Monday, July 13, 2009

Jeff Vandermeer's "Fixing Hanover" (short story, steampunk)

A genius inventor builds a magic machine (an airship!). His government uses it as a superweapon its neighbors have no defense against. His country becomes an ever expanding Empire.

One fine day, he sees the destruction his creation has wrought. Filled with remorse, he escapes & finds life in a far away land.

Now, several years later, the Empire has located him & is coming to take him back.


Each of the 3 main ideas of the story are old tropes: genius inventor, remorseful war-winner turns his back on war, & new superweapon neighbors have no defense against. Three good sf examples, all online, of the last one:
  1. Murray Leinster's "Morale" (download).
  2. Robert Heinlein's "Solution Unsatisfactory" (download).
  3. H G Wells' "The Land Ironclads" (download).

Collected in.

  1. David Hartwell & Kathryn Cramer (Ed)'s "Year's Best SF 14" (2009).

Fact sheet.

First published: Nick Gevers (Eds)'s Extraordinary Engines (2008).
Rating: B.