Review of “The Mammoth Book of Steampunk Adventures”

The Mammoth Book of Steampunk Adventures

The Mammoth Book of Steampunk Adventures by Sean Wallace

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


A problem with anthologies (especially if MAMMOTH) is inconsistency in the quality of the stories. This anthology is no exception. Some I liked. Some were an effort to get through and some read like chapters from a larger work.

My issue with this is that many of the stories had little to no connection to what makes steampunk.

Using the definition in Orson Scott Card’s WRITING FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION, steampunk is speculative fiction set in Victorian or Edwardian eras or a pseudo-Victorian setting using retrofuturistic technology in high stakes adventure. Many of these stories fail on one or more of these levels.

The editors seemed to judge that the mention of an airship (“The Return of Cheri”) or telling a western with mechanical ‘dogs’ instead of horses (“Terrain”) made a story steampunk. I would also wonder what they considered to be an adventure as some of the stories (“Selin that has Grown in the Desert”) were identity narratives with no tension. Some of the stories, while good, were more in line with fantasy (“The Curse of Chimere”, “I Stole the DC’s Eyeglasses”) than steampunk.

Bottom Line – If you like steampunk, this is not the collection for you.



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