The Shadow Conspiracy by Brenda Clough
1816, the year without a summer. A group of geniuses descended on Geneva and, in an attempt to save the body and mind of Lord Byron, perform dreadful and forbidden experiments that change history forever.
Definition of Steampunk: A subgenre of speculative science fiction set in an anachronistic 19th century society, dealing with advanced technology in the altered past.
Although this definition helps to give a notion of what exactly Steampunk is, the authors of The Shadow Conspiracy are in agreement that Steampunk defies a single definition. And to further said opinion they came together to present their own unique visions within ten original stories.
In a recent interview with Chris Dolley of the Book View Café I asked him what the cooperative’s most downloaded title was:
“That would be The Shadow Conspiracy, an original steampunk anthology of short stories written by various BVC authors set in a shared alternate earth, a place powered by steam and magic. A world of dreamers, experimenters and engineers, soulless humans and ensouled machines born of most unlikely parents: four poets who gathered one cold summer on the shores of Lake Geneva in 1816. Byron, Shelley, Mary Shelley and Dr. Polidori. The stories explore the unfolding consequences of that gathering — and how it changed everything we thought we knew about science and ourselves,” replied Dolly.
And that in essence is what makes this collection so appealing and so much fun to read. You can then add in the authors’ love of Victorian fashion and their fascination with the beautiful brass-worked, steam-powered machines and the result is a wonderful steampunk anthology that really makes you think “What if?” on many occasions. I personally believe that the perfect steampunk author would be a hybrid of Arthur Conan Doyle and Isaac Asimov and the work the newly created author produced would not be too dissimilar from the contents of this collection with glorious Victorian settings, the sensibilities of the time, fantastic inventions plus intrigue and mystery (although some pea-soup fog would have been nice).
While all the stories are good, two stand out as being that little bit extra special. Zombi, by Pati Nagle, is an enthralling tale of slavery and superstition set in a delightfully realised New Orleans. But it is The Soul Jar by Steven Piziks, author of the Silent Empire novels, that was my personal favourite. A sequel to his story Thin Man, which first appeared in Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Fantasy Magazine, it is a beautifully woven tale of a cursed circus life, forbidden love, dangerous experiments and ingenious automatons and is worth the price of purchase alone.
The Shadow Conspiracy will appeal greatly to lovers of steampunk, science fiction and alternate history. Featuring very strong female characters (something that the BVC consistently encourages), brilliant ideas and thought-provoking subject matter, it is an anthology that I highly recommend. What really happened in the villa on Lake Geneva that long ago year without a summer, 1816? Read it and find out.
The Shadow Conspiracy: Tales from the Age of Steam, edited by Phyllis Irene Radford and Laura Anne Gilman
- The Accumulating Man by Maya Kaathryn Bonhoff;
- The Persistence of Souls by Sarah Zettel;
- The Soul Jar by Steven Piziks;
- Zombi by Pati Nagle;
- A Princess of Wittgenstein by Jennifer Stevenson;
- The Savage and the Monster by Nancy Jane Moore;
- The Water Weapon by Brenda W. Clough;
- The Sisters of Perpetual Adoration by Judith Tarr;
- Shadow Dancer by Irene Radford;
- The Mind of Ada Lovelace by Brenda W. Clough.
Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 599 KB
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publisher: Book View Press (15 Nov 2009)
Thank you to the Book View Cafe for kindly supplying the review copy. For more information on this and many other titles, visit http://www.bookviewcafe.com/
This The Shadow Conspiracy book review was written by Floresiensis
Have you read The Shadow Conspiracy?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
The Shadow Conspiracy reader reviews
8.8/10 from 1 reviews
There are currently no reader reviews for this book. Why not be the first?
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
Perdido Street Station
The metropolis of New Crobuzon sprawls at the centre of its own bewildering world. Humans and mutants and arcane races throng the gloom beneath its chimneys, where the rive...
The Anubis Gates
Brendan Doyle is a twentieth-century English professor who travels back to 1810 London to attend a lecture given by English romantic poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge. This is a...
The City and the City
When the body of a murdered woman is found in the extraordinary, decaying city of Besźel, somewhere at the edge of Europe, it looks like a routine case for Inspector T...
The Difference Engine
William Gibson and Bruce Sterling
The computer age has arrived a century ahead of time with Charles Babbage's perfection of his Analytical Engine. The Industrial Revolution, supercharged by the developm...
A colossal fantasy of incredible diversity and spellbinding imagination. A human cargo bound for servitude in exile... A pirate city hauled across the oceans... A hidden mi...
The Aeronaut's Windlass
Since time immemorial, the Spires have sheltered humanity, towering for miles over the mist-shrouded surface of the world. Within their halls, aristocratic houses have rule...
It is a time of revolts and revolutions, conflict and intrigue. New Crobuzon is being ripped apart from without and within. War with the shadowy city-state of Tesh and riot...
The Mensch with No Name
Edward M Erdelac
The Merkabah Rider continues his journey across the American Southwest of 1880 in search of the renegade teacher who destroyed his mystic Jewish order in the second volume ...
The Weavers of Saramyr
An evil that comes from within the empire's centre, a sect of magicians close to the throne intent on killing any child born with magical powers. But now the empress ha...
The Rise of the Automated Aristocrats
Sir Richard Francis Burton's expedition has returned from the future, bringing with it knowledge of technologies that must remain secret if history is to proceed as it ...
A young clockmaker's apprentice, who is visited by the Archangel Gabriel. He is told that he must take the Key Perilous and rewind the Mainspring of the Earth. It is ru...
The Good, the Bad and the Infernal
One day every hundred years, a town appears, its location and character different every time. It is home to the greatest miracle a man could imagine: a doorway to Heaven it...
The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man
A clockwork man is abandoned in Trafalgar Square. A ghost displays a craving for diamonds. A lost aristocrat returns ten years after being lost at sea and instigates riots ...
Sea of Ghosts
When the last of the Gravediggers, an elite imperial infiltration unit, are disbanded and hunted down by the emperor they once served, munitions expert Colonel Thomas Grang...
With his patients dead and his genetic research in tatters, Dr. Anton Springmann fled his homeland as a fugitive, taking a one-way diesel ship to New Alania. But within hou...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages:
Best of 2016
Journey to the Black City
On an Earth that is very much like our own, the civilizations of ancient man have been crushed; the giant glaciers that cover the northern part of the globe continue, even now...
Books of the Month
A selection of books - old and new alike - that were a joy to read.
After the sudden death of his best friend Neil, involving a 6-foot giant crow and quite some Tequila, Lou’s life takes an unexpected turn towards the impossible. As Lou discovers his unwelcome gift to see Neil’s ghost, he starts to question his sanity; but the real challenge is just coming up. Mallory, a self-proclaimed medium, offer...
Age of Assassins
Girton Club-Foot, apprentice to the land's best assassin, still has much to learn about the art of taking lives. But their latest mission tasks him and his master with ...
A Conjuring of Light
The precarious equilibrium among the four Londons has reached its breaking point. Once brimming with the red vivacity of magic, darkness casts a shadow over the Maresh Empi...
Sebastien de Castell
Falcio val Mond, First Cantor of the Greatcoats, is on the brink of fulfilling his dead King's dream: Aline is about to take the throne and restore the rule of law once...
The Boy with the Cuckoo-Clock Heart
Edinburgh, 1874. On the coldest night the world has ever seen, Little Jack is born with a frozen heart and immediately undergoes a life-saving operation. But Dr Madeleine i...
The republic faces annihilation, despite the vigilance of Galharrow's Blackwings. When a raven tattoo rips itself from his arm to deliver a desperate message, Galharrow...
A Tale of Time City
Diana Wynne Jones
When Vivian is evacuated from London in 1939, she expects to be staying in the countryside. Instead, she is whisked away to Time City – a place that exists outside ti...