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‘Steampunk for Simpletons:’ Book Review

It’s taken me a while, but I finally sat down and read this Kickstarter-funded tome by Travis I. Sivart and Wendy L. Callahan. Steampunk for Simpletons is a very thorough and delightful book for those looking to dive into Steampunk or at least learn more about the subject. The authors consider this a resource book and rightly so. It pretty much covers every aspect of Steampunk without making your head explode. (Well, almost. They cover a lot in this book.)

The book discusses everything from the basic definitions of Steampunk to clothing, food, and entertainment. It even includes Victorian recipes, how to set a table, and a do-it-yourself section if you are interested in creating your own parasol, googles, and bustle, among many other things. (Who knew making a bustle could be that easy?) They even show you how to make your own spats. 

What made this book special was its inclusion of contributors who specialize in various topics. The “Steampunk and Airship” section was contributed by Sky Marshall Gideon Alexander Thaddeus Cornelius Prime, while the gaming article was written by Charlie Stayton. I especially like the fact that, toward the end of the book, they spent time discussing multiculturalism in Steampunk and Steampunk outside of the United States and the U.K. Contributors from Argentina and Brazil provided insight into the Steampunk movement in their countries that otherwise I would have never known about. Likewise, with the article about Russian Steampunk by Anastastia and Mikihail Dragunov.

For those with more of an academic interest in Steampunk, this book is a good jumping-off point in regards to some of its references, but you would need to do additional research; however, if you are interested in learning more about Steampunk as a genre, asthetic, or a way to explore your own creativity, this is your book.


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