Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Steampunk Trails: Steaming Ahead to Adventure Paperback – September 18, 2013
If you buy a new print edition of this book (or purchased one in the past), you can buy the Kindle Edition for FREE. Print edition purchase must be sold by Amazon. Learn more.
For thousands of qualifying books, your past, present, and future print-edition purchases now lets you buy the Kindle edition for $2.99 or less. (Textbooks available for $9.99 or less.)
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Publisher David B. Riley says he spun this magazine off his Science Fiction Trails because of the increasing number of steampuk stories he saw, and this issue does have a pleasing majority of tales that use the American West as a setting rather than Victorian England or some mutated version of it.
A welcome number of writers from that older publication show up in this one. There's a column by Karl, the Dinosaur Sheriff aka Riley. Riley's own "The Big Green Orb", a pleasing mix of satire on rogue government operations and straight up humor, has the narrator, one of three Secret Service agents in California, investigating the sinking of some casino ships. Henrik Ramsager's "The Hatching of the Wolf Spider" is a new installment in his necromancer series; this one featuring a cyborg weapons project that goes bad. Lyn McConchie's "Lone Star Jackson-Outlaw" is another tale of mechanical menace, this one a mysterious train robber.
Steampunk of a feminist and political sort shows up in "The Company Men" from Vivian Caethe. Its heroine creaks across the dusty west on geared legs, heading toward the Island of California and hoping to be reunited with her lover who has gone before. Said Company Men pursue her. I liked the story but wished it would have gone a little deeper into the politics of the world rather than mostly settle for allegorically naming its menace things like the "Counts of Commerce" from the "Sodom of the East".
Racial matters show up in the alternate American Civil War of "Family Heirloom" by Quincy Allen. Grandpa Billy tells his granddaughter of the extraordinary Abigail Watson who freed him from slavery and made him a valued partner on her farm. While the technological development of this world seems improbably fast, the central invention of Grandpa Billy's was refreshingly realistic.
While the end of Sam Knight's and Rhye Manhatten's "Moshito Masquine" didn't quite emotionally work for me, it was logical and a nice wrap up to this tale of vampire hunting, land disputes, and prostitution in the Colorado of 1878.
Fear not if you like the English strain of steampunk. There are two London tales here. "Fade of the Innocent" from O. M. Grey has a hitman raising a girl he orphaned. It was another story that didn't quite ring true emotionally, but I still liked. "The Scarlet Derby and Midnight Jay" are a married, costumed crime fighting duo, but they're a funny one. In Mike Cervantes' tale, Midnight Jay gently guides her husband, a "genius" inventor, corrects his mistakes, and urges him on in his battle against Silas Monstrosity.
Not all the stories were flawless, but there wasn't a blah, disagreeable one in the batch. Throw in some articles on steampunk fashion by best-selling author Carrie Vaughn and a review of dog goggles, and you have promising start to this annual magazine.
J.A. Campbell has put together a very interesting, engaging and entertaining collection of stories that will have a little something for everyone's tastes. Each writer featured wrote a story that featured good dialog, fun plots, and some twisted action. Twisted is good, twisted is interesting. I love twisted stories. One of my new favorites was also featured - Carl, the dinosaur, who was also in Science Fiction Trails; a feature titled Carl's Corner (I hope I spelled it right, Karl vs Carl - I don't have the book right in front of me) where a dinosaur gives his opinion on the subject of the day, in this case how dragon's taste and who would win in a showdown.
Anthologies and story magazines are becoming a favored read of mine - it's good to be able to grab something to read and to read a short story that's full of "flavor". I'm looking forward to more issues of Steampunk Trails, which I'm sure will contain lots of good reading by many good authors.