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Steam-Powered: Lesbian Steampunk Stories (Steam-Powered #1)

3.70  ·  Rating Details  ·  153 Ratings  ·  35 Reviews
The fifteen tantalizing, thrilling, and ingenious tales in Steam-Powered put a new spin on steampunk by putting women where they belong -- in the captain’s chair, the laboratory, and one another’s arms. Here you’ll meet inventors, diamond thieves, lonely pawn brokers, clockwork empresses, brilliant asylum inmates, and privateers in the service of San Francisco’s eccentric ...more
Kindle Edition, 378 pages
Published (first published January 2011)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 963)
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Althea Ann
Apr 12, 2011 Althea Ann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 07, 2011 Angela rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Say you're a big fan of steampunk. Say also that you think the world needs more queer short fiction--and in particular, F/F. If both of these apply to you, you absolutely need to check out Steam-Powered: Lesbian Steampunk Stories, a forthcoming anthology from Torquere Books. Editor JoSelle Vanderhooft kindly sent me an ARC of this antho, and I can happily say it was one of the more unusual anthologies I've read, not only because of the lesbian aspect but also because of the sheer diversity of st ...more
Sherwood Smith
This anthology surpassed my expectations, and those were high. While there were a few stories that didn't quite work for me, the majority were entertaining at the least. Two things I especially appreciated: the nifty worldbuilding, and the fact that women were central characters with agency and action. The stories were not all lesbian erotica--which would have been fine, but I really love variety. All kinds of relationships here, including tragic, with most being female.

Standouts for me were Rac
Loved this. One of the most entertaining anthologies I've ever read - only a couple of these really left me cold. My absolute favorites of the bunch were Rachel Manija Brown's Steel Rider (like a really trippy, lesbian Gundam set in the wild west!) and Mike Allen's Sleeping, Burning Life (amazing, surreal tale of gods and a warrior woman in a world made of gears!). Close runners up would be NK Jemisin's The Effluent Engine, Meridith Holmes's Love in the Time of Airships, Shweta Narayan's The Pad ...more
There are a handful of stand-out stories that I think make this collection worth checking out from the library, but overall I was disappointed. Too many of the stories were just plain badly written--and badly edited. A firmer editorial hand could easily have bumped most of the stories up to at least tolerable, and I think the authors were poorly served by its lack. (A better proofreader would have been welcomed, too; the random line breaks, misspellings, and underlined punctuation are distractin ...more
Apr 26, 2012 Miss rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So this is a collection of lesbian steampunk that makes a deliberate effort to take steampunk out of its normative setting. Not a single one of these is set in London. Several go outside of Europe entirely to set stories in Asia, Africa, and the Americas. Some stick to historical settings, others go for futuristic clockwork and cyborg style worlds. It is basically an awesome smorgasbord of diversity and I would've appreciated it for that even if the stories hadn't stood out as anything particula ...more
Steam-Powered is a collection of steampunk stories, all to some degree or another involving lesbian characters. As the introduction points out, it's a very diverse collection, with characters from all sorts of different cultures, and very few if any being purely about white Americans. That's one of the aims of the anthology, and it fulfils that very well.

I didn't love all the stories, and one or two of them bothered me by being a bit 'ooohh, exoticisation!"-y. Also, as someone who has sat throug
N. K. Jemisin's story "The Effluent Engines" is everything this collection says it wants to be: lesbian and steampunk and a pushback against the Victorian kyriarchy and a really good story. It was also posted on the author's website as part of A Story for Haiti and is well worth reading.

None of the other stories in this collection really stood out to me. (Well, "Copper for Trickster" drove me up the wall because Mikki Kendall does not understand how trickster figures work; does that count?) But
Apr 04, 2011 Cissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As an anthology, it's a pretty good one. I love steampunk, and I really appreciated that the stories here were not all about privileged white men.

For the most part, this collection is pretty good. The stories are interesting, although, oddly enough, they often feel the same. Many of them have very similar elements: feminist, trouser-wearing woman engineer (or assassin, or fighter) meets girl is really the hallmark of this collection. I don't think there were any stories about lesbians in established relationships, which was oddly disappointing. So much of the GLBTQ media out there focuses on young love and first experiences--a narrative t ...more
May 19, 2011 Sean rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Steam*Powered: Lesbian Steampunk Stories, an anthology edited by JoSelle Vanderhooft and published by Top Shelf, an imprint of Torquere Press Publishers.

This anthology consists of fifteen stories mixing lesbians and steampunk in various concentrations. For me, steampunk is mixing the untapped potential of the new sciences and technologies of the industrial age through the 1920s to the punk ethos from cyberpunk, in other words how the new technology changes and oppresses the world. By my definiti
Nov 11, 2011 Dorothea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance
I've tried to avoid spoilers. If you find any text that you can't read, it can be translated by copying and pasting it into the rot13 deciphering box, but only do so if you don't mind the extra information about the story.

While writing these reviews, I realized I find it much easier and more interesting to write criticism than praise! I'm not sure what to make of that. Overall, I am very, very pleased by this anthology. I've heard there will be another one, and I'm looking forward to it a lot! [
Cheyenne Blue
Apr 03, 2012 Cheyenne Blue rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories, glbtq
As a writer of short stories, often erotic lesbian short stories, I end up with a lot of anthologies to read. So it's not often I hunt down and purchase an anthology of lesbian short stories. But I read a review of this somewhere, was instantly intrigued, and purchased it.

While I love fantastical fiction, spec fic, sci fi and all things magical and marvelous, the only steam punk I'd read had been somewhat disappointing: all jolly boys together sort of thing, and women flitting through in the bac
Jun 01, 2012 Jocilyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Steam-powered v.1 is a compelling and thought-provoking anthology of Steampunk short stories with lesbian and otherwise female narrators. The writing styles and themes vary greatly, but the stories were all intentionally hand-picked and share some very refreshing overarching themes: non-Western, non-White, non-Christian, non-hetero, feminist and heroine-replete fantasy (one or two are rooted in actual historical events). Although I didn’t immediately pick up on it, Vanderhooft has intentionally ...more
Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides
There are some excellent stories in this anthology. My favorites were probably Beth Wodzinski's "Suffer Water" ("Not everything needs to be fixed.") and Sara M. Harvey's "Where the Ocean Meets the Sky." (It's got Emperor Norton!) But when I got about 2/3 of the way through the anthology, I sort of, er, ran out of steam. The stories started to blur together a little, with the exception of Shweta Narayan's "The Padishah Begum's Reflections." And that one was a little more non-linear than I was in ...more
Dec 20, 2014 Emelda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
SO GOOD! I would give it 4.5 stars if I could. Maybe even 5 if I hadn't felt like the last three stories dragged a bit. Queer ladies doin' steampunk-y things (and each other)! The only improvement I thought could happen while reading it was if there have been a butch-on-butch story. I was very happy with the variety of stories, and the mostly women of color characters!
A great collection of erotically charged Steampunk stories. Some very graphic others with more emotional content, all well written and vividly realised.

Well done Torquere Press and Ms Vanderhooft!
Apr 29, 2011 Poppy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
First half better than the second.
Pablo Martinez
Nov 24, 2015 Allison rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was excellent.

Anthologies can really be hit or miss, but pretty much every story here was a hit. Creative, original, and action-packed, these authors delivered a smorgasbord of delectable stories.

In short, this is truly the perfect example of how literature representing a range of genders/ethnicities/worldviews can strengthen the collective imagination in rich and wonderful ways.

Awesome work!
John Carter McKnight
I can't remember the last time I read an SF anthology of such high and consistent quality. The stories are dazzlingly imaginative, compelling, engrossing. The multicultural breadth of the works is one of the anthology's strongest points: we meet spies from a free, high-tech Haiti operating in the Confederacy, clockwork empresses of India, mecha-riding bounty hunters in the Wild West. Particularly for steampunk, which tends so strongly to the upper-class Victorian, this diversity is a huge treat. ...more
Sep 24, 2014 Sima rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A few very good stories ie N.K. Jemison, Georgina Bruce, Sheta Narayan. Others are a bit uneven. The anthology largely stays clear of traditional british centered steampunk with a number of stories set in North America and Asia. This is a refreshing change. Interesting enough for me to seek out the second volume.
1. “The Effluent Engine” by N.K. Jemisin

2. “Brilliant” by Georgina Bruce

3. “Owl Song” by D.L. MacInnes

4. “Where the Ocean Meets the Sky” by Sara M. Harvey

5. “Suffer Water” by Beth Wodzinski

6. “Steel Rider” by Rachel Manija Brown

7. “Truth and Life” by Shira Lipkin

8. “The Hands That Feed” by Matthew Kressel

9. “Love in the Time of Airships” by Meredith Holmes

10. “Under the Dome” by Teresa Wymore

11. “Clockwork and Music” by Tara Sommers

12. “Copper for Trickster” by Mikki Kendall

13. “Sleepless, Bu
Kate  K. F.
This anthology was recommended to me by friends and I found it an amazing read. The stories span the globe from India to New Orleans to South America and deal with complex issues of race, love and binding all of them women creating their own lives in steampunk worlds. In terms of how the romances are written, the writers go from small intimacies to gorgeous erotica that at times made me rather conscious of where I was reading. For any lovers of the steampunk genre, this anthology is a must read ...more
Sidsel Pedersen
Jan 28, 2016 Sidsel Pedersen marked it as reading-collection  ·  review of another edition
"The Effluent Engine" by N. K. Jemisin
As always Jemisin's characters tackle privilege had on. It's refreshing. Now I want to know more of Haiti history and of the revolution.
Mar 23, 2015 Jillian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Two things I loved about these stories:

1. Female protagonists doing weird/cool/unusual/unstereotypical things. Mathematicians and gearheads! But even the women who were princesses/goddesses were written interestingly. None of this was terribly deep, they are short stories after all, it was just fun to read about female characters doing neat things.

2. Zero of these stories are set in Victorian Era London. India, North Africa, New Orleans, a mental institution - these are great steampunk settings.
Polenth Blake
There were a few stories I particularly liked. "To Follow The Waves" by Amal El-Mohtar was one, set in Syria with dream crafting technology. The post-apocalyptic Western "Suffer Water" by Beth Wodzinski was also a fun story. Overall though, a lot of the stories didn't really hold my attention.

The Kindle edition has no formatting, making it harder to read. If you're going to buy it, the print edition is probably a better bet.

Review from:
A well-written, entertaining read with a new spin on a popular genre. I particularly liked the alternative perspectives of using settings and characters from North Africa, India, the American Southwest and elsewhere in contrast to the usual European settings for steampunk. Some particular standout stories for me included N.K. Jemison's "The Effluent Engine,"Tara Summer's "Clockwork and Music"and Shira Lipkin's "Truth and Life."
A few stories didn't work as well for me but overall I think this is
Jan 08, 2014 Emma rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I still have very mixed feelings about this anthology. Some of it's more romance, some is more steampunk. And some of the romance veers toward erotic. It's interesting, though and the stories are fascinating because there are a lot of chromatic characters and the one about the characters with mental health challenges was surprising in that while it used a lot of fitting clinical/time-bound sensibilities, still came out as a recovery story of sorts.
Jane Shaffer
There are some very interesting and original Steampunk ideas raised in these stories. They are generally based outside the British Empire, which is refreshing. A couple are actually good stories whose heroines happen to be lesbians and there is romance, but that is not the focus of the stories. The rest are, basically, Steampunk soft-core lesbian porn and only touch lightly on the complex worlds they have created.
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A dramaturg and something of a lapsed playwright, Vanderhooft works as a freelance journalist, poet and fiction writer. Her work has appeared or will soon appear in print and online in such venues as Aofie’s Kiss, Byzarium, Cabinet des Fées, Jabberwocky, Not One of Us, MYTHIC, Mythic Delirium, Reflections Edge, Star*Line and several others.

To date, she has published seven poetry books: 10,000 Seve
More about JoSelle Vanderhooft...

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Steam-Powered (2 books)
  • Steam-Powered 2: More Lesbian Steampunk Stories

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