Perdido Street Station by China Mieville Review

Perdido Street Station is one of those works that was given the Steampunk label, but depending on how narrow of a definition you like to use for yourself, you may find it to be too far afield. For instance, the world of this book is pure fiction, no alternative future here. Several different species of sentient beings in addition to boring old humans populate the story. Some are insectile, others are cactus-like. As well as 7-foot tall bird people and these amphibious folks who can control water. These different races all live together, but separately, in a huge industrial city. The setting serves as a great lens … Continue reading Perdido Street Station by China Mieville Review

Arachnodactyl by Danny Knestaut Review

Okay, I can probably guess what you are thinking. The title of today’s book, Arachnodactyl, sounds like a lot like something that sprang from the mind of Ed Wood or was riffed to death by the MST3K crew. I know I was picturing a bizarre spider-pterodactyl hybrid creature flitting across a Syfy channel ad. In truth, the only monsters in this story are of the human variety, and it is both more serious and objectively better than the creature the title may evoke.  What is Arachnodactyl About? The main character is an 18-year-old farmhand and tinkerer named Ikey. He is the last surviving child of a home torn … Continue reading Arachnodactyl by Danny Knestaut Review

Queen of Clocks and Other Steampunk Tales – Anthology Review by Guest Writer Danielle Miller

Queen of Clocks and Other Steampunk Tales Guest Review by Danielle Miller What would the fairy tales and legends of a steampunk world be? Danielle Miller investigates this collection of retold tales. What is Queen of Clocks and Other Steampunk Tales About? This collection of seven short stories was the brainchild of Crysta K. Coburn. She came up with the idea to compile steampunk versions of classic fairy tales and legends. Enough fellow authors took the bait, and this book is the result. The first of the tales is “The Clockwork Nightingale” by Bess Raechel Goden, a retelling of the Hans Christian Andersen story. “Sleeping Steaming … Continue reading Queen of Clocks and Other Steampunk Tales – Anthology Review by Guest Writer Danielle Miller

Clockwork Cairo Steampunk-Egypt Crossover Anthology Review

This anthology paid homage to the very real obsession with all things Egyptian in the steam-era. I was given a copy in exchange for an honest review of Egyptian Steampunk crossover stories, but I would have happily paid the price to enjoy this wide range of stories. Because this is an anthology, I can’t give you a quick and decisive synopsis of the entire volume. Instead, I’d like to share a few highlights from the collection that stood out to me. (I received this book in exchange for an honest review) What Worked The Curious Case of the Werewolf that Wasn’t, the Mummy that Was and … Continue reading Clockwork Cairo Steampunk-Egypt Crossover Anthology Review

A Matter of Temperance Book Review

A Few Thoughts on Indie Publishing Before I Begin When I was taking Art History classes in college, one of my favorite units was on “art of the naïve.” We often associate naivety with negative connotations, such as uncouth or ignorant. But in this case it simply means “untrained.” So, artwork of this kind is the result of the creative impulse pouring itself out through someone who was not an “artist” by training. They were spontaneous and made their art only for their personal satisfaction. There was something so pure and remarkable in these unpolished and unorthodox works; the joy of the uncontained creative spark. In … Continue reading A Matter of Temperance Book Review

Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne Review

It’s time to return again to our regularly scheduled Jules Verne programming. Voyage au centre de la Terre is the third Verne novel I have read, and so far it is my favorite. There are multiple translations, and the names of the main characters are different depending on which one you read. I read the version where the narrator is called “Harry Lawson” rather than Axel Lidenbrock. According to Project Gutenberg, this 1871 translation I read is the most widely circulated. But it is also not as true to the original text as the 1877 version. Apparently, what I read was somewhat abridged, but was still … Continue reading Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne Review

My Lost Weekend on Jules Verne’s Mysterious Island – Guest Review by Eric Renderking Fisk

“How could you possibly know what retrofuturism means today if you don’t know what futurism of that era was?” (Eric Renderking Fisk, 2018) Heading into the Journal’s celebration of the venerable Verne’s birthday, our dear editor Phoebe Darqueling challenged her friends to review some media associated with works. It could have been a book, a movie based on his work, or the Audible version of one of his novels. I chose The Mysterious Island to enjoy during the weekend while my wife and sons were with my in-laws and I was keeping an eye open for our yet-to-be housebroken puppy. I picked it based on the … Continue reading My Lost Weekend on Jules Verne’s Mysterious Island – Guest Review by Eric Renderking Fisk

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne Review

Even if people aren’t a fan of science fiction, chances are they have seen the 1954 Disney movie, or at least heard of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. In my review of Around the World in 80 Days, you probably picked up on the fact I’m only lukewarm on Jules Verne’s writing style. On the other hand, I’ve read a few different Steampunk books that use Captain Nemo as a character, so I wanted to go back to the original source to learn a bit more. About the Book It all begins with the mysterious disappearances of various vessels in 1866. Many believe a giant sea creature is … Continue reading 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne Review

The Other Log of Phileas Fogg by Philip Jose Farmer Review

Whenever I go a-searching for used science fiction books, I run across several by Philip Jose Farmer. The ones I did find were about space travel and other worlds, but his Steampunk books take place in the alternative past right here at home. But somehow I could never find any in his “Wold Newton” series. Eventually, I ordered The Other Log of Phileas Fogg online. I was so excited when the new edition arrived at my door, especially because of the sweet airship on the cover. Unfortunately, the dirigible of the futuristic past does not actually make an appearance anywhere in the story! And that is only … Continue reading The Other Log of Phileas Fogg by Philip Jose Farmer Review

Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne (1873) Review

I chose to do an in-depth article on Around the World in 80 Days mostly as an excuse to watch the 1956 movie again. But of course I needed to start with the text itself. I won’t go into a lengthy synopsis here because I do in my “Dive Deeper” post. Let’s skip straight to the review of the book. What I thought of the book Around the World in 80 Days I really expected to adore this book and it had all the makings of greatness. But all and all, I’d say this one isn’t a must-read for a Steampunk, or a Jules Verne fan. The voice … Continue reading Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne (1873) Review