Friday, September 12, 2014

Tick Tock Tales

Awsome Hubbin got me a pretty cool book for our anniversary.  It is a collection of steampunk fairytales called Clockwork Fairy Tales edited by Stephen L. Antczak and James C. Basset.  My last collection of steampunk stories was a bit hit or miss for me so I was bit nervous to start this one, but it turned out to be awesome!  Here are some of my favorites.
La Valse by K.W. Jeter - This gory tale is based on The Red Shoes (which is a pretty gruesome story to begin with) is a bit of a nightmare scenario.  It involves decrepit old nobles locked into a giant music box type apparatus.  A mentor killed.  Revenge taken and so much blood.  Great story!  Just be warned this is not your typical happily ever after fairy tale.

Fair Vasyl by Steven Harper - Lately I've really been into the old Baba Yaga tales and this one based on the old Russian story of Vasilisa the Beautiful captures the essence of the old witch perfectly.  Along with one of my favorite villains, this story really captures the perfect essence of what a family should be, a group of beings who love and need each other.

Mose and the Automatic Fireman by Nancy A. Collins - Mose the Fireboy is the inspiration for this fantastic story of a small boy who becomes a major hero.  The firefighter/EMS girl in me cheered the whole time I was reading this.  It has a fantastic rollicking American Tall Tale feel that is perfect perfect perfect.

The Steampiper, the Stovepiper and the Pied Piper of New Hamelin, Texas by Gregory Nicoll - This story is what I always think of when I think steampunk.  It has humor, it has sass, it has rats and it has so many clockwork toys!  The American West has been used a lot in steampunk as an alternative to the normal Victorian England steampunk we see so much of, and in this story it works to its advantage.
There were several things about this collection that worked for me.  First of all the stories were really steampunky, with lots of actual devices used to change or further the plot.  Unlike a lot of supposed steampunk books I have read, where they toss in an airship, or goggles and call it a day, there was an actual building of alternate worlds using clockwork devices.  The other thing I really liked was the combination in ever single story in this collection of sticking to the original tale they were based on, I mean every single story was recognizable, even down to some of the small details.  While doing this, each story was also wildly original, I'm not sure how these authors pulled it off every single time, but they did.  I give this collection  8 out of 10 wind up birds and recommend it to anybody who loves fairytales, steampunk, or a well told story.
What good steampunk stories have you read?  How do you think the authors managed to stay true to the original tale, while still being completely original themselves?  How bad do you want a clockwork pet?

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