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BOOK REVIEW:

Queen Victoria's book of spells : an anthology of Gaslamp fantasy

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SS

Steampunk, the sub-genre of science fiction set primarily in the 19th century and featuring fantastic, often steam-powered, technologies with a Victorian flare, has been steadily growing in popularity over the last two decades. But what if you are more of a fantasy reader than a sci-fi reader? Well, prolific editors Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling have just the collection for you: Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells. Within this book, Datlow and Windling have gathered a marvelous collection of all new Victorian tinged fantasy stories (a new fantasy sub-genre referred to as gaslamp fantasy) by some of the genre’s best authors. Of particular note within the collection are: "Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells" by Delia Sherman: when a contemporary researcher attempts to uncover some of the Queen’s most guarded secrets he gets more than he bargained for in the process. "The Fairy Enterprise" by Jeffrey Ford: an unscrupulous entrepreneur believes he has come up with a foolproof and profitable plan for a new industry: grow fairies and sell them to the public. "Smithfield" by James P. Blaylock: a photographer attempting to photograph London before the newly installed electric lights are activated discovers something extraordinary. (Be sure to read the author’s note after the story, it is as enjoyable and thought provoking as the story it follows!) "Phosphorus" by Veronica Schanoes: a touching and horrifying story that illuminates the London not typically seen in steampunk/gaslamp fiction. "Their Monstrous Minds" by Tannith Lee: a reclusive scientist dabbles in realms better left to the gods with both expected and surprising results. In addition to editing the collection, Terri Windling provides a wonderful introduction to the collection by providing the reader insights into the Victorian age and its fascination with the supernatural, and how that fascination seems to be manifesting itself again in our contemporary culture. There is also a list of recommended reading at the end of the collection. Datlow and Windling have been editing must-read collections of fairy tales, fantasy, horror and science fiction short fantasy for over 20 years.

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