Dieselpunk and decopunk are alternative history re-imaginings of (roughly) the WWI and WWII eras: tales with the grit of roaring bombers and rumbling tanks, of 'We Can Do It' and old time gangsters, or with the glamour of flappers and Hollywood starlets, smoky jazz and speakeasies. The stories in this volume add fairy tales to the mix, transporting classic tales to this rich historical setting.
Two young women defy the devil with the power of friendship. The pilot of a talking plane discovers a woman who transforms into a swan every night and is pulled into a much more personal conflict than the war he's already fighting. A pair of twins with special powers find themselves in Eva Braun's custody and wrapped up in a nefarious plan. A team of female special agents must destroy a secret weapon–the spindle–before it can be deployed. Retellings of The Little Mermaid, Hansel and Gretel, Rapunzel, Cinderella, The Monkey King, Swan Lake, Pinocchio and more are all showcased alongside some original fairy tale-like stories.
Featuring stories by Zannier Alejandra, Alicia K. Anderson, Jack Bates, Patrick Bollivar, Sara Cleto, Amanda C. Davis, Jennifer R. Donohue, Juliet Harper, Blake Jessop, A.A. Medina, Lizz Donnelly, Nellie Neves, Wendy Nikel, Brian Trent, Alena VanArendonk, Laura VanArendonk Baugh, Sarah Van Goethem, and Robert E. Vardeman.
As anthologist Parrish explains in the introduction to this wonderful anthology, dieselpunk and decopunk are cousins of steampunk, fantastical stories set between the start of WWI and the end of WWII. These dieselpunk and decopunk retellings of fairy tales go far afield for an entertaining variety of interpretations. Laura VanArendonk Baugh's claustrophobic thriller "To Go West" brings literal grit by way of a savage magical Dust Bowl wind that pursues a group on a mission from Heaven. A Japanese invasion of China carried out from a mechanical sky-island gets modern mythological twists in Brian Trent's "Steel Dragons on a Luminous Sky." Grit, glitz, and a sly celebrity appearance enliven a white-knuckle all-female infiltration mission in "As the Spindle Burns" by Nellie K. Neves. These unfailingly clever tales are impressive and page-turning, helping to correct the dearth of speculative fiction set in the interwar era. There is also a frequent and welcome spotlight on heroic women. Any reader who enjoys early-20th-century history or retold fairy tales will find these familiar but new, with well-played wonder in every story.