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‘Steampunk World:’ Anthology Review

For those of you who don’t know, Steampunk World is a multi-cultural Steampunk anthology funded through Kickstarter from Alliteration Ink. I was one of the backers which is how I received the book.  It intrigued me, as most Steampunk is based in England, and I wanted to see how the rest of the world viewed this most peculiar and interesting genre of which I am a part. I’m glad I took the time to back this project.

Not having edited an anthology myself, I would think the two hardest things to do would be 1. Informing people their story did not make the cut, and 2. Making sure the quality of the stories remained consistent throughout the book. The editor, Ms. Sarah Hans, has done a tremendously good job of the latter. With a very informative forward by Diana M. Pho (a.k.a. Ay-leen the Peacemaker) to set the mood for our journey into other lands, the overall themes of the stories focus on how industrialization affects lives, beliefs, and just may kill you.

Though I found a few of the stories to not be fully fleshed out and a couple of othersfelt like they were either lifted from a novel or were the first chapter of one,  the vast majority of these short stories and novellas were quite good and stood extremely well on their own.  One of my favorites was “The Omai Gods” by Alex Bledsoe, where a ship of Chinese marauders lands on a South Pacific Island populated by giant stone heads and peaceful villagers. When they decide to enslave the inhabitants, two children are brave enough to challenge them and their own fears by calling upon their gods. (Full disclosure: My nieces and nephews are Marshallese, so I’m a little biased.)  Another one I enjoyed was “The Emperor Everlasting” by Nayad  A. Monroe.  A story set in an alternate South America, it is about a woman named Ilyapa who is not only the First Deviser (engineer), but is one of the many wives of the emperor of the court of Sapa Inca. Ilyapa finds her efforts to fix her mechanical husband are being thwarted by politics and intrigue, so she decides to take matters into her own hands.

The anthology also includes “Shedding Skin or How the World Came to Be” written by the late Steampunk and science fiction author, Jay Lake. Just read it.

If you are looking to expand your Steampunk horizons, see how other cultures perceive and utilize the genre, and take a hard look at society, I highly recommend reading this anthology. It’s educational, enlightening, and just plain fun.




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