cover image Grimm, Grit, and Gasoline

Grimm, Grit, and Gasoline

Edited by Rhonda Parrish. World Weaver, $15.95 trade paper (308p) ISBN 978-1-73-

As anthologist Parrish explains in the introduction to this wonderful anthology, dieselpunk and decopunk are cousins of steampunk, fantastical stories set between the start of WWI and the end of WWII. These dieselpunk and decopunk retellings of fairy tales go far afield for an entertaining variety of interpretations. Laura VanArendonk Baugh’s claustrophobic thriller “To Go West” brings literal grit by way of a savage magical Dust Bowl wind that pursues a group on a mission from Heaven. A Japanese invasion of China carried out from a mechanical sky-island gets modern mythological twists in Brian Trent’s “Steel Dragons on a Luminous Sky.” Grit, glitz, and a sly celebrity appearance enliven a white-knuckle all-female infiltration mission in “As the Spindle Burns” by Nellie K. Neves. These unfailingly clever tales are impressive and page-turning, helping to correct the dearth of speculative fiction set in the interwar era. There is also a frequent and welcome spotlight on heroic women. Any reader who enjoys early-20th-century history or retold fairy tales will find these familiar but new, with well-played wonder in every story. (Sept.)