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).
I kind of found it fitting that The Mammoth Book of Steampunk ended with a story called The Last Ballad. And that it talked about epic adventures by two best friends (who happen to be a dog and a spider) as they sail off into the sunset. An incredibly fitting ending to a very intense collection of stories.
I really liked this short story. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect with it… but the idea of a woman in a position of power constantly trying to protect her son drew me in immediately. Especially when it was obvious that she is exhausted and almost just existing for her child.
I enjoyed the fact that this short story was split into a series of almost interconnected chapters and stories. They create one long journey, but they also have a series of smaller moments that can be read independently of one another. I don’t often enjoy chapters (and so many chapters) in a short story. But Mamatas worked this perfectly and I almost found it more difficult to put the story down because of the stop-start flow of the tale.
It took me a little longer than I would have liked to really click as to what this story was even about. Although, a lot of that is probably because of the fact that I was trying to watch someone play Far Cry whilst also reading a steampunk story… not a combination that really works surprisingly.
There was quite a bit of jealousy in this short story. Jealousy of another’s position, but also a little bit of frustration in not accepting the different benefits that one has. For the chickadee, being constantly on the ground allows her to see the world from an entirely different perspective from that of the sparrow who constantly flies.
Biographical Notes to “A Discourse on the Nature of Causality, with Air-places” by Benjamin Rosenbaum
To be honest, I’m not all too sure what actually happened in this short story. I vaguely followed along with the storyline, but actually figuring out completely what was going on… I’m really not sure. Unlike the other steampunk short stories that I’ve read, this one didn’t seem to have a clear message in the vagueness of the storyline either.
I’ve never had the soul wrenching experience of losing someone who I dearly love. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve lost grandparents and in-laws. But I’ve not lost my partner, I’ve not lost the person I love most in all of the world. And I honestly can’t even begin to fathom what kind of pain that is. So a beautiful little story about two people struggling with that loss and trying to find a way to move on.
This was a slightly easier read for a steampunk short story than what I have been immersing myself in lately. Or maybe I was just a little more awake and lucid…
When I finally sat down to write this review a few days after finishing Reluctance, it took me a little while to recall what it was about. It isn’t one of those stories that glaringly sits in my mind. And that’s mostly because it was just a fun and easy read. It’s very good, but it’s not the sort of story that I usually read, and, unlike many of the other books in this collection, it didn’t have an overwhelming message that I took away when I’d turned the last page.