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The Steampunk Trilogy Paperback – November 10, 1997


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Paperback, November 10, 1997
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 354 pages
  • Publisher: Running Press; First ed edition (November 10, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568581025
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568581026
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,190,654 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Queen Victoria as a trollop-in-training whose newt-human clone serves as stand-in during Victoria's trysts? Walt Whitman as lusty seducer of an only partly reticent Emily Dickinson who loses the "Keys to the Inner Chambers of her Heart" to him? This fine and funny madness is "steampunk," a branch of cyberpunk fiction that locates itself in historical venues rather than in the future. Paul Di Filippo has certainly done his homework: the settings as well as the language emulate the times and, in Dickinson's and Whitman's cases, their poetic language, which asserts itself into their conversational dialogue and thoughts at most unusual but appropriate moments. Dickinson's "Universe Entire" is disrupted by a naked Whitman bathing in her rain barrel and singing his "body electric." But will Dickinson's "White Election" remain intact?

From Publishers Weekly

The term "steampunk" has come to intimate a subgenre of work set in a fantastic 19th century characterized by the inhumanity wrought by bogus science and a fanatical embrace of scientific method. Di Filippo's first book is a collection of three novellas that jumbles science and pseudoscience into an interesting, if not always completely successful, melange. The narratives are united not only by their reliance on the occult?mysticism dominates "Walt and Emily" while Lovecraft's monsters appear in the previously published "Hottentots"?but also by their focus on female sexuality. "Victoria" replaces the Queen of England with a licentious salamander, while "Walt and Emily" features a robust poetic encounter between Ms. Dickinson and Mr. Whitman. Even the weakest of the pieces here?"Hottentots," in which nothing is learned while much credulity is stretched?features amusing faux-Victorian prose worthy of Anne Rice ("Like a Maine sawmill, like an asthmatic platypus... like a Michigan beaver... uneasily winter-dreaming of Ojibway hunters led by a wild Chief Snapping Turtle, Mister Dogberry roughly rasped and snorted through the night, making it nigh impossible for Agassiz to get any rest") and enough "scientific" pasquinades to satisfy the Luddite in anyone.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

I have to admit, it made absolutely no sense, and it was never explained.
GeoX
The story is actually somewhat humorous, but I kept expecting a little more of it - and then ending of the story is somewhat abrupt.
Steven Warfield
If you like your steampunk really bizarre, then this might be the book for you.
Laura Jennison

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By E. K. M. Busch on March 16, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book (actually three stories) is one of the most clever pieces of Victoriana I've ever read. I looked for it forever before ordering it, and it was worth the wait. I don't know how to describe these fascinating stories which I still think about long after I read the book. The end of each story is sort of like listening to a piece of music without the last note... there's just a feeling of... unresolvedness or frustration or something... about each one. They are sort of like a Victorian, supernatural Annie Hall... a perfect, suspended, dangling little snapshot in time. And the author perfectly captures his characters... from their supernatural alienness, to their stubbornly anti-anachronistic attitudes about race, empire, and sex/gender. (And I say kudos to that - while I love anachronistic Victorian adventuresses in fiction, it's nice to see an author actually acknowledge the ugliness of an idealized era, normally glossed over in such works. Plus, the unlikeable antihero gets his well-deserved comeuppance anyway.)
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Jason Mierek on June 14, 2006
Format: Paperback
An interesting if not great book, The Steampunk Trilogy relates three unconnected tales about a quirky, early Victorian world where genetically engineered salamanders reign and where nuclear train engines and "ideoplasm"-powered transdimensional prairie schooners haunt the imagination. DeFilippo's success here is in the details---the fustian prose echoes that of the 19th century, as does the fiery libertine poetry, while the characters never quite lose a certain postmodern knowingness, a glint in the eye as it were.

Alas, he never seems to weave these details into a memorable story. Two days after completing it, and "Hottentots" (the second of the three stories comprising the trilogy) is receding in my memory. The other two stories, "Victoria" and "Walt and Emily," were more compelling, but only marginally so.

Good for checking out of the library or buying from a used-book store.
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Format: Kindle Edition
The Steampunk Trilogy by Paul Di Filippo was published July 8, 2014 by Open Road Media Sci-Fi & Fantasy. It is as it says a trilogy of sort of steampunk short novels or novellas. If you like your steampunk really bizarre, then this might be the book for you. Unfortunately, it wasn't the book for me.

I did like the first novella in the book entitled, "Victoria." The second novella, "Hottentots," I found increasingly difficult to read. The main character is not at all sympathetic. He is racist and sexist. I just found it very unpleasant to read about him. In the third short novel, "Walt & Emily," the author got several details about Emily Dickinson right at first, but I had a great deal of trouble imagining this famous recluse going on such an adventure when she finds it difficult to make it to her brother's house next door. I just couldn't suspend my disbelief quite that far.

So, while I know there are other people out there who enjoyed this book and I am sure there will be others in the future, unfortunately I am not one of them. If you enjoy your steampunk really bizarre, perhaps you should give it a shot. I gave it 2 stars. I didn't really like it.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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Format: Paperback
These stories were quite thought-provoking. I really enjoyed the story about Victoria...a fascinating take on some pseudo-historical figures. The alternate history feel of the story allowed for some shortcuts in characterization that worked well. I also enjoyed the second story in the book. The main character is appallingly racists and offensive, but the action around him shows him for the fool he is and it all works out well in the end...sort of. I found the final story less unique but still worth a read.

I give this book a B.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Paul Di Filippo’s The Steampunk Trilogy contains three bizarre and occasionally humorous novels taking the reader from Queen Victoria’s amphibian doppelganger to racist naturalists and black magic, and finally the interdimensional love story of Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman.

I was first introduced to Paul Di Filippo through his surreal short story collection Shuteye for the Timebroker. The Steampunk Trilogy continues his tradition of the bizarre and the weird. The first novella, simply entitled “Victoria” follows Cosmo Cowperhwait the inventor of a human-amphibian hybrid that bares an uncanny resemblance to Her Majesty, Queen Victoria, as well as an insatiable sexual appetite. This is a satire of Victorian mores, politics, and, of course, of the stereotypical mad scientist. Cosmo finds himself embroiled in a plot at the highest levels of the British Court, fights in a duel, and find brief passion.

The second novella is “Hottentots” is less outrageously funny, at least on the surface. This is in part due to the fact that the story is told, for the most part through the eyes of Swiss-born naturalist Louis Agassiz, who is apart from pompous and self-aggrandizing, also a proud unrepentant racist. As a result, Di Filippo adopts a more satirical tone as Agassiz confronts anarchists, voodoo, academic maneuverings, swordfights, and a Lovecraftian horror all without loosing a hint of his arrogance or smug assurances.

The final novella, “Walt and Emily,” follows Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman’s blossoming love as they join a spiritualist and scientific expedition into the afterlife. More than either of the previous stories, “Walt and Emily” delights in literary references and games.
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