Extraordinary Engines: The Definitive Steampunk Anthology
Edited by Nick Gevers
Review by Mary Rose-Shaffer
Solaris Mass Market Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9781844166008
Date: 30 September 2008 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Extraordinary Engines an anthology edited by Nick Gevers is a collection of twelve original-for-this-anthology Steampunk stories. They are generally of one-sitting, manageable length, (very few novellas-length – unlike the VanderMeers' Steampunk anthology). The authors presented are known for their mastery of SP in short story and novel lengths and their contributions here reflect that expertise.
The stories follow the ideals and concepts of what may be considered "traditional" Steampunk (SP). Most of the major tropes are included. Included in the mix are: the eccentric scientist, the adventurer, Queen Victoria--in many incarnations, homage to Sherlock Holmes and Jules Verne, steam-driven mechanical men, other shiny inventions, and several created worlds with historical parallels to our own. There is a pleasing blend of the humorous, the ironic, and the thought provoking.
Extraordinary Engines makes a solid introduction to the genre and is a valuable contribution. As one with minimal experience with SP, I wish I’d read this anthology before the VanderMeers' Steampunk. The subtitle states it is "the definitive Steampunk Anthology". I cannot disagree; it is a wonderful introduction to the genre for the curious newcomer as well as the more experienced reader of SP. Recommended.