Fantasy magazine

From Modern Mythcraft to Magical Surrealism





Dreadnought by Cherie Priest

Yes, Boneshaker fans, the zombies are back in Dreadnought, the sequel to the award-winning first novel in Cherie Priest’s steampunk/Weird Western “Clockwork Century” series. In her new outing, Priest emphasizes the Wild West and Civil War aspects of her alternate history. She introduces an interesting new cast and a strong, likeable new protagonist, deferring the return of Boneshaker characters to the denouement. Priest also wisely saves the zombie-fighting for Dreadnought‘s climax.


The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack by Mark Hodder

The plot synopsis may sound rather strange, but rest assured: it doesn’t begin to capture the wild delights of The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack. Debut novelist Mark Hodder outrageously reinvents both Victorian England and pulp fiction in the guise of a complicated time-travel novel. The narrative’s darkly fun tone becomes decidedly unfun when the increasingly deranged time traveler attempts serial rape. Which brings us to the female characters: unreconstructed victims and helpmeets who barely partake in the revisionist-pulp action.


Ares Express by Ian McDonald

SF master Ian McDonald knows that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic realism. And, with humor, poetic grace, and an abundance of Big Ideas, he embodies that truth in Ares Express. Artificial intelligences manipulate mortals with the casual power of gods; prophecies come true; quantum realities erase railroad tracks with a slice of terrain from an alternate Mars—and that’s just for starters.


Steamed: A Steampunk Romance by Katie MacAlister

Katie MacAlister’s Steamed: A Steampunk Romance is one of the first offsprings of a crossbreeding of romance and steampunk. The New York Times bestselling author of humorous paranormal romance demonstrates clear familiarity with not just steampunk (which she knowingly teases), but with SF/F as she engages in believable, well-researched world-building. For all its speculative chops it’s a romance, but it’s also good steampunk…


Ghosts of Manhattan: A Tale of the Ghost by George Mann

Ghosts of Manhattan is the answer to a terrific high-concept question: What if the Great Gatsby was Batman in a steampunk Cthulhuvian universe? It may not win many converts to the steampunk, superhero, or cosmic horror subgenres; but it will please many devotees of those forms.


Changeless: An Alexia Tarabotti Novel by Gail Carriger

Gail Carriger made quite a splash with her extraordinarily enjoyable debut novel, Soulless, a steampunk-spiced urban fantasy novel of manners. She and her charming protagonist, Alexia Maccon nee Tarabotti, return with Changeless, a steampunk novel of manners spiced with urban fantasy. With a few more novels this delightful, Ms. Carriger will be challenging Laurell K. Hamilton and Charlaine Harris for the top of the New York Times bestseller lists.


Book Review: Extraordinary Engines: The Definitive Steampunk Anthology, edited by Nick Gevers

It’s tough to compile a definitive anthology, especially when the volume contains only original fiction and lacks most of the genre’s iconic writers, but editor Nick Gevers tackles the challenge in Extraordinary Engines: The Definitive Steampunk Anthology. Overall, it is neither as definitive nor as strong as might be hoped, nor does it achieve “definitive” status. The anthology should, however, please many steampunk devotees, and win it some new fans.


Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan is a thoroughly delightful Young Adult novel, the first in a series based on an alternate history World War I. In this history Charles Darwin discovered the genetic basis for evolution, and how to manipulate it. As a result the United Kingdom and its allies have a society based on biotechnology, an example of which is the airship Leviathan, a huge beast (or colony of organisms) based on whale DNA and much more. By contrast the Germans, Austrians, and their allies, called Clankers, use steampunk-flavored machinery: airplanes and zeppelins, but also great walking land war machines.


Soulless: An Alexia Tarabotti Novel: The Parasol Protectorate: Book the First by Gail Carriger

If you’ve been looking for a steampunk-tinged urban fantasy novel of manners, Gail Carriger makes your dream come true with her delightful debut novel, Soulless. An intelligent and amusing alternate historySoulless should provide capital entertainment for anyone who enjoys urban fantasy or alternate history. And, for readers who’ve been avoiding all those post-Laurellian paranormal novels, Soulless is the exception that proves the rule…


Boneshaker by Cherie Priest

Cherie Priest’s sixth novel is her best. With a keen eye for detail and description, Priest quickly draws readers into her alternate world placing the story in a particular, if imaginary, time and place.Boneshaker proves to be one of 2009’s best novels and is not to be missed