About SteamPowered II: More Lesbian Steampunk Stories
edited byJoSelle Vanderhoof, with stories by Zan Cho, C.S.E. Cooney,
Alex Dally MacFarlane, Amal El-Mohtar, Jeanelle Ferreira, Rebecca
Fraimow, Sean Holland, Jaymee Goh, S.L. Knapp, Nicole Kornher-Stace,
Stephanie Lai, Elizabeth Porter Birdsall, Nisi Shawl, Patritica
Templeton, A.M. Tuomala,
These fifteen thrilling and ingenious tales take the familiar genre of
steampunk in exciting new directions, following women from across the globe
and through pasts that never were (but could have been) on their search for
money, adventure, prestige, freedom--and the love of another woman. Here
you’ll meet a Moroccan airship engineer and an English diplomat who receive
a cryptic message and an exploding music box, a librarian who doubts her
God, a Malaysian shipping clerk who dreams of adventure, a terracotta bride
from the Tenth Circle of Hell, and an aeronaut on her way to certain death
and a surprising discovery--and many more.
From: Journey's End by Elizabeth Porter Birdsall
Chief Salas put her wrench back in its wall slot, wiped her hands, and studied the gleaming engine. No one else was in the room; they were all above, or working on the other gondola, or in their hammocks. She'd been absently humming a song she'd heard from her cousin Pedro on her last leave, a silly little ditty about Josephine and her fellow's flying machine, but now she was silent.
After a few breaths, her thin mouth tightened with consideration. "All right," she said. "Yeah, all right."
She pulled a cloth from her toolkit and began to clean
excess oil from the gear she'd just replaced. The engine obediently stilled
to let her work. Dolores's mouth quirked, fondness and resignation mixed.
"You get to tell the captain, though," she told the steel beneath her hands.
She saluted, was given permission to stand at ease, and waited.
Captain Vanderbilt studied her, broad, heavy-jawed face drawn tight. "Are you sure?" she asked. Her voice had not lost its plummy aristocrat's tones in all her years aloft, but bawling orders in high winds had roughened it into an unladylike contralto.
Dolores stood in stolid, military patience. "Yes, ma'am. The Valiant asked. I'm sure."
The captain was visibly aching to say more. But naval tradition forbade questioning a journey's-ender, and the two had never had a friendship that would have allowed either of them to set aside tradition in private. Eleanor Vanderbilt was the captain, and Dolores Salas y Herrera her chief engineer, and that was that.
"I'll send word to Command," she said heavily. "We needn't spread the word among the men till we're near port. Thank you, chief. You've been a pleasure to serve with."
Dolores saluted. "Yes, ma'am. Thank you, ma'am. It's been an honor to serve with you."
Captain Vanderbilt returned the salute, more slowly. "Dismissed, Chief Salas."