cover image Steampunk Prime

Steampunk Prime

Edited by Mike Ashley, Nonstop Press (IPG, dist.), $15.95 trade paper (240p) ISBN 978-1-933065-18-2

Prolific anthologist Ashley (The Mammoth Book of Extreme Fantasy) digs deep into literary history to find 14 proto-steampunk stories written between 1880 and 1914. From these contemporaries of Wells, Verne, and Shelley come tales of robotic humanity ("The Automaton" by Reginald Bacchus and Ranger Gull) and exploration of the poles and center of the earth ("From Pole to Pole" by George Griffith). The future holds cold sleep, world government, and space travel in George Lathrop's "In the Deep of Time" and global catastrophe in Ernest Favenc's "What the Rats Brought" and George C. Wallis's "The Last Days of Earth." These tales have the pulpy goodness steampunk fans adore and a literary veneer of contemporary realism, but dated writing and simplistic plots will deter readers not already invested in Victoriana. (Nov.)