Monday, November 21, 2011


Steampunk!: An Anthology of Fantastically Rich and Strange Stories  edited by Kelly Link and Gavin J. Grant

Imagine an alternate universe where romance and technology reign. Where tinkerers and dreamers craft and re-craft a world of automatons, clockworks, calculating machines, and other marvels that never were. Where scientists and schoolgirls, fair folk and Romans, intergalactic bandits, utopian revolutionaries, and intrepid orphans solve crimes, escape from monstrous predicaments, consult oracles, and hover over volcanoes in steam-powered airships. 

Here, fourteen masters of speculative fiction, including two graphic storytellers, embrace the genre’s established themes and refashion them in surprising ways and settings as diverse as Appalachia, ancient Rome, future Australia, and alternate California. Visionaries Kelly Link and Gavin J. Grant have invited all-new explorations and expansions, taking a genre already rich, strange, and inventive in the extreme and challenging contributors to remake it from the ground up. The result is an anthology that defies its genre even as it defines it. -Plot summary borrowed from Goodreads

I've been interested in Steampunk for a long time in a sort of vague "well my friends are into it, and I like Victorian clothing and twisty copper/bronze metalwork, so maybe I like Steampunk?" way. When I saw this anthology on the shelf, and noticed that it included stories by some of my favorite authors (Garth Nix, Holly Black, Libba Bray), I thought I would give it a shot. I'm glad I did.

There is a great mix of stories here: some funny, some adventurous, several at least slightly creepy and nearly all will kickstart your imagination. There is something for everyone here, and I really enjoyed that the editors included two graphic stories. If you are already a fan of the genre, or want to get a better feel for it, I would definitely recommend this anthology.

NB: I am soooo not a Steampunk expert. From my limited knowledge, I can tell you that you might enjoy the genre/movement/fashion trend/scene if:

-You are a fan of Westerns, Sci-Fi, and/or Period Pieces in general
-You enjoyed The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (film adaptation, not graphic novel), The Golden Compass (film version),  Howl's Moving Castle (the Hiyao Miyazaki film adaptation), Sherlock Holmes (the one with Robert Downey Jr.), Wild Wild West, Last Exile, or other works from this list
-Corsets and full skirts sound like fun everyday wear (I know they do to me!)
-You enjoy top hats, goggles, pocket watches, bronze, copper, brass, tubes, gears, automata, clockwork, difference engines, alternate histories, and of course, steampowered mechanical... things

For more info on the genre, check out or go to Etsy and just do a search for "Steampunk." There are thousands of examples of gorgeous hand-made jewelry, fashion, statues, paintings, odd little things with gears, and more.


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