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Hiroshi Unno, PIE In­ter­na­tional (JUNE) Soft­cover $49.95 (360pp), 978-4-75624975-3

Mod­ern cul­ture has some ’splain­ing to do. Climb­ing out of the Re­nais­sance/el­iz­a­bethan age through to the late-eigh­teenth cen­tury, an in­creas­ingly en­light­ened so­ci­ety emerged into the in­dus­trial won­ders of the nine­teenth cen­tury and rode it fast and quick to our present pe­riod of quan­tum-leaping, tech­no­log­i­cal in­no­va­tion. Ar­tis­ti­cally, these two-plus cen­turies of change co­in­cided, first of all, with a re­vived in­ter­est in Gothic styles rem­i­nis­cent of the late Mid­dle Ages on through the steam-en­gine Vic­to­rian age best re­ferred to as Steam­punk. So, yes, Goth and Steam­punk, two some­what off-putting terms, yet in­stantly fa­mil­iar to us present day­ers, are quite ca­pa­ble of ex­plain­ing a great deal about mod­ern cul­ture, ac­cord­ing to Hiroshi Unno, au­thor of The Art of Fan­tasy, Sci-fi and Steam­punk.

Heady stuff, this is a story meant to be told in pic­tures—hun­dreds of full-color re­pro­duc­tions of paint­ings, posters, sto­ry­boards, fairy tale art, and more. Think Ro­man­ti­cism, Re­al­ism, Jules Verne, Sweeney Todd, Arthur Co­nan Doyle, Franken­stein, Alice in Won­der­land, The Wizard of Oz, fairies, Art Deco, and so much more. By turns bilin­gual, Ja­panese and English, the in­tro­duc­tion, chap­ter heads, and cap­tions round out the story. An amaz­ing ac­com­plish­ment.

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