Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Black Cat”: A Halloween Movie Marathon

October 29, 2014
The Black Cat by Aubrey Beardsley

The Black Cat by Aubrey Beardsley

October, the time of year when horror enthusiasts get to proudly fly their colors without fear of being labeled a freak, weirdo or sociopath, when bookstores and box offices, not to mention, the internet, collectively cash in on pop cultures annual thirst for the macabre. For fiction fiends like myself, it’s a time to gleefully indulge in favorite tales of the uncanny and the unmentionable. For most of us, one medium reigns supreme when it comes to the horror: film.

But what movie(s) do you choose to help you ring in All Hallows Eve? If you’re like me and you celebrate horror cinema in all its incarnations. To help us sift through the choices we can turn back to literature for just a moment. Perhaps no author was did more to lay the groundwork for the horror fiction that would come in the following centuries than Edgar Allan Poe. His stories, which often revolved around themes of obsession and guilt, two universal human experiences that, forced readers to readers to identify with that terrifying grey area at the edge of sanity. One tale in particular, “The Black Cat,” deftly plays those two experiences off one another. In the story (spoilers), the narrator becomes obsessed with his and wife’s black cat. After harming it in a drunken furor, his guilt only adds to his obsession, until he finally kills it. Despite his best efforts, the narrator’s guilt remains, until he finds a nearly identical cat as a replacement, but, obsessed with the white spot of fur on the new cat that he believes depicts the method of execution used to kill its predecessor, the narrator eventually reverts to his former madness. In an attempt to kill feline number 2, he mistakenly kills his wife. He hides his murdered wife’s corpse in behind a false wall in his basement, and believes he’s gotten away with it, until that pesky cat, accidentally boarded up with her, gives him away.

This outrageous, but downright effective story has been adapted into film time and time again. The results are admittedly mixed, and rarely faithful but when they’re good, they’re some of the best moments in horror film history. So I submit today my Halloween recommendation: The Black Cat Marathon!

1) The Black Cat (1934), starring Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff, directed by Edgar G. Ulmer, and produced by Universal Studios.

Lugosi in The Black Cat (1932)

Lugosi in The Black Cat (1932)

It’s important to get this disclaimer out of the way: this adaptation is very loose, so loose, in fact that the normal “based on a story by…” only reads “suggested by a story by…” It does, however, have guilt and obsession in spades.

This gothic horror with a modernist veneer features horror legends Lugosi and Karloff, both in their respective primes. Lugosi plays a Hungarian psychiatrist who, after 15 years in a prison camp plans to confront his old friend, an Austrian architect played by Karloff. Lugosi accuses Karloff of wartime indiscretions, but more importantly of stealing his wife, Karen, while he was imprisoned. The ubiquitous presence of Karloff’s black cat in his otherwise hyper-modern mansion sets off Lugosi’s irrational Ailurophobia. It is the only literal nod to the Poe story, but more importantly, it serves to foreshadow the evil secrets hidden in the house.

The climax is still chill inducing today and one can only imagine how it was received at the time. It’s no surprise that it was Universal’s biggest money-maker of the year. This early adaptation is a true horror classic and a must see for any fan of classic movies.

Price and Lorre from Tales of Terror (1962)

Price and Lorre from Tales of Terror (1962)

2) Edgar Allan Poe’s Tales of Terror – segment: “The Black Cat” (1962), starring Vincent Price and Peter Lorre, directed by Roger Corman, and produced by American International Pictures.

This segment from the class Corman anthology Tales of Terror is my favorite Roger Corman film, my favorite Peter Lorre film, and my favorite Vincent Price film. In some ways it’s the most faithful adaptation on this list, even though it essentially fuses “The Black Cat” with Poe’s other classic boarded-up-body yarn, “The Cask of Amontillado.”

Lorre’s character is a drunk who is constantly stealing booze money from his poor wife. One evening, out of cash, but in need of the bottle, Lorre stumbles on a creative solution: a wine tasting competition. There he meets Price’s character, a wine aficionado and dandy extraordinaire. The two end up getting along surprisingly well, but when Price walks Lorre home, the latter’s neglected wife quickly turns to Price, the sophisticated gentlemen, for the affection her lush of a husband has denying her. Lorre eventually gets wise to his wife’s infidelity, and, well, given the source material, you can guess where the narrative goes.

The real joy of this film is the marvelous chemistry between Lorre and Price. It’s a high point for both actors so late in their respective careers and I never get tired of watching it!

3) Two Evil Eyes – segment: “The Black Cat” (1990), directed by Dario Argento, starring Harvey Keitel and Madeleine Potter, and produced by ADC films.

A vicious black cat from Two Evil eyes (1990)

A vicious black cat from Two Evil eyes (1990)

Two Evil Eyes is a joint tribute to Poe from horror masters Dario Argento and George Romero. Romero’s segment is an adaptation of “The Facts in the Case of Mr. Valdemar,” which is a fun zombie/hypnotism film in its own right, but Argento’s segment is the one filled with the gore and excess that the pair of director’s evoke.

“The Black Cat” may not be Argento’s finest work, but it delivers on of the director’s trademark sensationalism and violence in a way that his later work mostly failed to do. It jams Poe’s story into a modern setting and faithfully recreate’s certain aspects of the source material, while diverging widely from others.

Harvey Keitel stars as the disturbed, alcoholic protagonist. He is a crime scene photographer who is far more comfortable in the seedy underbelly of Pittsburg than he is in the realm of domesticity. Keitel plays this role well. Essentially, the film is about the escalation of madness until it crescendos in a sequence of events that is every bit is mad as the finales of Argento’s classics of the 70s and 80s.

There you have it, one classic horror story that leaves a trail of guilt and obsession through golden age of the 1930s, the baroque gothic of the 1960s, and the excessive sensationalism of the 1990s. These are my picks, what will you be watching this Halloween?

Extra credit for the Italian horror fans: If late era Argento isn’t enough for you, there is a Lucio Fulci adaptation from 1981. The movie came out right smack in the middle of Fulci’s gore period, but never reached the cult status of films like City of the Living Dead or House by the Cemetery. I might have included it in this list, except it’s been some time since I’ve watched and don’t remember all that much about it. As I write this, however, it is starting to taunt me from the DVD shelf, maybe it’s time for a re-watch


Cathartic Retribution in Milligan and Fernandez’ The Names

September 10, 2014

names

The Names

Writer: Peter Milligan

Artist: Leandro Fernandez

Vertigo Comics

The Names opens in an executive office on the top floor of a Wall Street skyscraper. Its the type of place that evokes the shady back-room deals and reckless behavior that have come to characterize the American financial system of our collective consciousness. However, we’ve walked in on a scene that even that image hasn’t prepared us for: Kevin Walker, a hapless investment banker, is instructed to scrawl out a suicide note to his wife, before being forced by a maniacally grinning superior to leap to his death from a 51st story window. The picture it paints is unequivocal: Wall Street puppet-masters are an evil lot and you and I are helpless in the face of their whimsical greed.

            I’m usually put-off by such black and white representations of good vs. evil. Reductive as this dichotomy may be (I think the more accurate picture is an industry full of self-serving, and not always terribly bright, sycophants and opportunists who run amok thanks to governmental complacency and fear), the fact remains that these are the people whose reckless and irresponsible behavior led to some pretty widespread misery and unemployment, and who saw virtually butkus in the way of consequences. It does leave one yearning for some sense that comeuppance has been served. In Lieu of any real world closure, Peter Milligan and Leandro Fernandez have stepped in to provide some fictional catharsis, and you know what? It feels pretty damn good.

            In The Names, it’s the victim’s widowed wife, Katya, who strikes out for revenge. Katya, is young, beautiful, and athletic, she knows that the suicide story doesn’t add up; and furthermore, she can take care of herself. It’s not hard to see where this one is going: a proper revenge story, wherein the heroin will not rest until she kills everyone who wronged her.

            Despite the cut-and-dried premise, the story is more complex than meets the eye. Contrary to the overused notion of the Wall Street trophy wife, Katya’s relationship to her husband was by all indications, intimate and sincere. It’s hinted that they shared a significant experience in the past that I expect will be explored in future issues, but for now the mystery is compelling. Katya’s other primary relationship is rockier. Her step-son is a selectively mute math-wiz, and its clear that she will have to bridge that gap that’s grown between them before any real closure can be had.

            Meanwhile, the villainous traders have another foe to deal with in the enigmatic group of high-frequency traders referred to enigmatically as “the dark loops” who are slowly chipping away at their profit margins. The role they will play in the larger story is still yet to be seen, but the implied old-guard vs. new-guard narrative lends an added layer of depth that has me hooked.

            Fernandez’ art plays a crucial role in balancing the more outlandish and operatic elements of the comic with its subtle emotional relevance. His villains are pure hyperbolized evil – impossibly wide, toothy grins, grotesque features, wildly exaggerated gestures, but when the script calls for a deeply emotive expression, he can shift on a dime. In the moment when Walker realizes there is no way to escape his fate, and when Katya views his body in the morgue, and her stoicism breaks, just for a second, Fernandez’ art has the effect of stopping time momentarily. He forces the reader to dwell on the personal human elements of what is, at other times, a pretty baroque narrative.

            The Names is an 8 part maxi-series, and if issue #1 is any indication, readers who get on board now are in for a wild ride.


Building Worlds with Cello Strings: A Review of Unwoman’s Circling

August 25, 2014

circlingThe new album from cellist/singer/songwriter, Unwoman, was released late last month. I got it a few weeks early for backing the Kickstarter, and I haven’t stopped listening to it since the download showed up in my inbox. A few months earlier I wrote a piece plugging the album’s Kickstarter campaign. I had a lot to say about the qualities that make Unwoman (Erica Mulkey) a quintessential steampunk artist, transcending the purely aesthetic trappings of the genre.

The things I wrote about Unwoman then (anachronisms juxtaposed with the DIY ethos of the digital music landscape) continue to apply to her latest record, Circling. However, something I was trying to do in that piece was to define steampunk music in a way that was distinct from, yet consistent with, steampunk literature. Ironically, after many repeat listenings of Circling, I am struck by how much of the power of Unwoman’s music can be located in her talent for storytelling.

Ok, maybe storytelling isn’t exactly the right word – it implies a beginning, middle, and end, flowing along something resembling a linear narrative. As the album title suggests, Unwoman is rarely interested in the resolution, but instead focuses on characters caught in those tantalizing circles of uncertainty.

Take, for example, the hypnotically baroque “I could have killed the king.” The song takes the point of view of a would be assassin, who instead of murdering the king, has become his mistress. The lyrics take the form of the protagonist’s internal struggle to reconcile the promise of a life of leisure with her compromised values: “but our hope that this kingdom / could have been all of ours seems a delusion / and to be a royal concubine may be my best option / he covers me with kisses, tells me what a lucky girl I am / to use my only power to destroy / or to be power’s toy.”

In contrast to Unwoman’s previous record, The Fires I started, which was characterized by abrupt percussive anthems, the compositions on Circling tend towards winding melodies that rise and fall, echoing the protagonists’ indecisive and often paradoxical dilemmas. The result is a tangible sense not only of character, but also setting and atmosphere. So rather than storytelling, let’s call it world building, not a perfect description of what Unwoman does, but I think it captures much of the effect. No matter how finite the space of the song, we get glimpses and suggestions of the larger world its subjects inhabit, and we are compelled to continue building on those glimpses long after each track has ended.

Unwoman seems to play with this idea herself in the lyrics of “In Pinks and Golds.” The song describes a performer locked in a metaphorical dance with a member of her audience, repeating it night after night. The performer, lonely in her sea of admirers, is trapped by her addiction to the spotlight, and her infatuation with the one audience member who does not lavish her with gifts and praise.

She addresses him in the song: “you know the stories behind my words / you know the stories behind my cues,” the lyrics themselves acknowledge that their words only describe a snapshot of the story contained within, and encourage the listener to search for the rest.

Sometimes only the slightest hint of a setting or a theme within a lyric is enough to imbue the compositions with the suggestion of a vivid fictional world. “Long, Long, Shadows,” evokes a bleakly beautiful landscape of a land of “sunlight” “echoes” and “regrets.” The only way I can describe it is as the theme song to my favorite western that’s never been made.

This quality of rich visual and emotional world building can be found in most of the songs on this record, to greater or lesser degrees, and explains why it stands up so well to many, many listenings. it’s one of the things Unwoman does best, but its far from the only thing she does well.

Another standout track that takes an altogether different approach is “Specimen.” This song, a scathing and personal critique of the male gaze, is more explicitly subversive than many of the tracks. Rather than using fictional characters, Unwoman addresses the audience directly, using taxidermy as a metaphor for the casual objectification of women in society. In a departure from the meandering aesthetic of the record, “Specimen” is written with a direct and incisive lyrical style that channels Eve Libertine of Crass, in all of its indignant glory.

You can download this record, and all of Unwoman’s others, here, but be warned, you won’t listen to much else once you do.


Some Not-Too Subtle Praise for The Bunker

June 25, 2014

bunker           My praise for Joshua Hale Fialkov and Joe Infurnari’s new Oni series, The Bunker is a bit overdue, but in another sense its right on time: Fialkov is poised to storm onto the creator owned scene in a big way. In addition to The Bunker he has another Oni series, The Life After, and a dynamite mini, The Devilers, both debuting in the next couple of months. Fialkov is an exciting writer whose stories are rich, complex, and character driven, and his enthusiasm for the medium clearly comes across in everything he writes. If you have been paying attention to the comic blogs lately, there’s been a lot of promotion for his upcoming series, but the question is why wait? He’s been writing one of the best creator-owned stories out there for the last six months!

So, what’s it all about? The Bunker exists in the intersection of a few different sub-genres, its an ensemble drama, a time-travel story, a political thriller, but the trope it leans on most heavily is the “would you kill Hitler?” moral quandary. It’s the Dead Zone conceit, the notion that if you could see some awful future coming, would you be willing to take drastic measures to prevent it, even if they might not be seen as heroic at the time?

The way this plays out in The Bunker is that a group of friends go into the woods to leave a time capsule for their future selves to reminisce about when they get back together years later. They discover that their future selves have beaten them to it, leaving personal letters and a trove of future media clippings, warning them of the dangerous future in which they are all intricately implicated. The trouble is that their personal letters all reveal different motivations and attitudes towards the impending events. To make matters worse, its their varied ambitions – political, social, scientific, etc. – that lead to their undoing. The characters are well drawn (in terms of Fialkov’s characterization and Infurnari’s expressive and moody illustrations). Our allegiances and sympathies are divided and constantly being reevaluated, and because of the asymmetric nature of the information from the future, the protagonists find themselves stuck in a deadly psychological against one another, as well as their future selves.

Where this story differs from other versions of the “would you kill Hitler?” trope, or any of the travel-to-the-past-to-change-the-future stories, is that there is no real single villain – at least not in the present timeline. Instead, each character has the potential within themselves to be the hero or the villain. Furthermore, the series does not pretend that the fate of the future rests on a single event, a notion obviously absurd in our globalized political and economic landscape, defined by rapidly blurring lines between business and government interests. Instead it presets a chaotic future in which dozens of mechanisms interact to bring about changes with devastating effects.

Its a dizzyingly frightening outlook, but one that’s speaks very bluntly on the state of current world affairs. Fialkov and Infurnari are four issues (one collected volume – out in August if your keeping track) into this world and its already more dense and involving than most series manage to become over the course of an entire run. I don’t expect things to slow down either- which is both terrifying and exciting. I’m in for the long haul, and I bet you will be too.


Fiction Review: Jeff Vandermeer’s Authority

June 8, 2014

authorityAuthority: Book 2 of the Southern Reach Trilogy

by Jeff Vandermeer

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

I’ve got a riddle for you: how is an office building like a sentient wilderness inhabited by psychotropic fungi and organic architecture? As odd as it sounds, that’s more or less the question that Jeff Vandermeer takes on in Authority, the second book in his Southern Reach trilogy.

Authority is the story of a bureaucrat who goes by the pseudonym Control. He was recently appointed as head of the Southern Reach, following the fate of the 12th expedition to Area X (the aforementioned wilderness) as chronicled in Annihilation. Control finds himself with the kafkaesque task of uncovering the truth about Area X, while significant and vital information, essential to his investigation, is systematically concealed from him by the powers that be.

Set mostly in the office headquarters of the Southern Reach, safely removed from threatening landscape of Annihilation, Authority at first appears to be an abrupt departure. Yet what’s remarkable about this book is how seamlessly and consistently Vandermeer manages to translate the same themes across wildly disparate settings, eerily echoing the way that the mysteries of Area X may be slowly and insidiously breaching the boundaries believed to contain them.

Like Annihilation, Authority is a book about a search for meaning and order, both feature characters whose obsessions with solving the external mysteries that surround them are reflections/deflections of their personal and internal uncertainties. As with my review of Annihilation, I’ll refrain from sifting through examples in the novel, because that would be to rob the reader of the surreal pleasures of reading them in context. Instead I turn again to a passage from the text that elegantly summarizes the dis-ease of the narrative:

 

“…institutions, even individual departments in governments, were the concrete embodiments of not just ideas or opinions but also of attitudes and emotions. Like hate or empathy, statements such as “immigrants need to learn English or they’re not really citizens” or “all mental patients deserve our respect.” That in the workings of, for example, an agency, you could, with effort, discover not just the abstract thought behind it but the concrete emotions. The Southern Reach had been set up to investigate (and contain) Area X, and yet despite all the signs and symbols of that mission – all of the talk and files and briefs and analysis – some other emotion or attitude also existed within the agency. It frustrated him that he could not quite put his finger on it, as if he needed another sense, or a sensitivity, that he lacked.”

 

Control’s self-assigned moniker, which he appropriately lapses in and out of use of during the novel, is a layered metaphor for his relationship to the Southern Reach. Control’s outward expression of power is undermined at every turn by the reality that the agency exists as its own entity, with its own underlying logic, separate from and irreconcilable with his own.

While this novel answers many of its predecessor’s questions with mysteries even more vast and ominous, it provides a thematic closure hinted at in its title. The “Authority,” introduced thematically, but also literally, in Annihilation through the desperate hypnotic suggestions of the psychologist comes into focus in the second novel. It’s becoming clear that the titles of the Southern Reach novels can be read as the stops on a journey, both for the characters and the readers. “Annihilation” suggests the need to shed our preconceived notions, a letting go of expectations; only when freed from these inhibitions can we actively confront “Authority”, in all of its political, scientific, and theological connotations. This reading, of course leaves us with a pervasive feeling of discomfort as we prepare to face “acceptance,” the final stage of the trilogy.


The Movement is Dead… Long Live The Movement!

May 12, 2014

movement 12

This past week saw the death of one of the last genuinely unique and imaginative titles in new DC universe. I’m referring to Gail Simone’s The Movement, which I’ve raved about here and here. Why this series never found an audience is beyond me, and I’m not really interested in speculating about the reasons for its demise, but I do want to point out a few things that will (hopefully) become its legacy.

The Movement was about a rag-tag group of super powered teenagers who took it upon themselves to look out for the downtrodden and disaffected who inhabit the tweens, a neglected slum of Coral City. Contained within each character in the series was a unique story of self-discovery, a coming-to-terms, to varying degrees, with their personal angst towards the different metaphorical cards they’d been handed, but more importantly, with their responsibility towards each other and their community.

An therein lies the real triumph of Simone’s book: proof that in this contemporary comic book landscape a series that tackles “adult” themes like police corruption, abuse, violence, and sex, need not be an exercise in misery and nihilism, but can still uplift and inspire. Simone understands that complex and nuanced themes are more valuable than gritty violence and “realism.” In fact, if a mainstream comic every approaces “realism” (and I’d argue that The Movement does), it’s because of this nuance and not its unflinching depiction of crime and violence.

Take Captain Meers, a police officer whose unofficial role as liaison to Movement team leader, Virtue, immediately reminds us of Commissioner Gordon’s role in the Batman universe. He could easily have been written that way, instead he is continuously challenged for his complicit role in a corrupt system of law enforcement, and his unwillingness to recognize gray areas amidst the black and white of the law. As he learns to empathize with and trust Virtue, she too learns to open up.

I also think about Burden – a character apparently possessed by a demon whose spotlight story in the penultimate issue, for all its hyperbolic trappings, is still a perfect meditation on the way that social repression can lead to violent oppression and self-demonization. Then there’s the uncomfortable confrontation between The Movement and Batgirl. Few authors would be so comfortable using one of their books to challenge the value system of another of their characters.

The members of The Movement share their ups and downs, are occasionally at each other’s throats, and often make mistakes. But in the end, they fall back on their community, they make each other better and they catch each other when they fall.

There’s a moment earlier in the series when Virtue makes it very clear to Meers that she is not a superhero. This comes full circle in the final issue (spoilers!). At one point, Meers asks Virtue what the Movement’s goal was. She admits to a dream in which The Movement and the Justice League stand together in a near-utopian fantasy. It’s jarring and unexpected given the themes of the comic, and Meers doesn’t hesitate to remind her that “The Justice people… you’re never going to change enough to fit in with them. Without missing a beat, Virtue replies: “Oh, I know. That was never the plan. But sooner or later Captain… They’re going to have to change to fit in with us.” It’s hard not to read those lines as Simone’s own sentiments, and they make the book’s premature demise all the more bittersweet. Still, just because The Movement is at its end, there’s no reason we should give up on this dream so soon.


Steampunk Files #8: Steampunk! An Anthology of Fantastically Rich and Strange Stories

April 14, 2014

steampunkSteampunk!: An Anthology of Fantastically Rich and Strange Stories

Edited by Kelly Link and Gavin Grant

Candlewick Press

 

I’ve read my share of steampunk anthologies, not all of them, but I’ve read more collections devoted to steampunk than any other specific SF niche. I may be wrong, but based on the essential reading lists I’ve seen floating around, this particular collection from Candlewick Press, published back in 2011, seems to get overlooked. It’s a shame, because it may be the most accessible and thoroughly pleasurable read out of the whole pack.

The content has a decided young adult orientation, which is unique from other anthologies, such as the three volumes edited by the Ann and Jeff Vandermeer and published by Tachyon Press, which bring a very “literary” sensibility to the subject matter. That’s not to say that the stories contained in this volume lack depth or literary merit, just that, on the whole, they feel less conscious of their own relationship to the genre, and exist more freely as vehicles for their respective narratives.

I also enjoyed the opportunity to read stories by authors who I am less likely to run into because they are mainly active in the YA market, like Cassandra Clare, Libba Bray, and Holly Black, alongside authors who I have long admired, but never read in a steampunk context, like Cory Doctorow, and the anthology’s co-editor, Kelly Link.

Back in the first paragraph I wrote that this anthology was one of the most accessible steampunk collections I’ve read. By that I meant that it conforms pretty neatly with what newcomers to steampunk prose would probably associate with the genre: clockwork automatons, airships, and steam engines abound, mostly in the context of a rollicking adventure or a whimsical fancy. In spite of their comfortable familiarity, these stories do not equate genre with generic. A sense of wonder and possibility runs through each narrative, but also an empowering subversion that is often meatier than their brassy veneer initially lets on.

Libba Bray’s “The Last Ride of the Glory Girls” tells the story of Adelaide Jones, a woman of the law embedded with a band of outlaws who use a fanciful “enigma apparatus” to manipulate time and rob trains. The wild west setting has a romance to it that appeals to the core idea of the steampunk fantasy, but the choices the characters face give it a relevance that extends beyond aesthetics. Adelaide faces a conflict between her duty to the Pinkerton Agency that employs her, and her new-found sisterhood with the Glory Girls, providing a meaty moral conflict that lends a strong resonance to the human drama of the story.

Less romantic is “Clockwork Fagin,” Cory Doctorow’s story set in an orphanage characterized by all means of Dickensian inequality and abuse. In this tale, the pitiful children overthrow their oppressive master and use their own ingenuity to create an autonomous steampunk utopia. In addition to its anarchic inclinations, the story makes use of hard computer science as a plot device, something relatively unique and refreshing in a genre where the “science” often involves aetherial energy sources, hollow earth theories, or inexplicable AI’s.

Throughout the collection authors continue to explore fresh settings for steampunk’s familiar literary constructs. Kelly Link’s “The Summer People” and Dylan Horrock’s “Steam Girl” each employ steampunk concepts in a modern setting as ways for their respective teenage protagonists to combat social exclusion and abusive parents, while M.T. Anderson’s “The Oracle Engine” constructs a steampunk tragedy set in Ancient Rome.

Also appreciated, are the two short comics included: Shawn Cheng’s “Seven Days Besot by Demons,” and Kathleen Jennings’ “Finishing School.” These comics are quite different from one another, but they both represent a stylistic maturity within the medium that should satisfy the steampunk and comic book enthusiast alike.

Being a YA anthology, the stories are light on (but not devoid of) “mature” content like sex and violence. that could be a deal breaker depending on your preferences, but if you’re like me, then mature storytelling is more important than mature content. If you fall into the latter camp, I would enthusiastically recommend this anthology for anyone looking for a comprehensive introduction to the genre.

 

Click here to read more steampunk reviews and essays!


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