Sunday, January 22, 2012
Steam-Powered 2: More Lesbian Steampunk Stories
Author: JoSelle Vanderhooft (editor)
Publication Date: October 2011
Length: 440 pages
First off, let me just say that it is so amazing to read 400 pages of steampunk with no male main characters. That alone makes this book worth reading for anyone who's feeling a little under-represented in the genre. Similarly, the stories take place all over the world, not just in Victorian England, so there's a lot more cultural diversity than is typical. Yay!
As for the individual stories, as usual with short story collections I liked some more than others. However, I definitely liked more than I usually do in this one. For example, in the first story, Journey's End by Elizabeth Porter Birdsall, a material from asteroids is used to build engines, which causes ships to become sentient. After some decades of serving her crew, a sentient ship chooses a crewmember to fly her to her death. In Playing Chess in New Persepolis by Sean Holland, people from around the world participate in a chess tournament with giant steam-powered chess pieces of their own design, where both their technical abilities and their chess skills are put to the test. In The Terracotta Bride by Zen Cho, the reader is shown a fascinating concept of the afterlife, in which people go to Hell, and then try to stay there rather than be reincarnated, and for belongings people have whatever their descendants burn for them.
So overall, while there were a few stories that didn't really do anything for me, I think there were more stories that had truly original ideas, really captured the essence of steampunk, and were really well-written stories that kept me interested and entertained.
This book counts for the 2012 A-Z Book Challenge.
Full disclosure: Free copy received through a Goodreads giveaway.