Extraordinary Engines

PDF-file by Nick Gevers

Extraordinary Engines PDF ebook download I picked this book up based on the subtitle touting it as "The Definitive Steampunk Anthology", which will teach me to believe cover blurbs instead of checking reviews!I am not terribly familiar with steampunk, but I think that this collection, while interesting, is highly unlikely to be definitive.Then again, I didn't even read all of it, so perhaps I missed a shining gem.

What I did read was a mixed bag.The good:

"Static" by Marly Youmans combined fantastic world-building with fairy-tale retelling and did it well.I really liked this story and intend to track down more of this author's work immediately.

"Machine Maid" by Margo Lanagan was very, very creepy, mostly in a good way, and the use of the Australian frontier caught my attention, accustomed as I am to American frontier stories.

"Speed, Speed the Cable" by Kage Baker suffered from an ending that lacked all punch, at least for someone like me not well-versed in Victorian historical personages.The body of the story was quite interesting, though.

"Hannah" by Keith Brooke packed a good punch into the end, but the story was only just barely interesting enough to carry me to it.

The bad:

"Elementals" by Ian R. MacLeod was pointless, and I loathed the main character and his attitude toward all of the other characters.Also, this grammatical construction bothered me immensely:"As I've already said, I have no precise recollection of this first mention of his theory of elementals. Mostly likely, it would have swirled up with many other thoughts and suppositions. Equally likely, it would have been at our club, and probably at that time in the evening when things had started to become enjoyable blurred."

The ugly:

"Steampunch" by James Lovegrove was the opening story in this collection, and it begins like this:"Hoi! Hoi, you! Yes, you, kid. Over here.I want a word.No, don't look like that. I'm not some poncey mandrake, though there's a fair few of them around here, I warn you. I won't be trying to stick my Nebuchadnezzar up your jacksie. Strictly a Lady Laycock fellow, me, always have been."So...that would be a no, then.

The unknown:

There were six more stories left, but — okay, I can't actually type "I ran out of steam" with a straight face.Sorry!

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