Reviews and Comments on Cynthia's Work

The Adventure of the Incognita Countess


The Adventure of the Incognita Countess has been included in the 2017 Recommended Reading Lists of Locus Magazine and Tangent Online, and in the Seattle Times list of noteworthy books of 2017.

Comments from Reviews

"Amid the steampunkish thrill of weaponized gloves and a stolen set of blueprints for Jules Verne’s proto-submarine Nautilus, Ward’s heroine experiences the throes of vampiric lesbian love and finds herself questioning her terribly problematic views on souls. Though short, this book throngs with action and its characters’ piercing emotional reactions to its tight plot."

Nisi Shawl, The Seattle Review of Books

"[A] brisk draws deeply from the well of 19th and early 20th century speculative literature. In that much, it reminds me no small part of Penny Dreadful. It has the same gleeful delight in its own references, the same playfully gothic geekery."

Liz Bourke, review,

"Cynthia Ward’s The Adventure of the Incognita Countess [is] a story much influenced by 19th century literature that involves vampires, spies, trans-Atlantic passenger liners in the 1910s, and emotionally tangled relationships...very close to my heart...excellent and queer."

Liz Bourke, additional discussion on

"[G]rand and smashing recursive steampunk in the manner of Alan Moore’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and a splendid romp indeed."

Paul Di Filippo, Asimov's

"I am left frustrated, yet again, because there isn’t more. More Lucy, more of this world, more of her doing missions among intrigue, war preparing Europe, facing all the creatures of legend, penny dreadfuls and steampunk fame. There is something so terribly sad about an awesome book that ends too soon."

Sparky at Fangs for the Fantasy

"It's a story that defies the pressure to be a queer tragedy, and plays with that trope rather heavily, calling to mind the ways that queerness is often an element of the monsters depicted in Victorian literature, but here it's allowed to be reclaimed and celebrated...[A]n impressive bit of world building, and it almost begs for further exploration. At least, I would be more than willing to return to this world of monsters, intrigue, and spies. An excellent read!"

Charles Payseur, Quick Sip Reviews

"Ward deftly incorporates details that heighten the realism of Harker's bizarre cross-genre world, from Harker's dismissal of classism, to the clean energy of the Martian-inspired Titanic engines. Lucy's philosophical musings and delectable vocabulary recall the style of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle while delving into questions of emotion and personhood, responsibility and morality, in a way that emphasizes the dehumanization of the other—the other species, the other class, the other gender."

Michelle Ristuccia, Tangent Online

"The Adventure of the Incognita Countess is a brisk novella and an amusing diversion...[O]ne of the more intriguing elements of this novella is very much its variety: of the many types of vampire which Lucy encounters, for instance, and what, exactly, differentiates or limits them."

Duncan Lawie, Strange Horizons

"The book’s ending is wide open for a sequel, with plenty of potential for more figures of legend to meet. Ms. Ward has done a wonderful job setting up her world, and the future challenges her characters will have to face."

Katie Magnusson, I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere






"From four-armed men to brainscan: biotech perspectives"

"Regenesis" by Cynthia Ward (a female writer from Seattle) paints a peculiar image of the future: anything is possible thanks to biotechnology. Six-fingered guitar player geniuses juggle the strings, 3-eyed women quiver their eyelashes and geneticians grow tails (proving evolution theory right and Christianity wrong) while four-armed prophets talk about the end of the world.

— Kömlődi Ferenc
Cyberia, November 2002.

Read the review in the original Hungarian:
"A négykarú embertől az agyszkennelésig: Biotech-távlatok"