Wiggins Redux

The Irregular, by H. B. Lyle. Reviewed by Gregory G.H. Rihn H.B, Lyle picks up one of the few neglected threads of the Sherlock Holmes canon—whatever happened to the Baker Street Irregulars, the loosely organized band of urchins that were Holmes’ eyes and ears in the London streets. In The Irregular, the year is 1909. Wiggins (the only named Irregular), having grown out of being an unobvious street rat, joined the British Army (a word from Watson getting him into the Doctor’s old regiment). He’s seen the horrors of war in the campaign against the Boers, mustered out, and taken … Continue reading Wiggins Redux

Dangers on a Train

Ruler of the Night, by David Morell, Reviewed by Gregory G.H. Rihn There may come a time in the future when every historical personage of any note will have been “revealed” to have been a detective or crime fighter of some sort. At first glance, Thomas De Quincey, notorious as the author of Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, would seem an unlikely choice to join that company. However, as David Morell, author of many thrillers, including the Mortalis series, reminds us, De Quincy was also the author of Murder Considered as a Fine Art, and a respected and formidable intellect … Continue reading Dangers on a Train

Family Fiends

A Murderous Relation: A Veronica Speedwell Mystery, by Deanna Raybourn. Reviewed by Gregory G.H. Rihn I have reviewed the “Veronica Speedwell Mysteries” as being of interest to Steampunk readers, since they share many of the tropes Steampunks enjoy: Victorian science, eccentric characters, and crime detection. In A Murderous Relation, it isAutumn, 1888: “Jack the Ripper” stalks the East End, and the eye of suspicion falls everywhere, including on members of the Royal Family.  Veronica and Stoker have finally agreed to act on the acknowledged sexual attraction between them, but, both being closet romantics, have to agree on a suitable time … Continue reading Family Fiends

Is Mechanicsburg Burning?

Agatha H. and the Siege of Mechanicsburg: A Girl Genius Novel, by Phil & Kaja Foglio. Reviewed by Gregory G.H. Rihn Ok, full disclosure, here. I’m a huge fan of Girl Genius, and I have been ever since it started out as a paper comic book. I’ve bought all the bound volumes, and backed all the Kickstarters. That said, I’m here to convince you that reading the novel adaptations is not just a symptom of fanboy completionism. The books expand upon what is happening in the comic strip. Since these are allegedly history texts prepared by the Foglios in their … Continue reading Is Mechanicsburg Burning?

A Jarring Experience

Things in Jars, by Jess Kidd, reviewed by Gregory G.H Rihn The new novel, Things in Jars, is of interest to Steampunks because it incorporates many tropes we tend to be fond of: Victorian detectives, questionably sane science, and things humankind was not meant to meddle with. It also plays off the Victorian Age rage for collecting, and the morbid interest in “freaks of nature” that gave rise to the circus sideshow. In a way, the book is rather like K.W. Jeter-light, if he didn’t have to make every single thing in a novel grotesque, and every character hateful. The … Continue reading A Jarring Experience

Review: Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears

On Sunday evening, March 29th, we streamed the new feature film, Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears from Acorn. This is a follow-on to the well-regarded Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries produced for Australian television. The “Miss Fisher” of the title is The Honourable Miss Phryne Fisher, played by Essie Davis. Phryne grew up rough, tough, and poor, until a distant cousin in England popped off, and an heir search found Phryne’s father the only claimant to a barony and sizable fortune. Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries are popular with Steampunks because of the period biplanes, steam trains, motorcars, and motorcycles … Continue reading Review: Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears

Geneva Steam Con 2020, The Last Hot Time—

Daring the COVID-19 pandemic (which at that time was not an official crisis in Wisconsin yet) we attended Geneva Steam Convention. We knew that this was to be the last Geneva Steam Con, as the small but doughty band of organizers have decided to commit energies elsewhere for the forseeable future, but, as it turned out, may be the last fannish gathering, Steampunk or otherwise, for some time to come. Just as we came home from the con, governmental responses to the epidemic were ramping up, and, by this writing, we are beginning the second week of government “stay at … Continue reading Geneva Steam Con 2020, The Last Hot Time—

Review: The Lost Future of Pepperharrow, by Natasha Pulley

The Lost Future of Pepperharrow, by Natasha Pulley: reviewed by Gregory G. H. Rihn The Lost Future of Pepperharrow is the third book by Natasha Pulley set in the world of The Watchmaker of Filigree Street. Unlike The Bedlam Stacks, which was a prequel of sorts, The Lost Future of Pepperharrow is a direct sequel to Watchmaker. In Lost Future, Mori has gone back to Japan, via Russia. His old schoolmate, Kuroda, has become Prime Minister of Japan. The Imperial Russian Fleet is staging provocative maneuvers in sight of the Japanese coast, Kuroda has ordered a fleet of new warships … Continue reading Review: The Lost Future of Pepperharrow, by Natasha Pulley