Title: Fixing Hanover
Author: Jeff VanderMeer
In: The Mammoth Book of Steampunk (Sean Wallace)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Easy reading, Steampunk
Format: Short story
5th sentence, 74th page: By the time I reached the Emperor, received his blessing and his sword, I had nothing to say; he found me more mute than any captive, his instrument once more.
The chief engineer of the Empire is hiding out in a sleepy coastal village. What will happen when they finally find him?
I’m kind of confused by this short story. Which, honestly, often happens when I read steampunk stories. There are so many layers to the worlds that are created in such a few words, and it becomes both an amazing world to dive into, and one which is almost impossible to actually understand. The fact that the narrators voice straddled two worlds (the Empire and the sleepy beach town) helped to add to this amazingly intricate and intriguing complexity.
The duality of the narrators’ past and present is further reflected (and enjoyed) in his description of Lady Salt and Rebecca. There is an acknowledgement that there are multi-faceted insights into a person’s persona. One that changes according to the role that they must play. The way that he interchanges her names highlights the different personalities which the alluring woman plays. Yet, it is her very last words that I really enjoyed and made this story so appealing. But, you’ll have to read it to find out what they were.
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