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The Sea Is Ours: Tales from Steampunk Southeast Asia

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  262 ratings  ·  87 reviews
Steampunk takes on Southeast Asia in this anthology
The stories in this collection merge technological wonder with the everyday. Children upgrade their fighting spiders with armor, and toymakers create punchcard-driven marionettes. Large fish lumber across the skies, while boat people find a new home on the edge of a different dimension. Technology and tradition meld as t
Paperback, 270 pages
Published November 30th 2015 by Rosarium Publishing
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May 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a well-balanced collection of stories with a nice range of style and tone from action to introspection to horror to wonder that felt well-balanced, with none of it jarring with the rest, and I enjoyed it a lot. My favorite stories were probably Nghi Vo's "Life Under Glass" (a quiet story about two sisters gathering specimens in the wilderness for a scientific exhibition, one of whom is feeling lost after a breakup with her girlfriend), Olivia Ho's "Working Woman" (a darker story about th ...more
Francesca Forrest
May 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
I read the stories in this collection gradually over many months, and it's now been many months since I finished them--I'm very late with this review. The advantage of this is that it makes it clear to me which stories really stood out for me. I'll talk a little about those stories, but first a few overall observations:

I haven't read very many steampunk stories, so in part this anthology let me triangulate on what it means for a story to be steampunk. Based on this collection, I'd say steampunk
You fly on your own wings.
from “On the Consequence of Sound” (T. Dimacali)

I knew I would like this book from the title: The Sea is Ours. SEA. Southeast Asia. Get it?
This book is about claiming identities. Steampunk is typically set in Victorian Britain, and the authors of the stories in Sea turn the tables on their colonizers. The people in these stories possess their own bodies, their own lands, and their own stories. Agency is theirs.

Because it’s an anthology, not all of the stories are equall
I find the star system generally quite useless in terms of rating books (sometimes a whole lot happens between "liked it" and "really liked it"); more so for an anthology, where there are definite stand-outs and a few less appealing ones. A mixed-bag, as it usually is, and my three stars don't accurately convey how some writers did really well, while some were so-so. That said the stories here have consistently intriguing ideas and a real attentiveness to details and structures and mechanisms of ...more
Beth Cato
Aug 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: anthology, 2015, steampunk
An early copy of the book was sent to me via NetGalley. It won't be released until November 1st 2015.

The Sea Is Ours is a refreshing steampunk anthology. The settings are fascinating, from cramped cities to rural villages to airborne whales, and the voices were most profound at all. So much steampunk is from an English or American vantage point, and even if it doesn't glorify the imperial perspective, it can still become a stale setting. I loved reading stories that drew from the Philippines, Ma
Aug 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
While science fiction is very popular in Southeast Asia, those voices aren't heard very often by the Western world. This English-language anthology aims to change that. 

The collection starts off beautifully, with the tales of a girl who learns to use music to fly with sky whales, and a volcano-mining airship captain who comes to love the princess she though would be useless. The following stories are just as amazing: queer girls find dragons in a wildlife preserve, a wooden figure comes to life,
Aug 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, fantasy
*copy from Netgalley in exchange for a review*

The SEA is Ours is an anthology of steampunk fiction, set in and around South-East Asia. It has a combination of new and previously published authors, and a very broad range of subject matter.

That breadth of material is one of the reasons that this collection is so interesting. There’s a whole range of imaginative perspectives on display. There’s living wood, brought to life by a sculptor in defence of a homeland. There’s spiders in mechanical battle
Sep 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Steampunk fans, World Literature fans, SF fans
Recommended to Shadowdenizen by: NetGalley
Shelves: international

Having been on a "World-Literature" binge for the last several months (with a focus on themed anthologies and short-story collections), I've been introduced to some stellar titles, including the 4-Volume "Lair of the Hidden Gods" collection (Night Voices, Night Journeys), Steampunk World, Waiting for the Machines to Fall Asleep, The Apex Book of World SF Bundle, with even more waiting in the wings.

And I'm happy to say that this book was a pleasure to read, and deserves all the accolades it's rec
Beautifully written and challenging stories, and a clearly well thought-out editorial ethos. This is the thing that I look for from anthologies, and I definitely got it here.
Ted Mahsun
Aug 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
Southeast Asia is a region rich with legends and myths which hasn't been explored enough by writers, even those residing here. But this is probably partly because we don't have that many venues in which to share these stories.

It goes without saying then that The SEA Is Ours, a steampunk anthology featuring writers from all over Southeast Asia, is a timely anthology that fills the need to showcase stories from authors we don't normally hear from.

The two editors, Jaymee Goh and Joyce Chng, have ma
Sep 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016, own
The SEA Is Ours: Tales of Steampunk Southeast Asia is the best steampunk anthology I have read, the best anthology of Southeast Asian authors I have read, and the best steampunk anthology of Southeast Asian authors I have read. That the word "best" could be replaced by "only" is irrelevant: this is a damn good, important anthology that blows apart the general perception of steampunk and shows how much fun and originality can be had if you simply step away from Victorians with goggles. On top of ...more
Sep 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
To me, reading them from a European perspective, the short stories contained in the anthology are wonderfully different, and they open your eyes to the view of those who were on the receiving end of colonialism. It is a whole different view and it is a completely different way to tackle Steampunk.

You get Buddhist spirituality, organic technology, spirits, fauna adapted to a certain kind of ore, alchemy, music and technology and so much more.

I cannot even say which one of the stories is my favour
May 08, 2016 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this anthology. Some great writing at work here, though as a Steampunk fan, I have to quibble: many of the stories had little or nothing to do with what I consider Steampunk. Mind you, there was not a single bad or poorly-written story in the bunch; all were good stories well told. I lost a bit of enthusiasm to keep reading when, around the half-way point, it became clear that most of the stories were more general spec fic. Most DID have references to colonialism, which was expected (a ...more
Ralph Blackburn
Aug 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
The Sea Is Ours, Editors Jaymee Goh and Joyce Chng- This Asian Steampunk anthology offers stories from authors you'll be reading in the near future I'm sure. At first I was uncertain as to the nature of Asian Steampunk. Not like your Victorian bustles and gears(well, maybe a few gears!)fiction at all, but more of a magical world of strange powers and veiled conspiracies. One person's magic is another's science. Timothy Dimacali begins with "On The Consequence of Sound", a slight story that remin ...more
Aug 22, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: net-g, f, adventure, steampunk
This collection is quite admirable for highlighting an overlooked literary category, and for including a varied group of authors.

I have a great regard for all things Steampunk. Having lived in and traveled extensively in Asia, I felt I would be sure to love these stories. Sadly, I could not continue reading them. After reading for a few pages, I would put the book aside for a few days and try again with another story. While the ideas were captivating, the characterizations and writing were gene
Feb 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: steampunk
As with any anthology, there is such a diverse array of stories, perspectives, and voices that not every story may be quite the thing for the moment, but all of these stories are genuinely beautifully written and engaging. Many of them are also challenging to preconceptions of what constitutes Steampunk and the standard types of technology developed in retrofuturistic stories. Every one of the stories made me think, question, reevaluate. In every case, I wanted to read more not because the stori ...more
You had me at Southasian steampunk.

This book shows that Steampunk is not limited (and should not be) limited to Victorian-era, western lands, ideas, culture, etc. Reading how these amazing authors entwine the concept of steampunk with different Asian history and mythology just made me appreciate the genre even more. And to see a reflection of my culture in this genre (which I rarely, dare I say never, see is soooo refreshing).

Cheers to Rosarium Publishing for publishing this amazing anthology, w
Aug 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
It was refreshing and eye-opening to read steampunk stories from a non-eurocentric perspective: ...more
Jul 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a difficult book to review. Some of the stories were extraordinary, some didn't work for me on any level, and some were just okay. All in all, I do plan to keep the book and add it to my family library so that can be taken as a recommendation. Here are a few of my favorites from this book:

"Working Woman" by Olivia Ho was fun & I would enjoy more action-adventure stories featuring the characters in this story.

"The Chamber of Souls" by z.m. Quynh explores an intriguing concept. At the en
Sara J. (kefuwa)
My favourites from this collection are: Life Under Glass, Working Woman, The Chamber of Souls

As with most collection of short stories this one was a case of hit-and-miss for me. For the very specific niche it covers (Southeast Asian steampunk by Southeast Asians) - I would recommend it if only to get a taste of regional writers.

For more Southeast Asian speculative fiction I can direct you to the LONTAR journals (while not exactly being regional writers and once or twice stepping outside of the
Yzabel Ginsberg
[I received a copy of this book through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.]

An interesting change of setting, mixing south-eastern Asia culture and various other aspects to engineering and more “steampunkish” elements. I appreciated this nice change of pace, so different from the typical corset & goggle aesthetics: though I still love the latter, variety is always good, and the whole steam/mechanical technology shouldn't be restricted to European or American settings.

Descriptions and ch
S.B. Wright
Aug 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is the second volume I have read edited by Joyce Chng who shows a talent, along with Jaymee Goh, for selecting quality work and writers.

The Sea is Ours – Tales of Steampunk South East Asia quite directly presents itself as Steampunk. I want to say though, that it’s a bit more than that. It’s quite easy to dismiss Steampunk in general as a sub-genre that’s been overworked.

From very early on in my reading though, it was apparent that The Sea is Ours, had greater depth. Here’s what I wrote via
Madeleine Holly-Rosing
I have this really big pile of unread books and comics in my office, but I was delighted when the anthology The Sea is Ours ~ Tales of Steampunk Southeast Asia finally got to the top. It came from a successful Indiegogo campaign that I backed some time ago and it feeds into my desire to read steampunk set anywhere but in England. (Full disclosure: One of the editors took my “Crowdfunding for Independent Creators” class.) Coming from an aesthetic very different from British dominated neo-Victoria ...more
Chasia Lloyd
Oct 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
GREAT concept for an anthology - steampunk is always fun to read, and it was a real pleasure reading The Sea Is Ours since it was steampunk with a southeast Asia setting instead of the more traditional western Europe backdrop. We need more stories like this! It's fun, but it's also gutting.

As with any anthology with multiple authors, some stories stand out way more than others. "Chasing Volcanoes" was probably my favorite. Each story had something great to offer, but the technical writing was mi
Jan 14, 2016 rated it liked it
A collection of shorts with very different backgrounds, it's nice to see something other than yet another Sherlock clone. Some of these would probably make better novellas or novels, it's hard to show a radically different world and have a good story in less than 20 pages. Many SF writers consider the short story to be one of the more difficult lengths.

Kudos to my local libraries for having so many small press publications on hand.
Blow Pop
Aug 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books, 2017
Part one of my thread on it for review purposes
Part two of my thread for review purposes
Feb 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Very beautiful, queer, grotesk, lovely. :)
Jan 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Excellent. Book is 208 pages, not 270.
Heather Jones
Jan 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, steam-punk
Literature is a collaborative exercise between author and reader, with the story emerging from the intersection of intention and reception. That collaborative experience is very different for those who have small versus large intersections of background between the author and the potential readership. (I am very awkwardly trying to avoid using words like “minority” and “marginalized” which carry an inherent sense that U.S. publishing culture is the ruler against which all else is to be compared. ...more
Eustacia Tan
Jul 03, 2018 rated it liked it
Found this in the library and decided to borrow it for the SEA Reading Challenge! Like the title says, this is an anthology of short stories set in Southeast Asia, largely by Southeast Asian authors (from the back it seems like at least half the authors were born, raised, and still live in Southeast Asia while the rest have Southeast Asian roots). There are twelve stories in this anthology and they are:

The collection starts with a short introduction that, to be very honest, left me with a bad im
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Jaymee Goh is a writer of fiction, poetry, and academese from Malaysia who moved to Canada for tertiary education. She is a graduate of the Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing Workshop 2016, and her creative work has been published in Strange Horizons, Lightspeed Magazine and Interfictions Online. Her non-fiction has appeared in Steampunk III: Steampunk Revolution, and Science Fiction Stud ...more

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