The term ``steampunk'' has come to intimate a subgenre of work set in a fantastic 19th century characterized by the inhumanity wrought by bogus science and a fanatical embrace of scientific method. Di Filippo's first book is a collection of three novellas that jumbles science and pseudoscience into an interesting, if not always completely successful, melange. The narratives are united not only by their reliance on the occult--mysticism dominates ``Walt and Emily'' while Lovecraft's monsters appear in the previously published ``Hottentots''--but also by their focus on female sexuality. ``Victoria'' replaces the Queen of England with a licentious salamander, while ``Walt and Emily'' features a robust poetic encounter between Ms. Dickinson and Mr. Whitman. Even the weakest of the pieces here--``Hottentots,'' in which nothing is learned while much credulity is stretched--features amusing faux-Victorian prose worthy of Anne Rice (``Like a Maine sawmill, like an asthmatic platypus... like a Michigan beaver... uneasily winter-dreaming of Ojibway hunters led by a wild Chief Snapping Turtle, Mister Dogberry roughly rasped and snorted through the night, making it nigh impossible for Agassiz to get any rest'') and enough ``scientific'' pasquinades to satisfy the Luddite in anyone. (May)
Reviewed on: 02/27/1995 Release date: 03/01/1995 Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 354 pages - 978-1-56858-102-6
Paperback - 396 pages - 978-1-4976-2658-4
Portable Document Format (PDF) - 396 pages - 978-1-4976-2657-7
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