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(Steampunk #1)

3.53  ·  Rating details ·  2,162 ratings  ·  212 reviews
Replete with whimsical mechanical wonders and charmingly anachronistic settings, this pioneering anthology gathers a brilliant blend of fantastical stories. Steampunk originates in the romantic elegance of the Victorian era and blends in modern scientific advances—synthesizing imaginative technologies such as steam-driven robots, analog supercomputers, and ultramodern diri ...more
Paperback, 373 pages
Published May 1st 2008 by Tachyon Publications
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Benjamin Thomas
I like Steampunk. Unfortunately, if I didn't know that already, and had to base my judgement on this collection of short stories, then I would probably conclude that I really don't like Steampunk. I mean, I like the concepts of most of these stories, at least those I could figure out after getting past all of the "look how smart I am as a writer" entries. But the execution of those concepts was lacking in fine story-telling technique. This is something I'm finding with way too many of these scie ...more
Bryan Alexander
Nov 02, 2008 rated it really liked it
The VanderMeers have assembled a fine anthology. It surveys the steampunk world through multiple approaches, genres, and voices. Short stories work through alternate history, American tall tale, mad science satire, Victorian labor politics, detective story, and New Weird, ranging tonally from whimsy to melancholy and horror.

Let me note a few standouts.

Mary Gentle's "A Sun in the Attic" offers splendidly economical world-building without sacrificing characterization and story arc. It sets up an i
Sep 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: steampunk
Jess Nevin's introduction clarifies Steampunk's development as a "-punk" reaction to the science-forward, lone inventor stories littering dime novels and later influences, and the original use of the Victorian era as a one-step-removed stand-in for the modern day, for the purposes of social commentary. Like with the Cyberpunk movement, Nevin asserts that his social commentary has been consumed by the trappings, in this case the Victoriana of brass goggles and, for some reason, impractical airshi ...more
Steampunk is an anthology of, well, steampunk stories, edited by Ann and Jeff Vandermeer. If you hurry, you can still get to this first anthology before the second one, Steampunk II: Steampunk Reloaded, appears in mid November. Based on the quality of the stories in this collection, I heartily recommend checking it out, especially if you’ve been a bit bemused (or possibly amused) by all the people wearing odd Victorian costumes at SFF conventions nowadays, or if you have at best a vague idea of ...more
May 17, 2019 rated it liked it
A collection of over a dozen short stories diverse and unique. Some I truly enjoyed while others left me confused. If you like the steampunk genre or are new to it, this anthology is a good place to start.
Aug 01, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
This anthology was just what I wanted for summer reading!

Now I probably should preface this by saying I have never read any Verne or Wells, so perhaps there were references to past stories and characters of which I was/am unaware.

I found "The Selene Gardening Society" by Molly Brown delightful. "The Giving Mouth" by Ian R. MacLeod was riveting but the end was a thrown-together disappointment. "Victoria" by Paul Di Filippo was probably my favourite. "Reflected Light" (Rachel E Pollack) was intri
Seizure Romero
This is my first foray into the genre, and after the first three stories I can call it a moderate success. I've entertained a somewhat romanticized idea of what Steampunk should be since first becoming aware of it, and while quite different from each other, these stories haven't strayed too far afield from that idea.

Update/retraction: The above has to be one of the most fluffy, pointless and banal sentences I've written since high school. It takes up space, yet says nothing. I apologize to any w
Louis Skipper
Mar 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
I'm hoping to incorporate literary steampunk into my next book, and this book has been quite helpful in that regard.
Jul 19, 2009 rated it liked it
A fun look at this sub-genre of science fiction. Like any anthology it was uneven, some great reads, some okay a couple clunkers.
Very disappointed to discover that Joe Lansdale's story was one of the clunkers.
Victoria was fun and walked a fine line between amusing adventure and satire, the 'Selene Gardening society' was a great mini-sequel to the Jules Verne novel, the first story had a decent adventerous feel to it and the one featuring the woman with two husbands created an interesting alterna
I don't want to discourage others from reading this book. It was hit and miss, but that's just how anthologies are. In my case there was a little too much miss, and I've lost all enthusiasm for finishing the thing.

Some of the stories, like Ted Chiang's 'Seventy-Two Letters,' I loved, and some, like "The Martian Agent" and "Sun in the Attic," I liked quite a bit, but others were boring and one the worst was painful to finish. The latter being "The Steam Man of the Prairie and the Dark Rider," wh
Aug 05, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, steampunk, 2012
solid collection of steampunk stories along with a few articles on the relationship of the genre with pop culture.
Paul Genesse
Jan 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Review of the World Fantasy Award Nominated Anthology, Steampunk (Tachyon Publications, 2008) edited by Ann & Jeff Vandermeer

What is steampunk? Well, it’s a sub-genre of science-fiction and fantasy that is totally awesome. Imagine Victorian era elegance and modern technology with a dash of rebellion, mashed together into crazy tales about steam-driven robots, dirigibles, insane inventors, and lots of well-mannered chaps in waistcoats living in an alternate history Earth—or maybe not Earth . . .

Christopher Mocella
Jan 13, 2010 rated it really liked it
If it wasn't obvious from the outset, this is a collection of short stories and excerpts (and, in my humble opinion, a few vignettes) from the "steampunk" genre of fiction, across several variations. Some of the stories fit neatly into the clockwork-machines-with-Victorian-manners archetype, but many stray from that, expanding what "steampunk" defines itself as. In any case, it's good stuff.

Warlord Of The Air - forgettable. I hear that the full novel is pretty good?

Lord Kelvin's Machine - The co
Jan 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: sci fi fans
Recommended to Joyce by: my son & a couple of fb friends
Shelves: sci-fi
Unbeknownst to myself, I am a longtime steampunk fan. The Wild, Wild West and The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. were favorite TV shows of mine and my son Peter introduced me to anime and Miyazaki's Castle in the Sky and Spirited Away which, according to an essay by Rick Klaw in Steampunk a short story anthology edited by Ann & Jeff Vandermeer, are all variations of the steampunk genre.

If readers have never heard the term "steampunk," as I hadn't until recently, steampunk is a sub-genre of
Dec 21, 2009 rated it liked it
Not bad for a collection of Steampunk short stories and other excerpts and a couple of surveys. It's only fitting that the latter came at the end, more as recommendations of further reading than anything else.

I think I've come to realize Steampunk is a genre that is much more broad than I once thought. A couple of these stories seem to fall more along the lines of the New Weird territory, which probably has everything to do with Jeff Vandermeer being co-editor. His picks for Steampunk show that,
Michael Haydel
Apr 01, 2009 rated it really liked it
This was my first foray into both steampunk and anthologies.

I've always loved the idea and execution of steampunk, and wanted a good gateway drug into the literary form of it, and this anthology seemed like the way to go. Turns out I was more or less right.

Like any collection of works, there were some that were better than others, but overall, this was a great introduction into the world of dirigibles, steam powered technology, greatcoats, and general Victorian-era goodness.

One of the highlights
Fantasy Literature
Jun 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
Steampunk is an anthology of, well, steampunk stories, edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer. If you hurry, you can still get to this first anthology before the second one, Steampunk II: Steampunk Reloaded, appears in mid November. Based on the quality of the stories in this collection, I heartily recommend checking it out, especially if you’ve been a bit bemused (or possibly amused) by all the people wearing odd Victorian costumes at SFF conventions nowadays, or if you have at best a vague idea of ...more
Sep 02, 2008 rated it liked it
Ok, I just checked this out of the library, mostly so I could say I'm reading something with Moorcock in it. But if you see me wearing a trenchcoat, goggles, and an iPhone covered in brass gears and typewriter keys, please shoot me in the face. Preferably with a derringer shaped like a ray gun.

And it was about as good as I expected, a couple of good stories, some nonstarters, and some unreadable pap. I liked the one about Russia.
Jul 27, 2009 rated it did not like it
I picked this book up out of curiousity. I've seen some steampunk costumes and paraphenalia and was really intrigued. I'd also been told that Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials series was part of this genre. Unfortunately, I was not as impressed with the stories in this collection as I was with the costumes or the Pullman series. The book started off with an adventure story or two but the later stories got bogged down in their own pretentiousness.
Craig Leimkuehler
Despite being around for more the twenty years its easy to see why its largely ignored after reading the drivel in this collection of Steampunk stories. As often is the case, there are some mediocre stories, some tolerable tales and a couple that are strong vote for illiteracy. I have not the time or the inclanation to berate each author but rest assured I will not be seeking out their work. You would be better off scrubbing floors than reading this book.
PJ Trenton
Dec 19, 2009 rated it really liked it
An interesting and eclectic mix of short stories from a who's who of the Steampunk genre. I have actually read almost nothing in this realm so this was an great way to learn a little more about a literary genre that I am becoming more and more familiar with while working on Primgraph magazine and hanging with friends.
Nov 17, 2008 rated it really liked it
Awesome, awesome, awesome. A good introduction for people who don't really know what steampunk's all about, a tasty buffet for those who do. The "further reading" lists at the end is a goldmine.
Jonathan Jacobs
Oct 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing
For some reason - a lot of people don't like this book, but for me this is has become the defacto genre setting anthology. Short stories by the masters - a must read in my opinion.
May 11, 2010 rated it liked it
Another mixed bag. The story that sticks out most in my mind was my least favorite.
T. Kent
Mar 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Read this a while ago. Loved it. Recently read II & III as well and they were great. The VanderMeers' anthologies are always great. ...more
Jun 14, 2016 rated it liked it
A curate's egg, almost by definition, but there were a couple of authors in there which I may well look out for in the future.
Steve Visel
Oct 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
An excellent collection and a great introduction to the genre. The introduction itself was thoughtful and enlightening. Excellent job by the editors!
Althea Ann
Oct 18, 2012 rated it liked it
Average of 2.68 stars for all the items rounds up to 3, I suppose.
Overall, rather disappointing. There are two truly excellent stories; I'd read them both before.

*** Introduction - The 19th-Century Roots of Steampunk - Jess Nevins. Makes an interesting and informative connection between steampunk and 'Edisonades' - 19th-century boys' pulp fiction focusing on new technology.

** Benediction - Michael Moorcock. A quite random and inconclusive excerpt from the novel 'The Warlord of the Air.' Read th
Alexander Gent
Apr 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An excellent overview of a genre I already love. The only issue I have is that has opened my eyes to so many other authors and possibilities. My To Be Read stacks did not need adding to, but they will be now.
Aug 07, 2014 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Monocle-wearing, leather-clad adventurers
Recommended to Alan by: A boiling-hot topic
Back in 2008, the editing team of Ann and Jeff VanderMeer put together an anthology which, if not the definitive collection (that, I believe, has yet to be compiled), is certainly a helpful introduction to the many facets of steampunk. I picked Steampunk up for a song at a local resale shop (well, no, I didn't actually have to sing), and it was well worth the price of admission.

The VanderMeers had obviously been paying attention to developments both in and out of this burgeoning subgenre. Their
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NYT bestselling writer Jeff VanderMeer has been called “the weird Thoreau” by the New Yorker for his engagement with ecological issues. His most recent novel, the national bestseller Borne, received wide-spread critical acclaim and his prior novels include the Southern Reach trilogy (Annihilation, Authority, and Acceptance). Annihilation won the Nebula and Shirley Jackson Awards, has been translat ...more

Other books in the series

Steampunk (3 books)
  • Steampunk II: Steampunk Reloaded (Steampunk, #2)
  • Steampunk III: Steampunk Revolution

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