Cornelia peered at him from the corner of her eye. It had been years since she’d seen Dr. Braddock, but she’d always made it a point to conscientiously memorize details about any of John’s associates. Yes. It was him. She definitely recognized the smoothly groomed gray moustache and the equally unkempt bushy eyebrows.
She turned her head to look directly at him. “Good evening, Dr. Braddock. I was beginning to worry you wouldn’t show.”
The man jumped and looked at her with a shocked expression. He grabbed the handle of his case. “How do you know – I mean, I believe you have me confused with…” He trailed off. “Mrs. Jones?”
She smiled. “It’s been some time, hasn’t it, Dr. Braddock?”
His face relaxed and he removed his gray homburg. “Indeed it is. Why, I haven’t seen you since that dinner party when your husband and I traded secrets only five brandy can release! That was, what, over three years ago?”
“Something like that,” said Cornelia. “And I’m sure John took every bit of advice you gave him to heart.”
The doctor’s smile faded into a look of concern. “My daughter called you, didn’t she?”
Dieselpunk is establishing itself predominantly as an adventure genre, and this short story by Grace E. Robinson matches this description beautifully.
Set in 1920s Hollywood, this short story is part a mystery and part a fast and furious adventure, complete with a secret society bent on doing evil in any way possible and scientists bent on inventing mind-blowing new technology.
Although it is recognizably a retrofuturistic dieselpunk, this story blends in a little actual magic. It’s unusual, because – magical as some retrofuturistic devices may look – dieselpunk stories usually make little use of true fantasy ideas and concepts.
Mrs Cornlia Jones is a fun character, a woman doing a very dangerous profession and trying to cope alone with a life that took significant things away from her.
I liked how she’s introduced, but honestly, I think that more insight into her character might have created a stronger connection with her. Besides, this is the first story in a series, and I know there will be a lot more occasions to know her better.
This appears to be more an introduction of characters, setting, moods and themes, but it’s also a story complete in itself.
It’s a fun one.
In post is part of the Thursday Quotables meme. If you want to discover more about this meme and maybe take part in it, head over to Bookshelf Fantasies