Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Martian Agent: A Planetary Romance, by Michael Chabon

I have three more stories in The Secret History of Science Fiction to read and review.  Tonight's is The Martian Agent, by Michael Chabon, not available for free except as part of collections in your public library.  The introduction to the story discusses the relative downfall of plotted short stories, which would indicate that what you're about to get is one of these.  And that would be right.  Beyond that expectations are defeated, though not in a bad way, as there's not much about Mars or planets here.  This is a steampunk story, set in the later part of the 19th century--a twist where steam powered vehicles were invented much earlier and the Colonies had yet to gain independence.  The story tells a vignette from the latest attempt at independence, unfortunately generaled by George Armstrong Custer, though he is not a major player.  It's a nice slice of life, with some hints at where that steam power might take one.  Won't change your life but it's an interesting read, worthy of three stars.

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