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Steampunk Paperback – May 1, 2008
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Top Customer Reviews
Introduction: The 19th Century Roots of Steampunk (Jess Nevins) - This essay covered a lot of things regarding steampunk's relationship with and reaction against dime novels that I hadn't heard before, making several of the stories in the anthology make a lot more sense. I think most of Nevins's arguments primarily apply to steampunk literature and don't necessarily cover its other aspects, but it's very interesting and useful information.
Benediction: Excerpt from The Warlord of the Air (Michael Moorcock) - I don't really approve of including excerpts from novels in an anthology, using the reasoning that if I've just bought a book, I would rather have an entire story than an extended advertisement for another book. This is a good introduction to the steampunk feel, though, as it's basically one extended airship battle.
Lord Kelvin's Machine (James P. Blaylock) - This is one of those that is helped by the explanations in Nevins's essay; it's heavily based on the dime novel tradition, although with a wink and a nod. An inventor must use his ingenuity to save the world both from a villain and from his well-meaning but foolish compatriots in the face of a deadly comet.Read more ›
Reviewer `Redon' gives a good overview of the book's contents. I'll just add my thoughts on some of the material:
For the essays, Jess Nevins provides a concise history of steampunk in literature, focusing on the role of the "Edisonade" genre of 19th century dime novels in setting the major themes and tropes of the genre. Rick Klaw's essay deals with steampunk in television and film, and Bill Baker provides a history of steampunk comics and graphic novels.
My selections for the best stories in the book, with capsule summaries:
"The Giving Mouth" by Ian R. McLeod: more steam-fantasy than steampunk, McLeod's story takes a page from Michael Swanwick's seminal novel the "Iron Dragon's Daughter" and juxtaposes slag heaps, industrial decay, and magic in a coming -of-age tale with a melancholy, but effective, tone.
"The Steam Man of the Prairie and the Dark Rider" by Joe R. Lansdale: mixing steampunk with splatterpunk, Lansdale relates a violent encounter between the steam-driven robot from the popular 19th century boy's novels, and H. G. Wells's time traveler, made mutated and vampiric by too much travel in the 4th dimension. Readers will be laughing out loud at one paragraph, and squirming at the next.Read more ›
After the preface by editors Ann and Jeff Vandermeer, Steampunk starts off with an excellent essay by Jess Nevins about the origins and history of steampunk, including interesting details about the American Edisonades, references to other predecessors such as H.G. Wells and Jules Verne and to "proto-steampunk" like Michael Moorcock's The Warlord of the Air, an excerpt of which is used as the "Benediction" for the anthology. Most interestingly, the essay gives a partial explanation for the -punk suffix: "Steampunk, like all good punk, rebels against the system it portrays (Victorian London or something quite like it), critiquing its treatment of the underclass, its validation of the privileged at the cost of everyone else, its lack of mercy, its cutthroat capitalism. Like the punks, steampunk rarely offers a solution to the problems it decries -- for steampunk, there is no solution -- but for both punk and steampunk the criticism must be made before the change can come.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
the little premade descriptions above don't really work as this was a compilation book of many stories but good example of steampunkPublished 1 month ago by ceriousgamer
A very good synopsis of the history of steampunk. It explains steampunk's origins, and I guess that you could call it an anthology because it has several short stories and excerpts... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Chelsea Davis
get literature for steam-puck....reader... The VanderMeer are experts on lit of the genre...these are short stories and delightful I recommend in you are in to steam-puck lit you... Read morePublished 18 months ago by pattycake
I think a good part of the problem an editor faces when trying to compile an introduction to (insert genre) collection is defining the boundaries of that genre, and that can be a... Read morePublished 19 months ago by Stephen Mann