cover image Clockwork Fairy Tales: 
A Collection of Steampunk Fables

Clockwork Fairy Tales: A Collection of Steampunk Fables

Edited by Stephen L. Antczak and James C. Bassett. Roc, $15 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-0-451-46494-1

Take a few of the Western world’s best-known fairy tales, toss in a generous helping of gizmos and steam, and you get one of the most inspired mash-ups of the year. Steampunk originator K.W. Jeter offers the gruesome elegance of “La Valse,” in which a fancy ball to celebrate the New Year encloses dancers in apparatuses that automate the dancing. Jay Lake’s “You Will Attend Until Beauty Awakens” gives a neat and surprising twist to the story of Sleeping Beauty. In “The Steampiper, the Stovepiper, and the Pied Piper of New Hamelin, Texas,” Gregory Nicoll concocts a Wild West version of the classic tale, though he never explains why Comanches would want to buy little blond children, or why a girl young enough to be lured by the Piper is old enough to join the hero in a hot tub. There are many thoughtful new spins on old favorites, with plenty of gory encounters between flesh and machines that recall fairy tales’ gruesome pre-Disney days. (June)