The Angels of the Abyss by Iain Grant

Steampunk: the genre people love to love and also love to hate. Poor steampunk; I’d dare say you’re more recognizable as a fashion statement than a subgenre. Not to your lovers, though. No, your lovers cling to you and caress you and might even strip you naked, peering into the gears of your undercarriage.

I’m not a neo-Victorian. You won’t see me donning a top hat, goggles, or a corset/parasol combo. On the other hand, I’m not afraid of button boots.  I don’t mind it when steam engines and aether turn my speculative fiction into a brassy gear-house. I’m partial to zeppelins.

In case you some how managed to miss it, we’re looking at a steampunk novelette today. Specifically, Iain Grant’s The Angels of the Abyss, which is a nice airship jaunt into space. Without giving too much away, Grant’s eponymous angels are, in fact, some pretty terrifying aliens in a first contact scenario. What’s delightful about it is how, well, perfectly Victorian everyone is about it. First, there’s the hatred of the French, which somehow still manages to color the situation. Then there’s the impulse to dominate and capture the aliens. Hell, the only thing missing is a plan to cage them and exhibit them at some grand world fair. And yes, the English exhibition into space is also absolutely certain of their own superiority, even when outer space has proven herself to be unkind.

The novelette is a wonderful story that sticks aliens where they often aren’t welcome. It is very well worth it for the descriptions of these angelic creatures and the things they are capable of. How the humans deal with their encounter is also an interesting take from a very Victorian frame of reference.

The Angels of the Abyss by Iain Grant is available on Amazon for a steal at 99¢. It is also the first in a series which looks to be very promising.

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