatters as no one is willing to believe that the inventions that her ex-fiance patented as his own are actually hers. In order to fulfill her dream of becoming a member of the Chicago Science Academy, she devises a clever plan to prove herself right.

"Foretold" by Bradley P. Beaulieu

Maks is the Braga's augurer and his talents can bode well or ill for the mining operations. But what of his own fortune if his predictions are not up to snuff?

"The Echoer" by Dean Leggett

Brandon, Kendo and Sheila traveled to Beaumont in search of Allison and her talents with gear assemblies for the Echoer. Brandon has dreamed of this for a long time. But will Allison be convinced to join them or will she think that it is nothing more than a pipe dream?

"Of a Feather" by Stephen D. Sullivan

Kitty Chapman-Challenger, Zoe Tesla and Ray Armstrong are in search of an Antean ranodon and any eggs of hers that may have hatched in order to study them. There is, however, another group in search of the same ranodon that may not have the purest of intentions towards it. Who will succeed.

"Scourge of the Spoils" by Matthew P. Mayo

Tico is supposed to be leading Constance Gatterling through the Spoils to the West Edge. She wants to be the first person to cross from East to West. She is sidetracked while in the Spoils by Doc Ocularius and the sheriff wanting to find him due to the special glasses he has made. Who will win in the end? And is Constance really on her way West or is she up to something else?

"Edison Kinetic Light & Steam Power" by C.A. Verstraete

One of Thomas Edison's experiments goes awry and he wants his sister to finish it. What will happen when the experiment is finished? And what of Thomas' rival, Daniel Defore?

"The Nubian Queen" by Paul Genesse

Queen Sahdi is ruler of Lower Nubia in all but declared fact. Her main rival will do anything - include send the one man who is sure to spark her temper enough to start a war - to not see her get married. For the marriage would unite the last two heirs of the two bloodlines of Cleopatra the Great. Who will succeed in the end?

"Opals from Sydney" by Mary Louise Eklund

Jonathan Plebeman seeks to talk to Lord Espear about a certain opal's properties. As he finds out when he meets with "Lord" Espear that it is actually Lady Espear, his widow, that he must talk with. Jonathan is building multimatons and the opal has unique properties that give the multimatons their functions. See if the lady and the inventor will be able to come to an agreement.

"The Whisperer" by Marc Tassin

All Avery would like is to see Lily, an employee who used to work for the London Marvel Company's asylum and who used to bring him food. They started off as friends but something more developed. Avery is trapped there, however, due to the fact that he is able to 'whisper' machines and the only news he has of Lily is that she "is getting better". He makes a break for it one evening, but will he make it in time to see her?

"Imperial Changeling" by Skip and Penny Williams

There are fey living amongst humans and living well. There is a dark cloud on the horizon, for there are those who would like to close the doorways between the two worlds. What will come of the fight?

"The Transmogrification Ray" by Robert E. Vardeman

Francis Barstow is working on a ray that would be able to transform lead into gold. The power of the ray, however, could be harnessed for other, less scientific purposes. The questions that remain are what Francis Barstow wants to be done and what he will allow to be done with it.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading the anthology and being introduced to new - to me - authors (with the exception of Ms. Nye, who I have read before). While each story had steampunk elements, I am of the opinion that "Foretold" focused more on the augury element than on the steampunk element.  It is, along with "The Echoer", the least favorite of the stories for me.

"Of a Feather", "The Nubian Queen" and "Portrait of a Lady with a Monocle" were, to me, the best stories. "Of a Feather" especially because of the mix Mr. Sullivan has of the prehistoric (in the form of the ranodon) and steam power and other "gadgets" to be found in the story.

The rest of the stories were good and fall between the two ends for a well-crafted middle.


Book Blurb for Steampunk'd

Steampunk can be defined as a subgenre of science fiction that is typically set in an anachronistic Victorian or quasi-Victorian setting, where steam power is prevalent. Consider the slogan: "What the past would look like if the future had come along earlier." The stories in this all-original anthology explore alternate timelines and have been set all over the world, running the gamut from science fiction to mystery to horror to a melding of these genres.


Night Owl Reviews Dec, 2010 3.50