An entertaining novelette mashup of steampunk/Goth/Victoriana/aviation. An unfeasibly early steam-powered airplane is found, perfectly preserved, in a barn – if it had flown, the history of aviation, and the course of the last two centuries, would have been completely different.
The story is set with steampunk/Goth dressing-up being de rigeur rather than a minority hobby/fetish, and there’s enough detailing of the dressing up and the clothing/equipment to please the hardcore steampunk (beyond that in fact, I’m sure that there will be more than a few Gentlemen’s Trouser Moments from afficianados of the genre.
The challenge to get the craft ready for flight is taken on, and there is romantic rivalry, sabotage, and a quite splendid ending. Illustrated by Jim Burns, who concentrating on a illustrating (extremley well) the Aeronaute in flight, rather than the avatrice in a tight leather bustier with heaving bosoms on display which must surely have been his initial approach ;-)