Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Speculative Society Book Club, April/May

The first reading in our bi-monthly Speculative Society book club is officially complete, and I have a few thoughts to share. The group voted to discuss Steampunk Tales, Vol. 1, a title that seems to only be available in ebook form and was a bit of a confused effort. I should point out that while I'm very familiar with (and a big fan of) the steampunk genre, I've not read a ton of short story collections over the years, esp. those written by multiple authors.

Overall, I really enjoyed about half of the stories in the book, and there was certainly enough diversity in styles and themes to keep the reader interested. I think the main problem was that a few entries had too many genre cliches, while several others were actually excerpts from longer pieces, although some of them did a pretty good job of standing on their own. The stand-outs for me were Catherynne M. Valente's The Anachronist's Cookbook, Brian Rappatta's The Reanimation Emporium, and G.D. Faulksen's The Mask of Tezcatlipoca. The remaining entries range from fairly good to completely boring.

Considering the very reasonable price of this collection, it's almost worth it for the better tales alone. I haven't participated in a book club in several years and I do think that short stories are a trickier thing to tackle than full novels. I'm looking forward to getting more in depth with character, plot, theme, etc. in whatever we choose for next month.

Voting is underway, so sign up and join the fun in our Goodreads Speculative Society!


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