Tag Archives: Genevieve Valentine

Things to Know About Being Dead by Genevieve Valentine

Overview
Image result for teeth ellen datlow terri windling book cover

Title: Things to Know about Being Dead
Author: Genevieve Valentine
In: Teeth: Vampire Tales (Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Paranormal fantasy, Urban fantasyVampires
Dates read: 7th February 2021
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Harper
Year: 2011
5th sentence, 74th page: I tried to speak, but my throat was too dry; I lay quietly as she smoothed her fingers over my shoulders, my neck, the backs of my arms.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

It’s not so fun being dead. But there are certain things that you should know…

Thoughts

There is something about Genevieve Valentine’s short stories that always make me smile. And this was no exception. Starting with a death, and then including anecdotes, lists and all sorts of other fun nonsense. I just smiled all the way throughout this short story. The fact that it is the opening story in a collection of vampire stories… well, that made it all that much better!

In all of the vampire books and stories that I’ve read, there hasn’t been much of a humorous aside in what it means to get used to being dead. A few have touched upon the adjustments that the characters have to make. And they’ve even sometimes touched upon the negatives, but mostly, it’s a “look at all the things I’ve gained” approach. This didn’t really do it. It didn’t place becoming dead as a negative endeavour either, just one with a steep learning curve.

There seem to be a lot of teenage vampire stories in the literature. It’s a bit of a trope that sometimes irritates me. But, the way that Valentine deals with this in her story was… not irritating. It was funny and light. And almost felt like it was pulling fun at the trope that can be a little bit overdone…

<- TeethAll Smiles ->

Image source: HarperCollins

The Mammoth Book of Dieselpunk edited by Sean Wallace

Overview
Image result for the mammoth book of dieselpunk book cover

Title: The Mammoth Book of Dieselpunk
Author: Sean Wallace, Jay Lake, Shannon Page, Carrie Vaughn, Anatoly Belilovsky, E. Catherine Tobler, Jeremiah Tolbert, Brian Trent, Rachel Nussbaum, Trent Hergenrader, Gwynne Garfinkle, Genevieve Valentine, Joseph Ng, A.C. Wise, Kim Lakin-Smith, Nick Mamatas, Costi Gurgu, Tony Pi, Cirilo S. Lemos, Erin M. Hartshorn, Dan Rabarts, Mark Robert Philips, Catherine Schaff-Stump & Laurie Tom
Series: Mammoth Books
In: The Mammoth Book of Dieselpunk (Sean Wallace)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Dieselpunk, Science fiction, Short story collections
Dates read: 18th March 2019 – 25th March 2020
Pace: Slow
Format: Anthology
Publisher: Robinson
Year: 2015
5th sentence, 74th page: The gremlins will be inside everything given long enough and they just want out.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
Synopsis

21 tales of anarchic diesel mayhem. 88 From multiple Hugo Award-winning editor Sean Wallace, a new, cutting-edge anthology of twenty-one vibrant stories that explore the possibilities of history, while sweeping readers into high-powered, hydrocarbon-fuelled adventures that merge elements of noir, pulp, and the past with the technology of today… and sometimes a dash of the occult.

Journey into an era when engines were huge, fuel was plentiful and cheap, and steel and chrome overlaid the grit and grease of powerful machines!

Includes stories by Erin Hartshorn, Trent Hergenrader, Tony Pi, Catherine Schaff-Stump, E. Catherine Tobler, Jeremiah Tolbert, Laurie Tom, Genevieve Valentine, A. C. Wise and many more.

Thoughts

I’ve recently started to thoroughly enjoy steampunk. But this was my first excursion into Dieselpunk. And what an excellent introduction this proved to be! I was enthralled, mystified and totally sunk into some of the stories in this collection. And although it might not be my favourite collection of short stories… it certainly ranks up there.

I found this collection a lot darker than steampunk collections. There is just something about Dieselpunk that is a little more critical, and a little less optimistic than steampunk. Or at least, that’s how I’m finding it. Not that that was a bad thing, but this was certainly a darker collection than the steampunk collections and novels that have been filling my shelves lately.

As much as I loved these short stories, I did take a long time to read this collection. Mostly because I had to be in a pretty specific mindset to actually read them. There is something a little less approachable and more intense about this genre that I both loved and also found a little hard to factor into my daily reading schedules.

<- The Mammoth Book of Dickensian WhodunnitsRolling Steel: A Pre-Apocalyptic Love Story ->

Image source: Running Press

This Evening’s Performance by Genevieve Valentine

Overview
Image result for the mammoth book of dieselpunk book cover

Title: This Evening’s Performance
Author: Genevieve Valentine
In: The Mammoth Book of Dieselpunk (Sean Wallace)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: DieselpunkRomance
Dates read: 6th January 2020
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Robinson
Year: 2015
5th sentence, 74th page: Two minutes of pre-recorded audio from the play.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
Synopsis

He’s loved her from afar for decades. Now, they’re the last three actors left in a world of automaton shows. How will they find their happily ever after at the end of an era?

Thoughts

There was something so tragic and bittersweet about this story. Yet, by the end of it… kind of hopeful too. I don’t normally consider short stories and, in particular, Dieselpunk stories to be romantic. But there is something about this one that felt incredibly… well… romantic. There is no kissing, no sexuality and just the hint of something throughout. But it was quite possibly one of the sweetest books I’ve read in a long time.

There is a constant fear in society of our roles being replaced by robots. And what happens to those that are replaced? In this short story, it’s actors that are replaced. Something which I, personally can’t imagine, but does work brilliantly well into the themes of Dieselpunk. It set against a marriage breaking up, and the promising hints of a new love (which is actually super old) beginning. This whole end of an era feel helps to lead to that bittersweet, intense feeling.

This story is somehow sad and hopeful. It left me feeling melancholy, yet quite happy as I turned the final page. Feelings that I don’t always feel at the conclusion to a story and definitely don’t feel for the exact same tale.

<- In Lieu of a Thank YouInto the Sky ->

Image source: Running Press

Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells edited by Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling

Overview
Image result for queen victoria's book of spells ellen datlow book cover

Title: Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells
Author: Ellen Datlow, Terri Windling, Delia Sherman, Jeffrey Ford, Genevieve Valentine, Maureen McHugh, Kathe Koja, Elizabeth Wein, Elizabeth Bear, James P. Blaylock, Kaaron Warren, Leanna Renee Hieber, Dale Bailey, Veronica Schanoes, Catherynne M. Valente, Ellen Kushner, Caroline Stevermer, Jane Yolen, Gregory Maguire, Tanith Lee & Theodora Goss
In: Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells (Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Fantasy, GaslampShort story collections
Dates read: 8th June – 6th November 2019
Pace: Slow
Format: Anthology
Publisher: Tor
Year: 2013
5th sentence, 74th page: The sisters and I said nothing to one another, as I speak no German and they no English, but we watched the flames together until they seemed satisfied and departed, I know not where.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
Synopsis

Gaslamp fantasy, or historical fantasy set in a magical version of the nineteenth century, has long been popular with readers and writers alike. Many wonderful novels, such as Stardust by Neil Gaiman, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke, and The Prestige by Christopher Priest, ower their inspiration to works by nineteenth-century writers, including Jane Austen, the Brontes, Charles Dickens, and Anthony Trollope. And, of course, the entire steampunk genre and subculture owes more than a little to literature from and inspired by this period.

Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells is an anthology for everyone who loves neo-Victorian fiction and modern fantasists using vintage settings, characters, and themes. Their approaches stretch from steampunk fiction to the Austen- and Trollope- inspired works known as fantasy of manners. The result is eighteen stories by experts from the fantasy, horror, main-stream, and young-adult fields, including both bestselling writers and exciting new talents, who present a bewitching vision of a nineteenth century enhance (or cursed!) with magic.

Thoughts

This is an absolutely brilliant collection. One that I didn’t want to put down and introduced me to a whole new genre. It’s my first ever Gaslamp collection, and although I found some of the stories throughout a little weird and intense… I also loved the vast majority of them. Enough so that I plan to read this again and again in the future.

I was expecting a pretty simple and balanced collection. I really wasn’t expecting such a convoluted and twisted set of stories. But, as I’ve often found in life, it’s those unexpected surprises are the best and most exciting aspects of life. They’re the moments that you don’t want to forget because they were unplanned. And this anthology kind of felt like that.

I tend to read a lot of short stories late at night. Or when I’m just needing a quick little break from the many complexities of my PhD. This is not the collection that does that for me. It’s seriously intense, completely unexpected and very full on. The kind of short stories that you want to read when you have your concentrating brain working… not when it’s late at night and you just want some easy entertainment…

 <- Poe ReviewQueen Victoria’s Book of Spells Review ->
Image source: Amazon

From the Catalogue of the Pavilion of the Uncanny and Marvellous, Scheduled for Premiere at the Great Exhibition (Before the Fire) by Genevieve Valentine

Overview
Image result for queen victoria's book of spells ellen datlow book cover

Title: From the Catalogue of the Pavilion of the Uncanny and Marvellous, Scheduled for Premiere at the Great Exhibition (Before the Fire)
Author: Genevieve Valentine
In: Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells (Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling)
Rating Out of 5: 3.5 (Liked this)
My Bookshelves: Fantasy, GaslampWordplay
Dates read: 4th July 2019
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Tor
Year: 2013
5th sentence, 74th page: Even with the losses, however, the Exhibition turned enough profit to finance construction of the Victoria and Albert Museum itself.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
Synopsis

A collection of notes, letters and quotes that tell of the Pavilion of the Uncanny and Marvellous.

Thoughts

This was a bit of a weird read. Not in a horrifying or negative manner, but in a, I’m going to read this again and again to see what pops out. It’s fascinating, fun and a perfect mix of reality and fantasy. The unique structure of this story is what I love the most about this story though. It is different, fun and gives an entirely different flow to the storyline than any other short story that I have read recently.

There aren’t many stories that I struggle to see the overarching storyline… a mass of exposure tends to make things more and more predictable. But, because this short story has such a unique and completely alien format to what I’m used to, I’m still not sure I’ve fully grasped what was happening. Which I loved. It not only means that this is a story I’ll enjoy reading again, it was also a challenge. And who doesn’t love a good challenge?

 <- The Fairy Enterprise ReviewThe Memory Book Review ->
Image source: Amazon

Mad Hatters and March Hares edited by Ellen Datlow

Overview
Image result for mad hatters and march hares ellen datlow book cover

Title: Mad Hatters and March Hares
Author: Ellen Datlow, Kris Dikeman, Delia Sherman, C. S. E. Cooney, Jane Yolen, Priya Sharma, Richard Bowes, Stephen Graham Jones, Jeffrey Ford, Angela Slatter, Matthew Kressel, Seanan McGuire, Andy Duncan, Kaaron Warren, Ysabeau S. Wilce, Genevieve Valentine, Catherynne M. Valente & Katherine Vaz
In: Mad Hatters and March Hares (Ellen Datlow)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Retellings, Short story collections, Wordplay
Dates read: 22nd December 2018 – 29th March 2019
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Tor
Year: 2017
5th sentence, 74th page: Beyond it were the cells.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
Synopsis

From Master Anthologist Ellen Datlow comes an all-original book of weird tales inspired by the strangeness of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There.

Between the hallucinogenic, weird, imaginative wordplay and the brilliant mathematical puzzles and social satire, Alice has been read, enjoyed, and savored by every generation since its publication. Datlow asked seventeen of the most brilliant and acclaimed writers working today to dream up stories inspired by all the strange events and surreal characters found in Wonderland.

Thoughts

I began my obsession with Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in childhood, but kind of forgot about it until the last year – when I finally got around to reading the original story! And then my obsession began to take a bit of a turn for the… well, obsessive… so I bought this collection as soon as I found it. And opened the page within days of receiving it.

This collection takes all of the many aspects of Alice in Wonderland and turns them around and around until your dizzy. From cute poems, to horrific ideals about Alis and retellings of particular aspects of the original. This collection of short stories and poems has it all. And it is just impossible to put down!

My only piece of advice with this amazing collection is to maybe not read these tales when you’ve been drinking. I tried a few times and it just makes you feel incredibly tripped out. And confused. And just not really sure where reality is situated… kind of like the original.

 <- Children of the Fang ReviewGentle Alice Review ->
Image source: Bookdepository

The Mammoth Book of Steampunk edited by Sean Wallace

Overview
The Mammoth Book of Steampunk

Title: The Mammoth Book of Steampunk
Author: Sean Wallace, Ekaterina Sedia, Jeff VanderMeer, Caitlin R. Kiernan, E. Catherine Tobler, Jay Lake, Genevieve Valentine, Cat Rambo, Shweta Narayan, Aliette de Bodard, N.K. Jemisin, Peter M. Ball, Sharon Mock, Catherynne M. Valente, Alex Dally MacFarlane, Eileen Gunn, Michael Swanwick, Tobias S. Buckell, Matthew Kressel, Margo Lanagan, Amal El-Mohtar, Barth Anderson, Jeffrey Ford, James Morrow, Cherie Priest, Margaret Ronald, Megan Arkenberg, Benjamin Rosenbaum, Mary Robinette Kowal, Samantha Henderson, Nick Mamatas, Nicole Kornher-Stace & Lavie Tidhar
Series: Mammoth Books
In: The Mammoth Book of Steampunk (Sean Wallace)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Short story collections, Steampunk
Dates read: 3rd October 2018 – 6th March 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Anthology
Publisher: Robinson
Year: 2008
5th sentence, 74th page: He was in his library, or so he called it, a small room that smelled of pipe tobacco and old leather, so close that one could barely breathe.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
Synopsis

30 anarchic mash-ups of past and future that push the boundaries of steampunk.

Great steampunk stories confront an uneasy history of oppression – of women, other ‘races’ and classes – and the abuse of science, by reimagining the past. The writers represented in this outsatnding collection look to the future through the lens of the past, imagining worlds in which technology is used to uplift rather than to oppress.

Thoughts

I’ve only recently gotten involved in steampunk. It’s a genre that I only started reading late last year and one that I kind of love. Although, as I discovered with this collection of short stories, it is also a genre that I have to concentrate a little more to read (unlike genre such as romance).

This anthology runs the gambit of steampunk stories and brings a number of themes, styles and settings to life. It is a perfect way to completely disappear from the world after a long day. Although, with many of the themes, once you have finished the story you are thrown back into reality ten times more heavily than you were before. After all, most of these stories have a great commentary about the world that we live in today.

From capitalism to feminist movements, every major issue and discussion that seems to be occurring in modern society is touched upon in this collection. Yet, these aren’t all serious commentaries on the world. Some of the stories are kind of hilarious, and some are downright weird. The one thing that they all have in common is that they are thoroughly enjoyable and have helped to give me a new addiction.

 <- The Traitor ReviewSteampunk: Looking to the Future Through the Lens of the Past Review ->
Image source: Amazon

A Comfort, One Way by Genevieve Valentine

Overview
Image result for mad hatters and march hares ellen datlow book cover

Title: A Comfort, One Way
Author: Genevieve Valentine
In: Mad Hatters and March Hares (Ellen Datlow)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Easy reading, Wordplay
Dates read: 12th March 2019
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Tor
Year: 2017
5th sentence, 74th page: Mary Anns show up at the door a little sooner; they don’t eat cakes and cordials that are just lying around.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
Synopsis

We all know what happens to Alice, but what about the girls who are left behind? What about the duchess?

Thoughts

I loved the idea of a Mary Ann in the Alice world. This idea that every young girl who enters the world of Wonderland is a Mary Ann or an Alice and that there are defining moments which classify them as one or the other. It gives a great alternate point of view to the world which is a little less rushed and insane, and a little calmer and more deeply thought out.

I’ve never really thought much about the duchess in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. She’s just yet another quite absurd and, well, creepy character that shows up in this calamity of crazy. But, now when I reread it, I’m going to pay far more attention to this one moment. After all, the backstory that this short tale provides makes me think about her in a whole new light.

 <- The Queen of Hats ReviewThe Flame After the Candle Review ->
Image source: Bookdepository

The Zeppelin Conductors’ Society Annual Gentlemen’s Ball by Genevieve Valentine

Overview

The Mammoth Book of SteampunkTitle: The Zeppelin Conductors’ Society Annual Gentlemen’s Ball
Author: Genevieve Valentine
In: The Mammoth Book of Steampunk (Sean Wallace)
Rating Out of 5: 3 (On the fence about this one)
My Bookshelves: ContemporarySteampunk
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Robinson
Year: 2010
5th sentence, 74th page: God, when we realized what was happening to us!

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

The conductors of the Zeppelins are slightly malformed and grotesque, but that doesn’t stop them from having their own lives and realities.

Thoughts

Never judge a book by it’s cover. And never make assumptions on a person based on how they look. That’s the message that overwhelmingly resonates with me after reading this short story.

Alright, the tale is set in a steampunk world. With conductors and zeppelins and all sorts of incredible world building. But it is written from “the other” and that gives an extra bit of oomph and zing to the idea that no matter how terrible someone may look, you should never judge them for that and always find a way to move past how someone looks.

Acceptance. That is the one word that stands out in this story and the one word that helps to sum it up.

 <- Tom Edison and his Amazing Telegraphic Harpoon Review Clockwork Fairies Review ->
Image source: Amazon