Title: Vast Wings Across Felonious Skies
Author: E. Catherine Tobler
In: The Mammoth Book of Dieselpunk (Sean Wallace)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Dieselpunk, War
Dates read: 8th April 2019
Format: Short story
5th sentence, 74th page: “Hold together, baby,” she whispered as if those words had become part of the ritual.
Sakura is a pilot in the war, but when she gets sucked up into a mysterious cloud, she finds herself fighting something she had never imagined. Now an “alien” under suspicion, it might take all of her skills and courage to defeat this unknown opponent.
The street that I grew up on is, surprisingly an old army camp. And in World War II, it was the place where they kept the “aliens”. Which has kind of left me with a bit of a fascination with the imprisonment of people of specific nationalities during the War. So I was kind of immediately drawn into this short story. Not only did it feature a woman pilot, weird aliens and a bit of conspiracy, but it also talked about the experiences of people who were imprisoned for their heritage.
I’m fairly new to the Steampunk and Dieselpunk subgenres, but I was kind of surprised to read one such tale that aliens in it. There were a few in The Mammoth Book of Steampunk that had a similar feeling, but this was still a storyline and tale that really took me by surprise. In all the best ways possible. The creepiness of being abducted in the sky and then attacked by what seemed to me like hollow men was quite intense. And the imagery invoked by Tobler lingered long after I turned the last page of this story. It’s definitely one that I would suggest anyone who is even slightly fascinated by Dieselpunk sink their teeth into.