A foray into Dieselpunk

Courtesy of goodreads.comMy go-to genres of books are Urban Fantasy and Steampunk. Obviously, considering my posts. But every so often I’ll venture outside my comfortable little world with sci-fi, straight fantasy (you know, knights and castles etc) and now, dieselpunk.

I just finished reading The Mammoth Book of Dieselpunk, an anthology of dieselpunk stories edited by Sean Wallace. I’ve never read dieselpunk before and the fact that the era is right in my historical wheelhouse (yeah, I’m a historian by schooling) and the awesome cover made me pick this bad boy up.

Like any anthology, there are good and bad stories. Some of the stories in the book are more like novellas than real short stories. That’s fine. But the all of these stories seemed just…too post-apocalyptic. Now, given the wide ranging time frame I felt this covered (WWI through WWII), that’s understandable. And yet…I really feel that it doesn’t have to be. There was so much going on in that time frame that was of a hopeful or fun nature: like Charles Lindbergh crossing the Atlantic, Amelia Earhart (before she disappeared), the advent of race culture (both cars and planes).

It was a little darker and a little more depressing than I thought it would be given the cover. The 1920s, 30s and 40s are the height of pulp fiction and radio shows. There’s so much that authors could do with it, I feel that these stories sort of missed that. I was kind of hoping for stories that were a bit more along the likes of The Rocketeer than A Farewell to Arms.

That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t read more dieselpunk if I could find something, it just means that perhaps that book wasn’t the best introduction to the genre, at least for me. So if you like dieselpunk, this would probably be worth the read. There’s a bunch of stories in there. If not, give it a miss. There are other anthologies out there. If anyone has a suggestion for a dieselpunk book to read, I’m all eyes.

Rating: C+. Being a historian, there were a couple of stories where I was heartily impressed by the author’s attention to detail, such as the one with the Japanese internment camps from WWII America. Other than that, I might just donate this book to the local library.

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