“The Best of Penny Dread Tales,” or, “why is there never a nuclear boiler in the steampunk airship“
Yet another anthology! I’m on a roll.
Oh, we’re off to a good start here. I wasn’t expecting to leap into the land of the fae, but here we are.
“The Dirges of Percival Lewand”
“The Tunnel Rat’s Journey”
J. M. Franklin
Futuristic steampunk! An interesting twist, and one of the more hopeful bits of post-apocalyptic fiction I’ve ever read. I like it.
“The Cutpurse from Mulberry Bend”
Short and sad.
“The Great Dinosaur Roundup of 1903”
Traveling through time turns out to be loud and flashy but not as uncomfortable as you might think.
Told as a letter from, basically, a background character in an Atomic Robo flashback sequence.
Well that’s a rough life, my guy.
“Lasater’s Lucky Left”
Quincy J. Allen
I’m gonna be honest, I was kinda hoping this would turn into a horrid romance noel halfway through. The sequel’s still got room for that, though, so I’ll hold out hope.
“Sinking to the Level of Demons”
Well, that got dark.
“The Noonday Sun”
An exoskeleton-wearing monster hunter, clearing out the Wild West.
If you’re claustrophobic, don’t read this one.
“Today, the Sun Sets in the East”
Peter J. Wacks
Another good story that I’d like to read more of. Tiger is an interesting character, as is Hummingbird.
“The Weather God”
David W. Landrum
Well that war went a bit differently than the British expected, I’d say.
“The Spirit of the Grift”
A portable X-ray, I think? I wish we had more stories of grifters using some sort of advanced technology to pull it off.
“The Heart of Appricotta”
With a salute, punctuated by a word that sounded like a punch to the stomach in Yiddish, the assembled tossed the raft in the river.
It’s a comedy in a style I’d describe as “British Imperial Braggadocio,” which isn’t exactly to my taste, but a couple lines (the one above, for example) got a laugh out of me.1
“Budapest Will Burn”
Jonathan D. Beer
Why do anthologies end on such weird notes? I’d rather have them end on something happy, which this could be if you squint, but it’s a Pyrrhic victory at best.
Nonetheless, this was another good collection of stories that I’m comfortable recommending. Give it a read.
Another good one:
In my panic I struggled to remember precisely what the five stages of grief were supposed to be, so I experienced denial, anger, gassiness, and that strange confusion you get when you feel you’ve left a door unlocked before finally achieving acceptance.