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The Steampunk Bible

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  1,998 Ratings  ·  212 Reviews
Steampunk—a grafting of Victorian aesthetic and punk rock attitude onto various forms of science-fiction culture—is a phenomenon that has come to influence film, literature, art, music, fashion, and more. The Steampunk Bible is the first compendium about the movement, tracing its roots in the works of Jules Verne and H. G. Wells through its most recent expression in movies ...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published May 1st 2011 by Harry N. Abrams
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Richard Derus
Feb 19, 2012 rated it liked it
The Publisher Says: Steampunk—a grafting of Victorian aesthetic and punk rock attitude onto various forms of science-fiction culture—is a phenomenon that has come to influence film, literature, art, music, fashion, and more. The Steampunk Bible is the first compendium about the movement, tracing its roots in the works of Jules Verne and H. G. Wells through its most recent expression in movies such as Sherlock Holmes. Its adherents celebrate the inventor as an artist and hero, re-envisioning and ...more
Feb 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Four and a half stars, derived as follows: 5 stars for Steampunk fans, and 3 and a half - 4 stars for everybody else.

This is a beautifully illustrated book full of interesting articles. Even if you aren't a Steampunk fan (yet), this book might well convert you.

I'd probably have preferred it to be even bigger and thicker, but it seems perfect for someone like me who was sort of poised on the edge of becoming a Steampunk fan.

The genre seems to have a nostalgic appeal, especially to those who enjo
Michael Fierce
Aug 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: fans of Steampunk

I received this book as a Christmas gift from the younger of my two younger sisters and am very thankful to her for giving it to me. I already knew a great deal about the history of Steampunk. '20,000 Leagues Under The Sea', both the book and the 1954 movie, and the 1961 film version of 'Mysterious Island', as well as H.G. Wells 'The Time Machine' were some of my favorites growing up. By the time I was 18 I had read over 20 books by Michael Moorcock and one of them was 'The Warlord of the Air' w
Jenny Schwartz
Apr 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A glorious book. It's not a cheat's guide to Steampunk -- which I admit I kind of feared when I read the title.

It talks about Steampunk and the people who create and enjoy that world. It starts from first principles, from the values underlying people's involvement.

It's a book about choosing how you'll live in the world. What do we hope for the future? What do we fear?

It's a celebration of ingenuity and creativity, a celebration of living with joy with values and behaviours aligned, and within a
Mar 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Steampunk is a subgenre / aesthetic that reimagines Victorian times in a retro-futurist way, embracing the past while reflecting upon the present and future. It is as much a way of life as it is a kind of literature, music or fashion. You will have seen hints of it everywhere: books, Hollywood movies, or strange people who dress in a fashion that mixes 19th century Victoriana with punk’s do-it-yourself mindset.

Relying heavily on Steampunk’s unique visual appeal, with beautiful photographs and il
rating: 4/5

Grab a cup of tea while enjoying The Steampunk Bible, a beautifully illustrated guide to the Steampunk culture. The art was chosen wonderfully (except for one image that is located on a whole page and blurry)! My favorite image is the beautiful artistic panoramic picture of Tom Every’s Forvertron Park on pages 94-95. It is just breathtaking; I must have stared at it for an hour trying to take in every detail.

Also, amongst these pages are a few jewels that just blew me away. Pages 60-
Scarlett Barnhill
Feb 20, 2012 rated it it was ok
About a two and a half for me. I've been eyeing this book for quite sometime, and was finally excited to pick it up and read it. While some parts were both useful and enlightening, the whole book has this overtone of steampunk snobbery - you know - do A, B, and C or you're not a "real" steampunk. I was very disappointed by this attitude, because steampunk is both an important and fun aspect of my life, and reading this, I wonder if anybody else picked it up and was put off of steampunk by the at ...more
Mar 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The award winning, best selling author, Jeff Vandemeer’s bio, in The Steampunk Bible, states that “all four of his cats have yet to reveal any Steampunk tendencies.” Then cats don’t reveal anything, they keep their secrets, so that doesn’t mean anything. Those cats might be building gadgets under the bed, some freaky mouse traps, perhaps. Co-author S. J. Chamber’s fiction and nonfiction has appeared in numerous publications. Her bio in the book states that she wrote this, her first book, “via th ...more
Apr 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
How to describe a book like this? An encyclopedia of odd, fascinating information, descriptions, snippets of prose and above all gorgeous photography. If you love steampunk, then, well-this is the bible and Jeff VanderMeer is the man!

The Steampunk Bible: An Illustrated Guide to the World of Imaginary Airships, Corsets and Goggles, Mad Scientists, and Strange Literature is a delight visually and a reading treasure. A great addition if you're interested in the genre, whether you're merely curious
Jul 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: steampunk, art, fashion
First and foremost, this book is a gorgeously designed coffee table book which provides the reader with interesting and accurate articles detailing the steampunk movement. The book not only delves into the origins of the movement by looking into literary influences and the industrial revolution, but it also provides articles on fashion, music, the DIY (do-it-yourself) attitude that’s so prevalent in steampunk, books, and films. It provides a proper scope on the presence of steampunk in today’s m ...more
Sherri Dub
May 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I love everything about this book. I bought the hardback, at B&N, not even on sale! It was worth every penny~not to mention, the illustrations and pictures are priceless.
I am an avid Steampunk-gal, and there is nothing more thrilling than finding this completed works to add to my personal library.
I love that Jake Von Slatt is featured in the book, he's my all-time favorite inventor of our generation. His ideas, designs and enthusiasm appear limitless. He's inspiring.
Also, if you think that y
Feb 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
It’s not all airships and goggles. Having become my fiction genre of choice over the last few years, The Steampunk Bible is a welcome tour of its many other aspects. The aesthetics in steampunk fiction, fashion and art overlay a worldview that emphasizes self-reliance, a resistance to dystopia and which prizes innovation as a craft, not simply a means to mass-consumption.

The range of topics, along with the artwork and photographs, presents a skillfully edited summary of a genre that has difficu
Robert Zwilling
Feb 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is a good beginning for learning about the history of the literary and movie/anime/tv/artwork creations that ultimately created the current steampunk zone of activity in today's world. Every page has pictures of the home made artifacts, creations, sculptures, clothing, weapons, jewelry, people and graphic illustrations of all kinds. The book asks the question will steampunk survive and the best answer seems to be that there will always be people who will reject the idea that your future is ...more
Feb 13, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, 2012
This was a nicely illustrated and well written (it IS Jeff VanderMeer, after all) exploration of the evolution of Steampunk. It covered all the facets of the movement: literature, fashion, art, movies. It further cemented my belief that anyone who thinks that Steampunk is merely an aesthetic is completely missing the point - Steampunk is a response to romanticization of the imperialism and class issues of the Victorian era. One thing I hadn't known before was that the artsy side is a rejection o ...more
Feb 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
A really interesting and visually appealing book--a great, in-depth look into the origins and angles of steampunk. It made me want to delve more into the classic literature associated with the genre (as well as explore Asian steampunk!).
Great book providing a good overview of the history and various areas of the steampunk movement including books, comics, conventions, movies, fashion .... and including lots of great pics and illustrations. I have taken quite a long list of books to read and movies to watch out of it.
Oct 13, 2011 rated it liked it
Not terribly impressed with this. It is much smaller than I expected and the information and photos are not that great. (I've found better doing an internet search) I am glad though to see a book on the subject and the attempt to put together a "Steampunk Bible", so I give it three stars.
Miguel Alves
Apr 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
I was aware of Steampunk as an aesthetic but not as a subculture and especially not as an identity. Being used to seeing the term used only in reference to visual style, it was at first surprising to read about people referring to themselves as “Steampunks”, and accompanying that self-identity with specific lifestyle choices and even socio-political views.

That said, I had a great time reading this sort-of-guide to the whole subculture. It’s generally very accessible but thorough enough that it
Katherine Cowley
This was a beautiful book tracing the steampunk movement, from its origins in the industrial revolution and in the literature of Verne and Wells, to its presence in fiction, fashion, art, craftsmanship, and film. When I say beautiful I mean it literally--there is beautiful photography, illustrations, and prints on almost every single page of the book, and it's worth reading just for the visual experience.

But before I talk about the other things I liked, the book definitely has some weaknesses.
Mar 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
This is a wonderful overview into the world of steampunk. How is steampunk defined? One definition is an equation on notebook cover created by John Coulthart, an English designer:
"STEAMPUNK = Made Scientist Inventor [invention (steam x airship or metal man / baroque stylings) x (pseudo) Victorian setting] + progressive or reactionary politics x adventure plot"
This definition has been widened to include the Edwardian era and the whole Industrial Revolution.

Steampunk has grown from being just a
Apr 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Steampunks!
Without a doubt, this book lives up to its name. Inside the unbelievably beautiful cover--it lacks only the gilt-edged pages many bibles have--is an excellent overview of Steampunk, in its incarnations as a literary and film genre, a clothing aesthetic, and a sub-culture, from its roots and origins to its possible future. In addition, there are special sections and closer looks at certain topics written by well-known contributors, including a project you can do yourself. And as if that isn't eno ...more
Jul 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Well, I completely abandoned Mockingjay to read this first. But I'm not regretting it!

This book encompasses the vast mediums that have been inspired and touched by Steampunk. Art, media, fashion, literature, technology, and music are only some of those mediums mentioned in The Steampunk Bible. It's amazing how much of the inspiration origins come from the likes of the scifi greats of H.G. Wells and Jules Verne. (Minus the movies, I've actually not read any of Verne's stories! I shall remedy this
Feb 06, 2012 rated it liked it
I've always thought steampunk in literature and art was a lot of fun, so I checked this out at the library and enjoyed skimming through it.

The first half went through the early history of sci-fi in literature with Jules Verne and H.G. Wells (my favorite chapter) that detailed the difference between the two -- Verne was more about the technology and adventure, Wells the social commentary. Another chapter was on the dime novels, the next on early literature that influenced steampunk (Tim Powers,
Jim Razinha
Jan 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful compendium of many things steampunk. Vandermeer looks at the historic foundations of steampunk, and surveys the fiction, art, fashion, gadgets...even music and movies of the modern movement.

I've discovered something about myself and steampunk while reading this: I take, and like, steampunk for what it is, simply because it never was and cannot ever be. I don't consciously or unconsciously try to figure out why something won't work or how it might possibly work, quite unlike my exper
Sep 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: steampunk fans
The strength of this book for me lies in the photography. They did a great job on the photos and spreads. In fact, I found myself wishing they had done some more and made this more of a coffee table book. The book is pretty comprehensive in looking at steampunk from the literary, the artistic, popular culture, craftmanship, fashion, and media. Given I am more of a reader, the parts I found most interesting were those related to literature and graphic novels. However, there is a bit of everything ...more
Aug 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: steampunk
The Steampunk Bible is well-designed, informative, and filled with an eclectic sort of historical anecdotes, speculations and even moments of self-deprecating mockery. It is a good introduction to anyone who has no inkling as to what 'steampunk' is, but it is also a good addition to bookshelves already filled with works by Verne, Wells, Jeter, Powers and Blaylock. The acknowledgment paid to the universality and multiculturalist approach of steampunk is much appreciated, while I remain a sceptic ...more
This book is exactly what it says it is, a beautifully laid-out, densely packed, well-illustrated almanac of information, and at a reasonable price to boot. It introduces the idea, the history, and the philosophy of the steampunk movement, then gives encyclopedic explanations of a broad range of steampunk aspects, including music, literature, clothing, artmaking, and entertainment. There are numerous essays by major figures in the steampunk subculture. It even has a little craft project, etching ...more
Jun 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
I bought this book for research, but it had been something I had been wanting to pick up for quite a long time. It's a beautiful volume, and designed with great care. The glossy pages are filled with beautiful illustrations and gorgeous photos. It is almost a coffee table book -- but it also traces the genre of steampunk from the founding fathers of Verne and Wells through the modern fashions, movies, music, art, mods and novels that have grown out of the ideas and visions of a re-imagined 19th ...more
Joel Griswell
Mar 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
A great collection of all things steampunk, a perfect introduction for those new to the world and concept, but also a rich treasure trove for established fans of the genre/lifestyle. The books discusses the origins and definitions of steampunk, starting with its inspirations in literature, with interesting analysis of the impact of the works of H.G. Wells and Jules Verne. From there, the authors branch off into the many different areas in which steampunk has spread: literature, fashion, art, mus ...more
Nicholas Whyte
Jun 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, 2012, 1206, hugo, hugos[return][return]This is perhaps the single most beautiful book in the Hugo Voter Packet, with lavish illustrations of the very visual subculture which it describes. I must admit it also turned around my own opinion on steampunk - I had a lot of sympathy with Marigold's father on Questionable Content, but VanderMeer and his fellow contributors have convinced me that there is an interesting, potentially subversive and liberating aesthetic and literary move ...more
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Jeff VanderMeer's new novel is Borne, set for publication in late April of 2017. His most recent fiction is the NYT-bestselling Southern Reach trilogy (Annihilation, Authority, and Acceptance), all released in 2014. The series won the Shirley Jackson Award and the Nebula Award, was shortlisted for several others, and has been acquired by publishers in 32 other countries. Paramount Pictures/Scott R ...more
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