"Gaslamp Fantasy," or historical fantasy set in a magical version of the nineteenth century, has long been popular with readers and writers alike. A number of wonderful fantasy novels owe their inspiration to works by nineteenth-century writers ranging from Jane Austen, the Brontës, and George Meredith to Charles Dickens, Anthony Trollope, and William Morris. And, of course, the entire steampunk genre and subculture owes more than a little to literature inspired by this period.
Queen Victoria's Book of Spells is an anthology for everyone who loves these works of neo-Victorian fiction, and wishes to explore the wide variety of ways that modern fantasists are using nineteenth-century settings, characters, and themes. These approaches stretch from steampunk fiction to the Austen-and-Trollope inspired works that some critics call Fantasy of Manners, all of which fit under the larger umbrella of Gaslamp Fantasy. The result is eighteen stories by experts from the fantasy, horror, mainstream, and young adult fields, including both bestselling writers and exciting new talents such as Elizabeth Bear, James Blaylock, Jeffrey Ford, Ellen Kushner, Tanith Lee, Gregory Maguire, Delia Sherman, and Catherynne M. Valente, who present a bewitching vision of a nineteenth century invested (or cursed!) with magic.
A Kirkus Reviews Best Fiction Book of 2013
At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.
Datlow and Windling (After) collect 18 stories of elegant beauty and gothic murk in this anthology of "gaslamp fantasy," an umbrella term for speculative works set in or inspired by the Victorian era. In the title story by Delia Sherman, a young researcher uncovers a shocking secret hidden in the diary entries of Queen Victoria's spell book. A vindictive governess manipulates those around her with a magical scrapbook in Maureen McHugh's "The Memory Book." Gregory Maguire suggests that Scrooge bestowed magical gifts upon Tiny Tim in "A Few Twigs He Left Behind." Veronica Schanoes's "Phosphorus" relates the grim conditions that drove Victorian factory workers to strike, and the grim witchcraft that one worker, dying of phosphorus poisoning, uses to extend her life so she can see the strike to its end. Fans of steampunk and Austen-inspired fantasies of manners will be completely enraptured by these stories, which show us how Victorians saw themselves and offer an assortment of ways for modern readers to consider the bright lights and gloomy shadows of the past.