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Steampunk II: Steampunk Reloaded Paperback – November 15, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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.”
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.”
"This new collection of previously published stories spotlights some of the best short work in the subgenre."
—San Francisco Chronicle
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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*
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Pretty much what you expect. Not great literature, but a fun escape.Published 7 months ago by Mickeymc40
The second installment of the Steampunk anthology series is a very different beast, production-wise, than the first volume, with graphic elements, pictures, photomontages and... Read morePublished 21 months ago by Stephen Mann
This anthology contains 22 stories plus the unofficial history of Steampunk. While I recognize some of the authors – Gibson – Priest – Baxter – Kiernan, I was not familiar with... Read morePublished on January 29, 2014 by fastreader
In the introduction to this collection the VanderMeers do not give a clear definition of what is steampunk. Read morePublished on September 17, 2013 by Ray Garraty
This is a second anthology of essays and fiction about Steampunk. This collection is especially pretty, and includes lots of black and white illustrations. Good job!Published on February 13, 2013 by Mary Lou Sullivan
It is used a bit but still great. No ripped pages and no creases on the cover considering that its paper-backed. It came in quick and in time, glad I got it here.Published on January 23, 2013 by Julie Yang
I read this several times, it's an excellent book to get the latest info on the subject, it's a good read!Published on January 4, 2013 by Neal LaFrance
Compared to the first Steampunk anthology I consider this one a massive improvement. Although I thought a few stories did deviate from what I consider true Steampunk I enjoyed all... Read morePublished on December 24, 2011 by James D. Crabtree