“Karen Memory” by Elizabeth Bear

Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear

Elizabeth Bear gives us a really nice bit of Steampunk fantasy, gritty gold rush society with steam powered robots and airships (but no cars or telephones). Apparently the city licenses “invenrtors” and, at a higher grade, “Mad Scientists”.  The latter are prohibited from dueling with their dangerous contraptions amok in the center of the city

The plot involves dark doings in a fictional town in the Northwest at the time of the Alaska gold rush. Lot’s of colorful characters and wild behavior.

The title character (whose name is actually spelled “Memery”) is a very plucky young woman, who you’ll likely remember, along with the rest of her crew.

For me, Steampunk is something to be enjoyed sparingly, not a continuous diet. But the great thing about the genre is that it is more of a style than a category, and you can find almost anything there. I liked Bear’s fictional world, even though it makes little sense.

It almost goes without saying that the reason I liked the book is because it is well written, and I cared about the characters.

You’ll probably like it too.


  1. Elizabeth Bear, Karen Memory, New York, Tor, 2015.

Sunday Book Reviews

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