Thursday, June 23, 2011

Steampunk Prime: A Vintage Steampunk Reader edited by Mike Ashley

Steampunk stories from before the age of computers and spaceships.  And electricity, in some cases.  This is book of short steampunk stories written between 1880 and 1914.

In the introduction, Mike Ashley talks about how we think of steampunk as a more modern creation, a reimagining of history.  But steampunk was being written during the time period that modern steampunk so often reimagines.  It was fascinating to read these stories before all kinds of scientific advances had been made.  And it's funny, what we imagine today really wasn't all that different from what was being imagined in 1880.  Space travel, flying cars, robots (only they weren't called robots, they were called automatons), being able to preserve people and then wake them up hundreds of years later. All that stuff that steampunk and science fiction write about to this very day.  Hmm.  Maybe we haven't come so far after all.  Oh, and airships.  There MUST be airships, it's an unwritten rule.

Some of the stories I found totally boring, and some I thought were more straight science fiction than steampunk, but all in all it was really interesting to read.  If you're a steampunk lover, I'd definitely say check it out.


  1. Ok, but the real question is: were there corsets??

  2. Nice to see a review of this one, as it looks interesting and up my alley. It's hard for me to see turn-of-the-century science fiction as being steampunk, though, because I view it as being the precursors to today's sci-fi, not part of a smaller subset genre.


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