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Extraordinary Engines: The Definitive Steampunk Anthology (original 2008; edition 2008)

by Nick Gevers

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3101435,978 (3.52)18
Member:brianeisley
Title:Extraordinary Engines: The Definitive Steampunk Anthology
Authors:Nick Gevers
Info:Solaris (2008), Mass Market Paperback, 448 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:steampunk

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Extraordinary Engines: The Definitive Steampunk Anthology by Nick Gevers (Editor) (2008)

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» See also 18 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
This was an amazing anthology. If you've got any love, or interest in, the steampunk genre, get this anthology. If you already read steampunk, this one will jump to the front of your favorites. If you haven't read steampunk, but you're kinda curious, this is the perfect introduction. There are examples in this anthology of what the genre can do when in the hands of truly talented writers. (ya... I'm talking to you Mr. Vandermeer) ( )
  JohnnyPanic13 | Apr 3, 2013 |
This was an amazing anthology. If you've got any love, or interest in, the steampunk genre, get this anthology. If you already read steampunk, this one will jump to the front of your favorites. If you haven't read steampunk, but you're kinda curious, this is the perfect introduction. There are examples in this anthology of what the genre can do when in the hands of truly talented writers. (ya... I'm talking to you Mr. Vandermeer) ( )
  JohnnyPanic13 | Apr 3, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I was disappointed with this book. Calling the book "definitive" is a stretch, but I was willing to let that pass. What truly disappointed me is the poor quality of the stories. Poorly written, clichéd, and heavy-handed are all terms that come to mind. To me the term steampunk brings to mind the works of Tim Powers and James Blaylock. I have enjoyed the works of both of those authors [I never liked Jeter, too Gnostic for my taste], and I hoped for more of the same. My hopes were dashed. I would never have purchased this book.

That being so, let me look briefly upon the two stories within this volume that I did enjoy.

Steampunch - James Lovegrove

There is just something about Mars that makes it a good place for a penal colony. Lots of authors have done this, it just seems right. Of all the stories in this volume, this one had the best look and feel.

The Lollygang Save the World on Accident - Jay Lake

Madcap, with the sense of a larger world that the story is embedded within. Only remotely steampunk, but I still liked the story.

I do not plan on ever reading anything by the authors in this collection, so it has basically failed to do its job. Life is just too short to read bad books. ( )
  bespen | Dec 9, 2009 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Solid, enjoyable anthology. I tend to be skeptical of anything called "definitive," but it's highly worth reading, anyway. ( )
  yendi | Dec 2, 2009 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
See full review on my blog.

I received Extraordinary Engines through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers programme. I’ve been a fan of the Steampunk genre since I read The Difference Engine many years ago.

The first story is Steampunch by James Lovegrove, the story of the rise and fall of a steam powered boxer related by a veteran denizen of the Martian penal colony. I enjoyed this one, a very Victorian flavour coupled with some unusual steampunk devices.

Next up is Static by Marly Yeomans, set in a world permeated by static electricity and a protagonist who reminded me somewhat of Estella in Great Expectations (not that I’ve read it, mind you).

The third story is Speed, Speed the Cable by Kage Baker, features a secret society who aim to guide the world towards a more advanced future through fair means or foul. The cable of the title is the transatlantic telegraph line which is attacked by saboteurs.

Ian R. MacLeod is next with Elementals, beings conjured out of the Aether by a not as mad as he seemed scientist, but at what cost to humanity?

The fifth story is Machine Maid by Margo Lanagan – woman begins to regret moving to a new home, a ranch in the Australian outback, her only company from day to day a domestic clockwork robot called Clarissa. Driven by boredom she starts to investigate the inner workings of the robot which horrify her somewhat puritanical nature.

In Lady Witherspoon’s Solution by James Morrow, is written as a journal describing exploring scientists happen upon a secluded island peopled, apparently, by Neanderthals. After gaining their trust one of the scientists is presented with a second journal and we are transported to Victorian England to discover the shocking truth behind these creatures.

Next is Hannah by Keith Brooke which is part detective story, part Frankenstein tale. Perhaps the least ’steampunky’ of the stories in this volume.

Adam Roberts is one of my favourite SciFi authors, his contribution to the volume is Petrolpunk. It seems like he was playing one of those free association games as he jumbles in a bunch of sci-fi tropes, including steampunk, parallel worlds, eco-warriors, mind controlling aliens, then shakes them around a bit to see what emerges. In the end I think there was a bit too much in it to fit as it all felt a little hurried towards the end, might make a nice novella though.

The ninth story is American Cheetah by Robert Reed where we meet a steam powered Abraham Lincoln, captured in algorithmic form from the original by a ’soul-catcher’ machine, who is working as a sheriff in small town America. After some reflections on the nature of mind, freedom and what it is to be human the story moves into all action Tombstone mode with the imminent arrival of notorious, steam-powered outlaw James-Younger Gang.

Fixing Hanover by Jeff VanderMeer (for Jay Lake) starts with a broken automaton washing up on a remote beach where an army weapons scientist as hidden for many years from the horrors he created. Once he starts repairing the automaton a return to horror becomes inevitable.

Having had a story for Jay Lake, we now have one by the man himself – The Lollygang Save the World on Accident – it’s more straight Cyberpunk than Steampunk, but enjoyable nonetheless. The Lollygang are a bunch of techno-urchins surviving on petty crime on a steam powered space station.

Finally we have Jeffrey Ford’s The Dream of Reason, a short ‘mad scientist who’s demons become real’ story.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this collection, particularly Steampunch, Machine Maid and American Cheetah. I have since been seeking out full length novels by a number of these authors at my local bookshops. ( )
1 vote robertc64 | Aug 31, 2009 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gevers, NickEditorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Baker, KageContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Brooke, KeithContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ford, JeffreyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lake, JayContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lanagan, MargoContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lovegrove, JamesContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
MacLeod, Ian R.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Morrow, JamesContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Reed, RobertContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Roberts, AdamContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
VanderMeer, JeffContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Youmans, MarlyComposersecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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My profound thanks to Christian Dunn and George Mann at Solaris for all their help on this project, and their confidence in its success. My gratitude to all the contributing authors also, for sterling work under a sometimes stringent deadline. And I dedicate this book to Peter Crowther, boss, mentor, and colleague, in token of his general inspiration as well as his invaluable assistance on the paperwork.
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Introduction: Steampunk is a particularly engaging, entertaining, as well as thematically resonant, subgenre of science fiction, fantasy, and horror.
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Ladies and gentlemen! Presenting Steampunk, the hottest new trend in fiction, where the grandeur of Victoriana blends with modern technology. Enter a world where robot pugilists perform for your amusement; where famous literary figures of yesteryear rail against the ceaseless tide of scientific advancement; a world with automated harlots, brass submersibles, and airships!
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"Extraordinary Engines is a collection of all-original stories from some of science fiction and fantasy's foremost writers. This anthology collects a vibrant and eclectic range of Steampunk-inspired stories by Kage Baker, Keith Brooke, Jeffrey Ford, Jay Lake, Margo Lanagan, James Lovergrove, Ian R. MacLeod, James Morrow, Robert Reet, Adam Roberts, Jeff VanderMeer and Marly Youmans."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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