THREE FROM CIRCLET PRESS, www.circlet.com: 1901 - A Steam Odyssey by Lionel Bramble, 235 pages; The Innocents Progress by Peter Tupper, 170 pages; and, Like the Knave of Hearts, edited by J. Blackmore, 86 pages, reviewed by Barry Hunter.
Circlet Press has been in the forefront of erotic steampunk for many years now and this new group of offerings gives us a wide range of subject matter and imagination and these are just the tip of the iceberg.
1901 - A STEAM ODYSSEY gives us another adventure of Lady Cheyenne Easterling and Miss Olive Ravenwood with their companions, Major Bernard Lewis and James Jason Steerforth. Lady Cheyenne was the central character in “The Panhedonic Engine” in the Circlet anthology, LIKE CLOCKWORK. This time out it is shortly after the Martian invasion and the adventure related in THE FIRST MEN IN THE MOON. Victorian scientists have been using the Martian technology to improve living conditions. During a group encounter, the group is split with Cheyenne and the Major headed to Venus and Olive and Steerforth headed to Antartica. Events occur which place all of them in danger, as the Martians have joined forces with the Selenites on the moon and plan to place the Earth under their domination, one way or another. Bramble uses the characters of others to build an alternate Victoria Empire to tell a very exciting tale of other worldly adventure, eroticism and pure steam pulp adventure. This may be the best offering from Circlet I have read.
THE INNOCENTS PROGRESS is a collection of stories showing the development of the alternate Victorian society. Two stories have appeared in other Circlet anthologies and those set the background for the evolution of the other stories. Sir Richard Burton appears in one story; Edward Hyde gives his formula to a female servant with a not quite unexpected result; and in an interesting afterword, Tupper fills in the basis and character models for his works. This is an interesting look at the inner workings of the creative process.
In LIKE A KNAVE OF HEARTS, J Blackmore has take the adventures of ALICE IN WONDERLAND and has an older version of Alice and an alternate erotic Wonderland to show us adventures that do not leave much to the imagination. The stories tell of a Princess’ adventure around the chessboard, an adult Alice slipping into Wonderland to relieve the stress of Victorian life, what could have happened to Wonderland if Alice forgot her adventures there, and other fanciful adventures. This is another terrific and interesting anthology from J Blackmore and Circlet Press.
Be sure to check out these volumes and all the many other adventures that are available from Circlet Press and their creative writers.