Hot & Steamy: Tales of Steampunk Romance
by Jean Rabe & Martin H. Greenberg (editors)
Review by Drew Bittner
DAW Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780756406899
Date: 07 June 2011 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Links: Interview with Michael Stackpole / Show Official Info /
The stories cover a gamut of steampunk tropes and types, from Michael Stackpole's brilliant "Chance Corrigan and the Queen of Hearts" to Robert E. Vardeman's "Her Faith Is Fixt". Many are sequels to the previous volume's contents, such as "Kinetic Dreams" by C.A. Verstraete, while others--such as Matt Forbeck's "In the Belly of the Behemoth"--are not.
In "Corrigan", Stackpole continues the story of inventor-hero Chance Corrigan. This time, Corrigan is after a little payback from a treacherous girlfriend and a casino ripe for plundering (in the name of justice, of course). Stackpole's hero is the driver of the action this time around, and his cleverness at turning tables on his enemies is brilliant. Definitely one of the book's best entries.
Jody Lynn Nye's "Clockwork" shows the unusual courtship between a young woman and the clockmaker who's more interested in her inorganic parts--or so it seems. It's a neat story with a charming resolution.
Matt Forbeck's "In the Belly of the Behemoth" is set in Georgia as the Union forces push toward the sea. As the war comes to her home, a slave named Dusky may find something entirely unexpected comes from the rampage of the North's Behemoth. A great story that epitomizes the alternate history style of steampunk.
In "Love Comes to Abyssal City", Tobias Buckell takes a Vernian twist, setting his tale of high adventure with a beautiful-but-dangerous young ambassador in the world's trackless depths. The danger to her city grows by the hour, but Tia discovers (through a game of cards) that life's dangers can bring the most exciting challenges.
There are many more stories equalling deserving of mention but this review is VERY late. My recommendation is to buy it, if you are looking for a superb collection of short, brilliantly-told steampunk tales.