Gaslight & Grimm: Steampunk Faerie Tales
Created by ggrihn on 6/9/2016 5:08:36 PM

Gaslight & Grimm: Steampunk Faerie Tales, Danielle Ackley-McPhail and Diana Bastine, editors.

Reviewed by Gregory G. H. Rihn, Steampunk Chronicle Literary Editor

Gaslight & Grimm is the recently released anthology published by eSpec Books, and edited by Danielle Ackley-McPhail and Diana Bastine.

The stories are explicitly inspired by classic fairy tales as collected by the Brothers Grimm, or as authored by Hans Christian Andersen and others. Some adhere fairly closely to the plots of the familiar stories, such as Danny Birt's "The (Steamy) Tale of Cinderella," and some take off into unfamiliar territory with the original as an entry point, such as "When Pigs Fly," by Christine Norris.

Some of them are relatively simple stories, like "The Hair Ladder," by Diana Bastine, and "The Patented Troll," by Gail Z. and Larry N. Martin, and others, like Jen Marie Ward's "The Clockwork Nightingale," expand classical themes into major stories.

It's often refreshing to have a known story retold from another viewpoint, which happens in "From the Horse's Mouth," by Bernie Mojzes, and "A Cat Among the Gears," by Elaine Corvidae.

Some of the authors are long-established professionals, and some less so, but the writing standards seem to be uniformly high, making for a very readable and accessible collection. While the fairy tale bases add a significant element of enjoyability to the stories, most of them are good enough Steampunk adventures to be fun to read even if you had no idea of the inspirations. I particularly point out "When Pigs Fly," "The Giant Killer," by Jonah Knight, and "The Clockwork Nightingale" in this category.

It's also somewhat refreshing that, while a lot of the tales by Grimm and Andersen are pretty dark, the stories in this anthology tend to have happier endings than some of the originals, which lightens the tendency for Steampunk to be grim. True to the fairy-tale origins, there's little sex or bad language, so the book is not unsuitable for younger readers, although there is violence, some of it relatively intense.

Recommended for when you want some Steampunk with a bit lighter touch, and are tired of the usual themes.

Gaslight & Grimm on Amazon



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