The Steam­punk User’s Man­ual

Will stoke your boiler

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Books - Miriam McDon­ald

Re­lease Date: OUT NOW!

258 pages | Hard­back Au­thors: Jeff Van­der­Meer and De­si­rina Boskovich Pub­lisher: Abrams Im­age The Steam­punk User’s Man­ual is kin to Jeff Van­der­Meer’s ear­lier The Steam­punk Bi­ble ( writ­ten with SJ Cham­bers). But whereas that vol­ume looked at the roots of steam­punk and the peo­ple who’ve helped shape it, this one is aimed at en­cour­ag­ing the reader’s own cre­ativ­ity. It’s the log­i­cal follow- up: now you know what steam­punk is, it’s time to be­come part of it.

The four most sub­stan­tial parts of the book are “Steam­punk Art and Mak­ing”, “Steam­punk De­sign: Fash­ion, Ar­chi­tec­ture And In­te­ri­ors”, “Steam­punk Sto­ry­telling ”, and “Steam­punk Mu­sic And Per­for­mance”. Each of th­ese chap­ters gives you an over­view of the cur­rent state of things, com­ments from peo­ple work­ing within those fields, ex­am­ples of out­stand­ing work and ad­vice on try­ing it for your­self. The peo­ple quoted are all recog­nised au­thor­i­ties within the sub­cul­ture; Van­der­Meer has gone to the best.

While there are a few projects, The Steam­punk User’s Man­ual will not tell you ex­actly what to do. The point is for you to ex­plore your own cre­ativ­ity, not blindly copy some­one else’s work. The em­pha­sis on func­tion­al­ity and avoid­ing the worst clichés of the genre is very wel­come.

If you’re not al­ready cre­at­ing steam­punk sto­ries, mu­sic or clothes, it will spur you on to try, while if you are, it pro­vides a real sense of com­mu­nity. A splen­did book.

The Royal Ob­ser­va­tory at Green­wich is host­ing an ex­hi­bi­tion of steam­punk cre­ations. It runs un­til 4 Jan­uary.

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