I was looking for a good compilation of Steampunk having read The Difference Engine (Gollancz S.F.)
and the superb The Steampunk Trilogy
As a fan of Jeff Vandermeer this one appealed (read The Situation
it's an excellent fun wee book).
Anyway: this is an excellent anthology.
The stories are as follows:
Introduction: The 19th Century Roots of Steampunk (Jess Nevins) - obviously an introduction to the sub-genre.
Benediction: Excerpt from The Warlord of the Air (Michael Moorcock) - an excerpt from the novel: I enjoyed it and have read much of Moorcock's works, shame that his steampunk stuff seems to be out of print.
Lord Kelvin's Machine (James P. Blaylock) - same as above Blaylock has a load of steampunk novels that seem to be hard to get.
The Giving Mouth (Ian R. MacLeod) - an odd story - not *entirely* sure what was going on. But I like that.
A Sun in the Attic (Mary Gentle) - Nice feminist subcurrents to a story about the potential for technology to disrupt society.
The God-Clown is Near (Jay Lake) - Pretty funny, gory and a good job at playing with mad-scientist tropes (well, that's how I read it, anyway!)
The Steam Man of the Prairie and the Dark Rider Get Down: A Dime Novel (Joe R. Lansdale) - Full of crude language and works hard to deconstruct heros and so on (more about this in the opening essays). It's not bad - I kinda liked it, though you *could* describe it as puerile. I think deliberately so. It didn't in any way offend me, but I think it tries a little too hard to do this.
The Selene Gardening Society (Molly Brown) - Apparently this follows on from a Jules Verne story - sadly one I'm not familiar with! (From the Earth to the Moon
, I think). OK, interesting, but the writing was nothing special.
Seventy-Two Letters (Ted Chiang) - Ted Chiang doesn't publish much. But when he does, it's great. Magic + steampunk. Absolutely fantastic.
The Martian Agent, A Planetary Romance (Michael Chabon) - Excellent Alternate History which posits an America which rejoins with Great Britain.
Victoria (Paul Di Filippo) - excellent story (and part of The Steampunk Trilogy
). Does what I think Steampunk *should* do. It's more than just an adventure story with some cool stuff bolted on.
Reflected Light (Rachel E. Pollack) - Takes in socialist revolutionary themes...but is not turgid for all that. An interesting work...well worth reading and deserving of its place in this.
Minutes of the Last Meeting (Stepan Chapman) - Pacy and interesting. It's set in Russia too, this is unusual: most steampunk I've read has tended towards being set in the British Empire.
Excerpt from the Third and Last Volume of Tribes of the Pacific Coast (Neal Stephenson) - slightly cyberpunky (naturally given Stephenson's background?) but has some good social commentary about colonialism - still relevant, I feel.
These last two are more *about* Steampunk than actually being short stories. I think they're worthwhile, but then I'm one of those people that reads the notes after I've read a novel, if they're there. Always nice to get another perspective, I feel.
The Steam-Driven Time Machine: A Pop Culture Survey (Rick Klaw)
The Essential Sequential Steampunk: A Modest Survey of the Genre within the Comic Book Medium (Bill Baker)
It's a mostly excellent book, not all the stories are brilliant, but it's unusual to find any anthology that is entirely. Well worth it if you enjoy steampunk.