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Steampunk II: Steampunk Reloaded Paperback – November 15, 2010


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Product Details

  • Series: Steampunk
  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Tachyon Publications; 1 edition (November 15, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616960019
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616960018
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #207,019 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. The dynamic VanderMeers follow 2008's Steampunk with this engaging anthology of 23 stories (three original to this volume, including Jeffrey Ford's "Dr. Lash Remembers"), two essays (including one by Gail Carriger), and a roundtable interview, all of which define, deepen, and demonstrate the clockwork beauty of automaton-laden science fiction. Standouts include Tanith Lee's madness-inspired "The Persecution Machine"; Caitlín R. Kiernan's hauntingly beautiful tale of "The Steam Dancer (1896)"; Marc Laidlaw's photographic encyclopedia of "Great Breakthroughs in Darkness"; Sydney Padua's comic "Lovelace and Babbage: Origins, with Salamander"; the frightening Pinocchio of Cherie Priest's "Tanglefoot"; William Gibson's proto-steampunk tale "The Gernsback Continuum"; and "Flying Fish ÿPrometheus' (A Fantasy of the Future)" by Vilhelm Bergsøe, a Danish contemporary of Jules Verne and H.G. Wells. Fabulous interior design by John Coulthart completes this worthy sequel to its well-regarded predecessor. (Nov.) (c)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

“The dynamic VanderMeers follow 2008’s Steampunk with this engaging anthology of 23 stories (three original to this volume, including Jeffrey Ford’s ‘Dr. Lash Remembers’), two essays (including one by Gail Carriger), and a roundtable interview, all of which define, deepen, and demonstrate the clockwork beauty of automaton-laden science fiction. Standouts include Tanith Lee’s madness-inspired ‘The Persecution Machine’; Caitlín R. Kiernan’s hauntingly beautiful tale of ‘The Steam Dancer (1896)’; Marc Laidlaw’s photographic encyclopedia of ‘Great Breakthroughs in Darkness’; Sydney Padua’s comic ‘Lovelace and Babbage: Origins, with Salamander’; the frightening Pinocchio of Cherie Priest’s ‘Tanglefoot’; William Gibson’s proto-steampunk tale ‘The Gernsback Continuum’; and ‘Flying Fish Prometheus (A Fantasy of the Future)’ by Vilhelm Bergsøe, a Danish contemporary of Jules Verne and H. G. Wells. Fabulous interior design by John Coulthart completes this worthy sequel to its well-regarded predecessor.”
Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Steampunk is a genre for thinkers, and this book proves the point. The stories inside are beautiful, often lyrical, frequently disturbing, always exciting, and occasionally even funny, but they’re also dense, literary, and trusting of the reader to be smart enough to ‘get’ it.”
New York Journal of Books

“Steampunk fans will want to add this to their personal collections; libraries owning the first volume should round out their holdings.”
Library Journal

“The VanderMeers have, once again, captured the essence of the genre.... This book is a must-have collection for fans of steampunk and those who love a dark, rousing tale of what could have been.”
Tangent

"This new collection of previously published stories spotlights some of the best short work in the subgenre."
San Francisco Chronicle

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Each writer has their own style and idea of what steampunk means.
Amazon Customer
I thought The Cast-Iron Kid to be particularly good and very Steampunk in that it involves a mechanized gunfighter in the Old West.
James D. Crabtree
I would recommend this book to anyone who was wanting to read some great steampunk literature.
B. A.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Stefan VINE VOICE on November 16, 2010
Format: Paperback
Steampunk II: Steampunk Reloaded is the second steampunk anthology edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer, following 2008's first installment. It contains about twice as many stories as its predecessor, but unlike the first collection the quality is more uneven here, resulting in a less impressive but still fascinating anthology that should please fans of the genre.

While the first anthology only contained one story I was less than happy with, there are at least four or five in Steampunk II: Steampunk Reloaded that I could have done without. There are also a few stories here that are at best marginally connected to steampunk, although that probably depends more on how you define steampunk. After all, there are probably as many definitions of steampunk as there are readers. Maybe the best way to define the genre is simply not to, instead following the famous old "definition" of obscenity: "I know it when I see it."

Still, even if you go by that rule, "The Gernsback Continuum" by William Gibson, while a brilliant story that everyone should read, hardly feels like steampunk, unless you consider "any story that imposes science fiction tropes on an earlier period of history" a valid definition. Regardless, it's hard to complain about a story that's so famous and so excellent. Another example of a great story that seems to be at best peripheral to steampunk is Stephen Baxter's "The Unblinking Eye," which feels more like an elaborate alternate history that happens to have airships in it. Similarly, "The Unbecoming of Virgil Smythe" by Ramsey Shehadeh is a quirky and highly entertaining story that mixes Murder on the Orient Express with trans-dimensional aliens, but if it didn't happen to be set on a steam train, I doubt anyone would even consider it as steampunk.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Brian K. Miller on April 13, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a pretty good collection of contemporary Steampunk short stories. The broad, all-encompassing and often confusing range of the modern "steampunk" movement is captured here, both the good and the bad. Established writers like Tanith Lee exist alongside virtual unknowns like Vilhelm Bergsoe, and new authors with rapidly growing fan bases like Cherie Priest and Margo Lanagan.

Two stories that stand out from the pack and are deserving of special notice are "Tanglefoot" by Cherie Priest and "The Cast-Iron Kid" by Andrew Knighton. "Tanglefoot" is a dark story set in an insane asylum of the kind no longer found in any modern nation. The story centers on a young boy who lives in the asylum's basement with a once-famous inventor who is slowly descending into madness. Using the inventor's cast offs, the boy creates a clockwork playmate. At that point the story feels upbeat and optimistic, despite the dreary setting. However, at that point the story also takes an awful turn for the worse when the clockwork playmate becomes possessed by something best described as a demon (although the author never once uses that term). Overall the tale brings to mind both Poe and Lovecraft, echoing classic horror vibes in a way that many young modern readers might find deeply disturbing. "The Cast-Iron Kid", on the other hand, is a western, sort of. A small frontier town builds an iron gunfighter to both challenge and destroy violent western villains known to be fast, accurate, and deadly. The town uses the gold, cash, and other valuables recovered from the dead villains along with any reward money to both maintain their iron gunfighter and fatten the town's coffers.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on February 5, 2012
Format: Paperback
Anthologies are hard to judge. There are over 20 authors jam packed into Steampunk II and each deserves their own little section, but I don't have room here. What can be judged is the editing of the book. Editors have to take the raw stories and make sure they run smoothly together while also allowing each piece to have its' own opportunity to stand out. In that aspect, the book does a respectable job and the team of Ann and Jeff VanderMeer display their expertise here.
Like the name implies, Steampunk II is a sequel to the VanderMeer's first Steampunk book. The book is filled with some famous writers like Cherie Priest and William Gibson and some you won't recognize unless you are a hardcore fan. Each writer has their own style and idea of what steampunk means. Not everyone has the same interpretation of the term. The book also has a collection of nonfictional essays written by writers that explore the essence and meaning of Steampunk.
One of my favorite fictional works was by a Danish author named Vilhelm Bergsøe. He died in 1911 and this story has never published in English until now. Vilhelm's story seamlessly fits into this anthology and is completely unnoticeable surrounded by modern day writers. If it wasn't for the paragraph introduction in the beginning, I would never have realized it.
Steampunk has long been argued over the last decade, is it dead or is it alive, and with great writers out there making books like this, who cares?

*Originally published for San Francisco/Sacramento Book Review*
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