The term "steampunk" has come to intimate a subgenre of work set in a fantastic 19th century characterized by the inhumanity wrought by bogus science and a fanatical embrace of scientific method. Di Filippo's first book is a collection of three novellas that jumbles science and pseudoscience into an interesting, if not always completely successful, melange. The narratives are united not only by their reliance on the occult?mysticism dominates "Walt and Emily" while Lovecraft's monsters appear in the previously published "Hottentots"?but also by their focus on female sexuality. "Victoria" replaces the Queen of England with a licentious salamander, while "Walt and Emily" features a robust poetic encounter between Ms. Dickinson and Mr. Whitman. Even the weakest of the pieces here?"Hottentots," in which nothing is learned while much credulity is stretched?features amusing faux-Victorian prose worthy of Anne Rice ("Like a Maine sawmill, like an asthmatic platypus... like a Michigan beaver... uneasily winter-dreaming of Ojibway hunters led by a wild Chief Snapping Turtle, Mister Dogberry roughly rasped and snorted through the night, making it nigh impossible for Agassiz to get any rest") and enough "scientific" pasquinades to satisfy the Luddite in anyone.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.