Edison’s Frankenstein (Postscripts 20/21)

Review by Paul Campbell

Surprisingly, this is Vincent Chong’s first cover artwork for Postscripts in its six year run and happily the title story lives up to its promise – no easy task where Chong is concerned. It’s an alternative history steampunk tale, but not one that is played light and loose for the sake of frolicsome adventure. And the best compliment I can pass on Chris Robertson’s tale is that his seemingly dense evocation of alternate New York and the glimpses he affords of a whole other back history made me wish the story had not ended: there was enough here for a novel, although the story’s intro gives no hint that it is, or will be, part of a larger canvas.

What we have, then, is a tale of murder, and Thomas Edison… and of what he created in this world where electricity has been shunned and Edison fallen into obscurity. The anthology closes with Stephen Baxter returning to the timeline of his superb novel Anti-Ice and in between there are some two dozen excellent tales, among them ‘Catherine My Lionheart’, the best short story Allen Ashley has ever written.

Alas, at a hefty £30 (plus £2.49 P&P) for a 370 page book, Postscripts has now become an elite publication for wealthy readers immune to such trivial concerns as recessions and credit crunches. I, for one, can no longer renew my sub.

Edison’s Frankenstein (Postscripts 20/21), eds. Nick Gevers and Peter Crowther, PS Publishing 2009. £30 hb. £60 signed hb.