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The Steampunk Trilogy

(La Trilogia Steampunk #1-3)

3.36  ·  Rating details ·  1,010 ratings  ·  107 reviews
Steampunk is the twisted offspring of science fiction and postmodernism, a sassy, unpredictable tongue-in-cheek style of which the incomparable Paul Di Filippo is master. The three short novels in The Steampunk Trilogy are all set in a very alternative nineteenth century, and feature a mixture of historical and imaginary figures. In "Victoria," a young and lissome Queen Vi ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published November 10th 1997 by Running Press (first published 1995)
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Dan Schwent
Feb 22, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: steampunk, 2010
Victoria: Naturalist Cosmo Cowperthwait succeeds in creating a human-newt hybrid he names Victoria, after the Queen who she resembles. Unable to support her, Cosmo stashes her in a brothel. Meanwhile, Queen Victoria vanishes and the Prime Minister proposes they swap one Victoria with the other. Will anyone notice before they find the Queen and return her to the throne?

This story was a hoot! Steampunk lends itself to Python-esque humor so easily I'm surprised more people don't go for the humorous
Dear book;

Thank you for the fun filled day we spent together. Our time together was fun, but now we should go our separate ways. I liked you but not as kids used to say, liked you liked you. I don't want you to think it's anything you did wrong, you were just fine (oh please don't take that the wrong way, I can already see you stamping your little book feet and saying "Fine!, I'm Fine! I'll show you Fine you fucking half-stupid pretentious little shit!"), but you just weren't for me. We had some
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
I had some difficulties with this book. And that’s because two out of three stories bored me slowly to death.  But let us start with the good one, the first one:


The soon-to-be-Queen disappears and while the search for her goes on a look-alike takes her place. Luckily for the court, a scientist has created a look alike, the problem is that Victori is a human-lizard hybrid with a ravenously sexual appetite that usually spends her days at a brothel.

This story was good, bizarre, yes, but
Three novels, all of which are apparently steampunk-y, though not in the way I think of steampunk (I could be thinking of it wrong). In the first Queen Victoria runs away and is temporarily replaced by a genetically engineered salamander-girl; in the second, a racist biologist is recruited to help a Dutch scientist and his African wife recover a much sought-after artifact; in the third, Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman meet and do sex, kind of. Okay!

Each story was certainly interesting, but I d
Aug 01, 2008 rated it really liked it
The Steampunk Trilogy is a macabre romp through history that never was enlivened by a giddy sense of humor. William Gibson compares it Max Ernst’s Un Semaine de Bonte which I think is appropriate as it is also a cut up of pulp adventure, penny dreadfuls, gaslight science fiction, with surreal imagery. Similar ground to Powers and Gibson/Sterling but the strongest resemblance is to Pynchon with a mix of technological speculation, serious augury, slapstick comedy, dialects, bizarre characters, par ...more
Yzabel Ginsberg
(I got an e-copy of this book through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.)

A strange read, not totally devoid of interest, but that didn't do much for me, probably in part because its title is definitely misleading when it comes to "steampunk" as a genre, and isn't representative of what it entails. It's more Victoriana with a dash of paranormal and alternate history, and references to existing personae (poets, scientists...) and literary works (not always exact—Nana isn't Balzac's work,
Feb 23, 2010 rated it liked it
At last I've got hold of a copy - God bless you Santa Claus! Next on the list to read.. can't wait.

Read the first of the 3 stories and liked it a lot and am on the 2nd now - steampunk in an alternate Victorian/19th Century setting - good stuff although Mr. Di Felippo seems to have a penchant for sexual activity that is perhaps not quite necessary - we are not talking Jose Farmer's porno period but Di Felippo could easily have written excellent stories without quite as much sexual content - Jack
Alger Smythe-Hopkins
Oct 25, 2013 rated it did not like it
A sloppy collection of three unconnected stories that is best understood as a too-late entry into the canon of 1980s Gonzo SciFi. Sex and drugs stand in for plot, and the sophomoric humor that should tie the book together is not even amusing. This author borrows so heavily from Robert Anton Wilson that he should be listed as a co-author, except Wilson would have rejected the association.

For those of you interested in the historical significance of the volume, be warned. This isn't even steampunk
Jan 28, 2011 rated it it was ok
I read this book because I had heard somewhere that it originated the term "steampunk". Next time I guess I should also find out whether a book is any good before I try to read it. As a general analysis: the level of writing was not great, though the ideas were often mildly interesting. I got annoyed by the number of real historical figures DiFilippo tried to cram into every story, for no purpose related to plot whatsoever. I almost quit the book in the middle because it got so tedious. Details ...more
Urthwild Darkness Beckons
This is actually a collection of three novellas, 'Victoria', 'Hottentots' and 'Walt and Emily'.

In 'Victoria', we find ourselves firstly in 1838 in the company of Cosmo Cowperthwait a hit and miss inventor, with few redeeming features. By his side at almost all times is his faithful manservant, Nails McGroaty, the only albeit dim light in a dull story.

In 'Hottentots', we have our main focus on Swiss scientist Louis Agassiz an odious virulently racist philandering little twerp, again with no redee
Jul 15, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sf, anthology
An interesting if not great book, The Steampunk Trilogy relates three unconnected tales about a quirky, early Victorian world where genetically engineered salamanders reign and where nuclear train engines and "ideoplasm"-powered transdimensional prairie schooners haunt the imagination. DeFilippo's success here is in the details---the fustian prose echoes that of the 19th century, as does the fiery libertine poetry, while the characters never quite lose a certain postmodern knowingness, a glint i ...more
Jan 17, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommended to Bettie by: Spotted on Gary's profile
Imported from tablet:

tbr busting
spring 2012
short stories
too sexy for maiden aunts

The Steampunk Trilogy is a short story trptych made of teh whacky and considering how fun and naughty the entries are it seems quite preposterous that it has taken over a year to see off the last story. Now done and dusted and still sniggering.

Finished 10/05/2012

A rod of burnished copper, affixed by a laboratory vise-grip, rose from the corner of the claw-footed desk, which was top
Lora Milton
Jun 01, 2016 rated it it was ok
This book is comprised of three stories reportedly in the popular Steampunk genre, all written by Paul Di Filippo.

They are decidedly mock-Victorian alternative history, but lack any of the attendant steam technology which is the defining factor of Steampunk.

I found the first story, Victoria, immediately atmospheric, though some descriptions seemed overly complicated and a few sentences near the beginning were overly long. I soon got involved in the story and established that it is about Queen Vi
Nov 21, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi-fantasy
This review originally published in Looking For a Good Book. Rated 1.0 of 5

This book features three novellas: Victoria, Hottentots, Walt and Emily. It also includes some of the most excruciatingly dull genre fiction that I've ever come across.

In "Victoria," the soon-to-be queen disappears and so as to not worry the people, a scientist has created a Victoria-look-alike. This doppelgänger is created from a human/lizard hybrid, though it still manages to be remarkable realistic in form. It does hav
Oct 28, 2008 rated it liked it
I thought I was so damn clever the first time I read Perdido Street Station. There I was, a young 18-year-old only months away from graduation, ready to seek my fortune in the world, and I’d just discovered steampunk. Eureka, all aboard!, airships ahoy and all that. Man, I was awesome. Steampunk was awesome. And now steampunk and I could be awesome together!

‘Cept, well, after devouring The Scar and Iron Council, I didn’t actually read any more steampunk for the next three or four years. No weird
Jay Daze
A sex crazed newt-Queen Victoria, a bottled Hottentot twat, Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson visiting limbo -- this is the funny twisted 19th century sf world Paul Di Filippo has created in The Steampunk Trilogy. If you like your sf wacky, bawdy and crammed full of allusions that send you off in the wide world of lit then this is the writer for you.

While "Victoria" came off as an extended dirty joke and "Walt and Emily" had the poets quoting their poetry to each other, I thought the longest of t
Mar 12, 2010 rated it really liked it
The stories in this book was a big surprise for me. The remarkable precision in linguistic,history was a great read. The weird,science fictional and the humerous tone was very enjoyable read. The characters was very believable too. I didnt it expect the stories to be funny. The humour was subtle,come out of nowhere in stories that looked so serious.

Took me vividly to a very weird version of the 19th century.

Paul Di Flippo shows alot of promise with the writing in this book. I look forward to rea
Jul 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of steampunk and alternate history
Fantastic romp through alternate history. Will the nineteenth century bend or break to accommodate devastating anachronisms, nightmares from the deep, and parapsychological phantasmagoria? Di Filipo has a wonderful understanding of the literary voices of the early victorian period. This book was fun, funny, and educational (sort of).
Denise Spicer
Jun 13, 2017 rated it it was ok
If you like steampunk you might find this trilogy interesting but the 3 short novels which make use of Queen Victoria, Walt Whitman, and Emily Dickenson as main characters don’t quite come across as convincing.
The first novella is worthwhile. Second - eh. I'd probably have been more impressed by the third if I cared about either Dickinson or Whitman. ...more
Jun 04, 2019 rated it did not like it
First story was pretty interesting. I was absolutely engaged and curious. But after that one ended, I just could not find it in myself to finish the rest of the stories. Just dry and uninteresting. I sadly gave to someone else interested.
John Purvis
Jul 04, 2014 rated it it was ok
“Steampunk Trilogy” was published in 2014 and was written by Paul Di Filippo ( It is actually a collection of three stories - “Victoria”, “Hottentots” and “Walt and Emily”. Mr. Di Filippo has published other works.

I obtained this publication for free through for review.

Victoria - Set in 1838 London. the main character Cosmo Copperthwait combines a newt with cells from humans and grows what looks like a fully formed woman. As it turns out, t
Jul 22, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: steampunk
The Steampunk Trilogy by Paul Di Filippo was published July 8, 2014 by Open Road Media Sci-Fi & Fantasy. It is as it says a trilogy of sort of steampunk short novels or novellas. If you like your steampunk really bizarre, then this might be the book for you. Unfortunately, it wasn't the book for me.

I did like the first novella in the book entitled, "Victoria." The second novella, "Hottentots," I found increasingly difficult to read. The main character is not at all sympathetic. He is racist and
Audra (Unabridged Chick)
One-sentence summary: Three steampunk short stories: Queen Victoria disappears and is replaced by a newt-human hybrid; naturalist Agassiz is sucked into a bizarre plot involving the pickled remains of the Hottentot Venus; and Emily Dickinson meets Walt Whitman and has a Spiritualist experience.

Why did you get this book?: Brief steampunk lit obsession

Do you like the cover?: Yes.

Did you enjoy the book?: Sort of? On one level, yes, definitely -- the writing was great and the plotting lovely, and th
Abby Wright
Jan 08, 2019 rated it it was ok
I had no trouble embracing other pastiches like Pride & Prejudice & Platypus or Sense & Sensibility & Sea Serpents. Queen Victoria, Vampire Killer was fun reading but this was a hard unrewarding slog through what feels like was maybe the author's children's homework? Maybe I should have persevered but I could not finish this... ...more
Mar 22, 2018 rated it did not like it
OK, this is Victorian Era steampunk... still, the sexism and racism of the stories is unnecessary to the genre. I read the first story and a half... that's enough. Perhaps if it was better written I'd stick it out, but no. ...more
Cindy Atkins
Aug 20, 2017 rated it did not like it
This is one of the worst books I have ever read. Don't waste your time. ...more
Jun 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: recentfiction
Well, the four stars refer to the last novella in the collection of three. The first one I read was too weird for words. I got the Victorian...perhaps, Dickensian, writing style, but Queen Victoria as a newt? Cross fertilization? I skimmed but had way too much trouble with this, so I didn't even read the second novella. The Emily Dickinson/Walt Whitman novella had me laughing out loud over and over again. Oh, what perfect use of their poetry. If you are a fan of either of these poets, you can't ...more
Apr 25, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was not very impressed with this at all. The first story was okay, but not very interesting, the second was a chore to get through with no payoff, and the last was reasonably entertaining, but the ending was lackluster. Most of all, except for the time period, I’m not even sure why it has the word steampunk in the title.
Joseph Youren
Sep 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Hilarious. Absolutely fascinating. Not for everyone's taste but my gaming hobby has led me down some interesting rabbit holes recently. ...more
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Paul Di Filippo is the author of hundreds of short stories, some of which have been collected in these widely-praised collections: The Steampunk Trilogy, Ribofunk, Fractal Paisleys, Lost Pages, Little Doors, Strange Trades, Babylon Sisters, and his multiple-award-nominated novella, A Year in the Linear City. Another earlier collection, Destroy All Brains, was published by Pirate Writings, but is q ...more

Other books in the series

La Trilogia Steampunk (3 books)
  • Vittoria
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  • Walt ed Emily

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