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The Steampunk Bible: An Illustrated Guide to the World of Imaginary Airships, Corsets and Goggles, Mad Scientists, and Strange Literature Hardcover – May 1, 2011

4.4 out of 5 stars 141 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Jeff VanderMeer is an award-winning author and coeditor of a bestselling anthology of Steampunk literature. 

S. J. Chambers is an independent Poe scholar focusing on his importance to genre literature like Steampunk.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Harry N. Abrams; 6th edition (May 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810989581
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810989580
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.9 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (141 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #74,591 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By R. Eddy on December 5, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I bought this sight unseen at a Steampunk convention just days after it's release. It is very lovely, full of pretty photos and some nice articles. I have to say it does try to cover a lot of ground, and there is just no way to cover everything, even with as ambitious an undertaking as a genre "bible"... It manages to be pretty comprehensive, even if you can actually get a lot more details on every little bit online, it would be sort of preposterous to ask that a printed book cover the vastness of the internet resources on a subject as individual and hard to pin down as Steampunk. What disappointed me, really, was the most un-steampunk tonality of many of the articles. Every convention and event I have attended featured friendly, outgoing, DIY-loving people eager to help each other and share their crafting knowledge, musical interests, literary loves... many sections of this "bible" take a very demeaning tone, describing what is "absolutely NOT steampunk" and telling you what you "MUST NOT" call steampunk-- as though a collection of people who have more financially invested in a fantasy genre than you have the right to dictate how you should view the entire movement. For example, the section by "reknowned" author Cathrynne M. Valente is particularly condescending and vitriolic; mainly decrying the use of *gears* in artwork and fashion as childish and overdone, implying that there is a frosty clique of elite and erudite steampunks tittering behind their hands at anyone who is so uncouth as to wear a *gear* on their clothing. Oddly, this snide little section didn't stop the editors from including an awful lot of gear imagery in the book. It's funny, another reviewer also felt that some of these people were WAY TOO INTO IT....Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
Vandermeer's neo-vintage gem is more than worthwhile for the photography and art alone. The images have me inspired and scrambling for sketchpad and charcoal. The steampunk history and bibliography inside are worthy treasures as well for any speculative Victorianistas out there.
Right. My foolproof plan: fire up the armored dirigible, make speed to the bookstore, and lower Miss Quidsworth to purchase a couple of copies.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Without a doubt, this book lives up to its name. Inside the unbelievably beautiful cover--it lacks only the gilt-edged pages many bibles have--is an excellent overview of Steampunk, in its incarnations as a literary and film genre, a clothing aesthetic, and a sub-culture, from its roots and origins to its possible future. In addition, there are special sections and closer looks at certain topics written by well-known contributors, including a project you can do yourself. And as if that isn't enough, the book is also chock full of more beautiful pictures (some of them are even of beautiful book covers themselves). There are contraptions and costumes galore, in full color--or sepia-tones, as the case may be!

This is a pretty quick and easy read even if you do actually read all the words, which I recommend, but it's very quick and definitely still worth it if all you want to do is look at the pretty pictures. I was looking forward to this book so much (on a boring day at work, I got an email from Amazon that it had shipped and I whispered "Steampunk Bible" over and over again to myself for probably five minutes...or maybe more) that it would have been nearly impossible for it to live up to my expectations--and yet, apart from the afore-mentioned lack of gilt-edged pages, it did! I loved it. I kind of hope it will soon be outdated by a huge influx of new Steampunk and Steampunk-related materials into our culture and our bookstores (and maybe clothing stores), but for now, this book is a must have.
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Format: Hardcover
A glorious book. It's not a cheat's guide to Steampunk -- which I admit I kind of feared when I read the title.

It talks about Steampunk and the people who create and enjoy that world. It starts from first principles, from the values underlying people's involvement.

It's a book about choosing how you'll live in the world. What do we hope for the future? What do we fear?

It's a celebration of ingenuity and creativity, a celebration of living with joy with values and behaviours aligned, and within a community.

What amazed me was how much it prompted me to look at my world anew; the values I live with and how they align with my lifestyle. And I'm not a steampunk--maybe I should be?

Bruce Sterling has a couple of pages at the beginning of the book which are gold. I could quote the whole lot, but here's two sentences:

"Steampunk's key lessons are not about the past. They are about the instability and obsolescence of our own times." p.12
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Format: Hardcover
I'll disclaim that I'm not fully vested in the Steampunk world, but I quite enjoy the style and mindset. The main reason I wanted this book was because of the Weta Workshop folks being included (Dr. Grordbort's Infallible Aether Oscillators). Having spent some time perusing this work, I find it to be a great overview of Steampunk, with some fascinating references and editorial input. I don't know if I'd call it definitive, but it's certainly a joy to sift through, even for someone like me with only casual interest.
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