Happy International Steampunk Day!
Since it is the day for Steampunkyness and since I have two steampunk books to reveiw….and since I often have steampunk stuff on this blog, I though it was an opportune moment to post the reviews.
First, there is the Steampunk Bible, Jeff Vandermeer and S. J. Chambers.
“The Steampunk Bible: An Illustrated Guide to the World of Imaginary Airships, Corsets and Goggles, Mad Scientists, and Strange Literature”
If you want to know about Steampunk, this is the go-to book. It covers the subject pretty well, from books to movies and tv, graphic novels to clothing, music to Makers. Basic history of the genre and even tipping the top hat to some of the sub-subgenres like Boilerpunk, Gaslight Romance, Clockpunk and Dieselpunk. The latter is, I would contend, not a subgenre at all, but I would whole heartedly agree with this quote:
Dieselpunk is “a heresy in which diesel fuel and nuclear power replace steam power in alternate histories that often have a political component” (pg 54).
Additionally, there is a section on Makerism as well and that’s good, since one of the significant contributors to the readily recognizable aesthetic of steampunk, Jake von Slatt, is definitely in the Maker culture. Good photos of some of his work as well–including the famous laptop computer and, one of my favorites, altered altoid tins!
In all, excellent!
Then there is a brand new anthology that is as of yet unpublished but will be released in October. This was a galley that City Lights kindly shared with me–thank you muchly!
“Steampunk! An Anthology of Fantastically Rich and Strange Stories”
This is a collection of short stories that spans the gamut of steampunk lit. It definitely pushes some boundaries and some would not fall neatly or squarely into a particular category (or sub-subgenre 😉 ). There are witches, child murderers and orphans, visions and fanatics, ghosts and frankenstine creations. There’s a sort of cop noir story from Ysabeau Wilce that had a pretty vivid and curious twist half way through and left me wondering what would happen in the ‘next episode’. An allegorical graphic novela by Shawn Cheng about the seven deadly sins is in there, one of two graphic stories, and I quite enjoyed it. But I have to say that the Libba Bray story is worth twice the price of admission! It was an adventure and delight!
Only one story fell a bit flat for me, mostly because it seemed to be a little like the Flash Forward tv series. which wasn’t written to end so abruptly, so there were entire spaghetti tangles of loose ends. This one story seemed to be originally intended for a novel or novella and left an uncomfortable number of untied lines flopping about in my mind.
All in all, though, I recommend it with confidence.