Edited by Jean Rabe and Martin H. Greenberg
Review by Drew Bittner
DAW Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780756406431
Date: 02 November 2010 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
In Steampunk'd, Martin Greenberg and Jean Rabe explore the exciting sub-genre of steampunk with 14 terrific stories.
Michael Stackpole leads off with "Chance Corrigan and the Tick-Tock King of the Nile", wherein a down-on-his-luck inventor is hired by a college acquaintance. Using steam-powered automata, Alexander Gavrilis intends to build a dam across the Nile, but he needs Corrigan's help to do it. Unfortunately, there are those who do not want the dam completed--but Corrigan has never been the sort to do what others want.
"The Battle of the Cumberland Gap" by combat SF master William Dietz tells the tale of Napoleon's super-tanks hammering the British back to the Appalachian Mountains, where a ruse ensures that the defenders will be vastly overpowered. However, an ingenious young engineer refuses to go down without a fight. But he'll only have one shot at it, so he'd better make it a good one...
"Of a Feather" by Stephen Sullivan follows an expedition into the Amazon, where naturalists have found a mother pteranodon and her hatchlings. The trip becomes a race against time as a Russian plunderer (with some unusual skills of her own) threatens to seize and weaponize the creatures. It'll take some luck for our heroine to triumph!
Paul Genesse's "The Nubian Queen" picks up the action with a young princess of Nubia virtually sold into marriage to a Greek king, after a gambit to take her throne by treachery fails. Genesse delivers an engaging tale of bravery, wit, and political skill set against a world where an ice age has rendered most of the north uninhabitable and left Egypt the greatest empire on Earth. A truly well done tale.
And in "The Transmogrification Ray" by Robert Vardeman, a scientific experiment to transmute lead into gold results in a struggle to control an awesomely powerful weapon. If a beautiful young woman can't convince a stubborn inventor of the danger he's in, however, that weapon may be the last thing he ever builds.
These and many other stories are offered up by the editors, with stories that range from classic scientific romances to Wild West style high adventure. They've chosen a great selection...and they're going to be at it again soon, in a sequel edition, Hot and Steamy: Tales of Steampunk Romance. Perhaps some of these tales will be continued...?