Steampunk is a genre of possibilities. What would history look like if this or that is tweaked? Most often, this is addressed through the advent of technology or the removal of someone from the timeline.
The CLOCKWORK UNIVERSE: STEAMPUNK VS. ALIENS anthology goes one step further. They take a steampunk nineteenth century…and add aliens. Would Earth even recognize the threat? It’s a nod to industrialism… A high-five to technological advancement… And, above all, kudos to the genius of action-packed prose.
Highlights from the 14 short stories:
“Gracie’s Fire” by Leah Cutter: Four aliens walk into a bar…
“Quinta Essentia” by Bradley P. Beaulieu: The Avatar planet comes to us, and it’s not an net improvement for our species.
“A Clockwork Alien” by Gini Koch: Airships and alternate universes in the best taste of Koch’s Katherine “Kitty” Katt series.
“Heart of the Empire” by Jason Palmatier: An admiral with a steam-powered heart defends London (and its beautiful queen) from an alien invasion on his famous dirigible.
“The Red Queen and the White” by C. E. Pratt: Introducing a twice-blessed daughter of newsprint and student of alchemy, this tale takes the reader through love and despair to face down UFOs in the deserts of the Middle East.
“The Wizard of Woodro Park” by Jean Marie Ward: An avian alien wearing a human suit appears in an Old West town searching for a lost anthropologist from his species. Instead of what he expects, the avian finds a society with advanced technology, and integrated between men and women. Why? Because alien bureaucracy is as cut-throat as our own.
“Of War and Wings” by Tansy Rayner Roberts: Women have wings now, and a war to fight.
“Heart of Clockwork” by S. C. Butler: The steampunk version of the Navy’s Blue Angels square off in show and in combat against Jovian aliens.
“Lady Antheia’s Guide to Horticultural Warfare” by Seanan McGuire: A vege-alien eats a lady’s maid and records her memoirs of the destruction of Earth’s civilization for posterity.
With an introduction by Patricia Bray and shared editing credit with Joshua Palmatier, this SF anthology has even more reasons to be considered well-founded in science fiction. CLOCKWORK UNIVERSE is the first publishing effort of Zombies Need Brains, a new small press, and they raised funds for this project through a Kickstarter in which I took part. You can see the credits for all of the book’s backers on their website and in the eBook. Some of us who purchased tuckerizations even have our names and those of loved ones in the stories!
Publisher: Zombies Need Brains, LLC
Pub. Date: September 6, 2014