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Posted August 3, 2011
A great anthology
In the Introduction, editors Nick Gevers and Jack Dann explain that the premise of this excellent anthology is to explore the "great paradox of the Victorian age" in which the Queen declared the enlightenment yet superstition and paranormal species still held a grip on the people. Perhaps Laird Barron's "Blackwood's Baby" is the best example of that unbalanced scale between enlightened understanding and suggestive fears of the unknown. Thus the Enlightenment is a transition into the modern world. All seventeen entries are excellent examples of "Steampunk and Supernatural Suspense". "The Iron Shroud" by James Morrow opens the superior collection with Jonathan pondering insects and hell as his dead mentor remains interred. Just after Princess Maude married the future Sultan, four men living in a rooming house learn why Turks write down everything even "Music, When Soft Voices Die" by Peter S. Beagle. Margo Lanagan provides an engaging insightful focus on the changing class combat in "The Proving of Smollett Standforth." "The Curious Case of the Moondawn Daffodil Murder as Experienced by Sir Magnus Holmes and Almost Doctor Susan Shrike" (by Garth Nix) pays homage to the great Victorian detective and his sidekick in a razor sharp thriller. All the other entries are excellent as this may prove to be the historical fantasy (and horror) collection of the year climaxing with Jeffrey Ford's gloomy ghostly ruins of "The Summer Palace."
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Posted January 12, 2013
Trim the Wick and Stoke the Boiler
Not a bad book, although I think that steampunk is a bit over used at the current time. This anthology is a good selection of various ghost stories set to the Victorian fantasy back drop. My usual caveat concerning anthologies applies, and this collection does have one or two stories that you could skip, but I think, all in all this was a well-put-together collection The stories in this collection could not be more different from each other, even though they, like most anthology entries are, usually, related by a central theme. While this theme, that of ghost stories and the Jules Verne Victorian scientific sensibilities, is intact in each of the stories, they all bring something very different to the table. A good variety that does a lot to make this anthology seem more smooth and even. Good for a rainy day or twelve. Something to brush off now and then to while away the hours.
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