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Posted December 16, 2013
3.5 to 4 stars. I definitely advise anyone wanting to discover Michael Coorlim’s alternate Victorian world to do so through this omnibus: separately, the stories might seem a little too short, but put together, they form a larger web, whose threads interconnect one narrative after the other. You can also tell that each story gets better than the other, reflecting the author’s work in that regard, and this is a process I always find interesting.
The first five stories focus on Alton Bartleby and James Wainwright, two consulting detectives who took a page from Sherlock Holmes and use their complementary talents and skills to solve the mysteries thrown in their way. The last three star Aldora Fiske, who lacks neither courage nor resources. All three face various threats with guts and smart minds, and their adventures are an equal mix of action and late Victorian/early Edwardian decorum. And if you’re careful enough, you might even read between the lines quite a few darker revelations.
While Alton is delightful in his manners, and James is quite the badass engineer, I especially liked Aldora’s parts, for the added conundrum of having to behave like a lady, when all she wants is to be herself—the reason behind her little arrangement with Alton, in order for her to preserve as much freedom as possible without alienating society. This, for me, accounted for what I thought at first like too fickle a mind regarding other male characters, but turned to be, in fact, quite logical, her engagement being more for show (although there’s no doubt Alton and Aldora are good friends no matter what).
The one thing I’d really hold against these stories were their length: some parts, in my opinion, would have fared better with a little more development (especially in the Alton & James stories, in fact). Those “missing details” might be addressed in other, individual stories that aren’t in this omnibus, though, in which case reading them could prove useful. As it stands, they were just the little thing that I kept on looking for, and couldn’t find. Overall, though, this omnibus was a really pleasant read.
Posted November 25, 2013
Mr. Coorlim's Steampunk Omnibus is chalked full of witty, mysterious, and fascinating stories in his Galvanic Century Series featuring Bartleby, James, and Miss Fiske. I find the Steampunk genre to be fascinating, creative, and unique in ways not many other genres are or can compete to be honest. I've only started reading Steampunk genre this year and it's fast becoming one of my favorite genres. Don't get me wrong I love reading paranormal romance, urban fantasy, fantasy, erotica, contemporary fiction and romance, and historical genres. I think it's the unique way things we use in every day life are turned into steam products. Each and every item we would typically use such as airplanes become airships. I will continue to enjoy Mr. Coorlim's work and look forward to my next reading adventure.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 30, 2013
Michael Coorlim's Steampunk Ominibus is a fabulous read. It's a set of short stories that have the feel of maybe a single season of a television show. Each short story resolves a case, but the author continues to build the world and the characters' relationships throughout the stories. The Omnibus is very well put together in a nice chronological order.
Coorlim's writing, particularly the imagery is great: "Dark shapes drifted through the ochre industrial smog like great birds of prey, drifting past one another before belching forth their dazzling coloured lights." That's just good stuff. I was also hooked within the first few pages when James introduced a Detoxification Apparatus for an opiate-addicted illusionist.
And, I absolutely have to brag on the fact that this is PURE steampunk. The author calls it Galvanic Century, which was new to me, but very enjoyable. There are no aliens or fantasy creatures. The introduction by the author puts it best: "The technology focuses less on steamtech and more on other forms of early 20th century science - galvanic energy, N-rays, difference engines. Aside from the pseudoscience there aren't any "magic" or "supernatural" elements to the series. ...I'm pleased with where that limitation has lead my creativity." And, I absolutely agree - the creative twists to some of the stories makes the series. For me, it's steampunk at its best.
The main characters, Bartleby and James, are witty and intelligent. They are well-developed throughout the stories, and added characters continue to play roles in the following stories. I am eager to see Mr. Coorlim come out with a full-length work with these characters. In the meantime, steampunk fans will love the short stories, they are great weekend reads, or to get your steampunk fix between reads in other genres.