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Ghosts by Gaslight: Stories of Steampunk and Supernatural Suspense Paperback – September 6, 2011
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“Devotees of M. R. James, H. P. Lovecraft and Algernon Blackwood will relish this superior anthology of original stories…. It seems almost unfair to single out individual works when all 18 are superb and will be cherished by steampunk and horror fans alike.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
Seventeen all-new tales emulating, or re-creating, the ambience of classic Victorian supernatural suspense....impressive work....more than a mere exercise in nostalgia.” (Kirkus Reviews)
Ghosts By Gaslight is a triumph of a themed anthology. Among the hundred or so books I have read this year, this one is my favorite. Acquire it at all costs. Highly recommended. (Cemetery Dance Magazine)
From the Back Cover
Seventeen all-new stories illuminate the steampunk world of fog and fear!
Modern masters of the supernatural weave their magic to revitalize the chilling Victorian and Edwardian ghostly tale: here are haunted houses, arcane inventions, spirits reaching across the centuries, ghosts in the machine, fateful revelations, gaslit streets scarcely keeping the dark at bay, and other twisted variations on the immortal classics that frighten us still.
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Top Customer Reviews
Ghosts by Gaslight: Stories of stemapunk and supernatural suspense Edited by Jack Dann and Nick Gevers is a collection of 17 short stories by some of the better known horror authors. In the Introduction, editors Nick Gevers and Jack Dann explain that the premise of this collectionis to explore the "great paradox of the Victorian age" which was on the one hand an age of enlightenment and scientific advancement yet on the other was a time of incredible superstition and spreading of the occult.
The cover advertises the book as steampunk but there is scant little steampunk to be found here. Of the 17 stories I can only point to two of them that had steampunk elements incorporated into it. If you are going to promise me a ride on a steampunk express you had better deliver on that promise. It was here the book failed
That said the stories were very well written and they were a great collection of horror and ghost stories set in the Victorian era. They ranged from creepy to amusing and together makes a fine anthology.
If you are looking for a good horror anthology then this book is for you. if you have a taste for some steampunk you had best look elsewhere
1. Nick Gevers also edited "Extraordinary Engines," a fine steampunk anthology, and some of the same authors are in this anthology.
2. The Table of Contents included several other favorite writers, including James Morrow, Gene Wolfe, Robert Silverberg and Lucius Shepard.
3. I like supernatural fiction.
Overall, I enjoyed the book, although I sometimes see other Amazon reviewers' point that some of the stories contain the supernatural, but little or no science, steam-driven or otherwise.
There are more winners than losers. "Christopher Raven" by Theodora Goss was a typical ghost story, no extraneous science at all, but not painful to read. "The Grave Reflection" by Marly Youmans, featuring Nathaniel Hawthorne as a character, was a little long-winded, in the Hawthorne style, but more rewarding.
My favorite story in the anthology was probably the first, "The Iron Shroud" by James Morrow. It does involve ghosts of a sort, but also a couple pieces of steampunky science: an unbreakable substance that can be used to capture spirits as they depart the body, enclosing them in a malleable armor, giving them form and an afterlife on earth as "golems"; and the "science" of vibratology by which the golems' spirits might be freed. It neatly mixes the supernatural and scientific.
I also greatly enjoyed "The Curious Case of the Moondawn Daffodils Murder As Experienced by Sir Magnus Holmes and Almost-Doctor Susan Shrike" by Garth Nix. The Victorian Age was also the time of Sherlock Holmes, and this story introduces a cousin of Holmes who investigates supernatural crimes. Sequels (or a novel) seem, planned, and I look forward to them.Read more ›
The stand-out stories are the Laird Barron and Jeffrey Ford stories. Laird Barron's "Blackwood's Baby" is one of the best stories I've read, period. It's also the one that strays furthest from the anthologies theme of ghosts by gaslight, but it's that good that it can be forgiven. Terry Dowling, Gene Wolfe, and James Morrow also offer top-notch stories. The remaining stories are all quality, although I will say that the Theodora Goss and Margo Lanagan stories didn't work for me, but that may just be a matter of personal taste.
Overall, this is an anthology well worth getting if you're after a strong anthology with a SF/historical/supernatural bent.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This collection lives up to part of the promise in its subtitle; there is supernatural suspense aplenty, and this is its strength. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Lynette McClenaghan
Purchased for y daughter whoo has an interest in the steam punk fadPublished 15 months ago by Theresa
Laird Barron's Blackwood's Baby, a hunt story, misfires here. Shame because it's well written (as is most of Barron's work). Read morePublished 21 months ago by Etienne W Romganon
I just received this book a couple of nights ago, and I am delighted. This book contains a collections of extremely well-written, thoughtful, elegant ,and truly original short... Read morePublished on August 22, 2014 by PearlGirl
This collection of seventeen Steampunk ghost stories, one has mummies, is outstanding. The authors are representative of some of the best speculative fiction authors of our modern... Read morePublished on July 30, 2013 by Cornelia Amiri and Maeve Alpin
I don't know if I just wasn't in the mood or if I just hated the writing styles but I couldn't get more than half way into the second story. Read morePublished on March 21, 2013 by Rachael
I love the old Victorian era ghost stories so, decided Steampunk might be for me. I could not have chosen a better place to start. Read morePublished on February 10, 2013 by Lilith Amok
Lovers of the classic Victorian/Edwardian ghost story will find much to like in Ghosts by Gaslight, a generally excellent collection featuring names like Margo... Read more