Steampunk Edited by Kelly Link & Gavin J. Grant

Lynn: Cindy deliberated with her YA Lit Jury last weekend for the L.A. Times Book Prize while I gleefully immersed myself in books I couldn’t take time for last year plus an outrageously tempting stack of shiny new 2012 arcs.  So we’re batting a little clean-up here on Bookends before leaping into posts on the new stuff.  I didn’t get to read much for older teens this past year but one I did read is still one of my absolute favorites for the year.  Steampunk:  An Anthology of Fantastically Rich and Strange Stories (Candlewick 2011).  I know – this book practically had my name stamped on the cover!  I carried this book to France with me last summer and savored the stories like nibbles of a fabulous cheese.  I reviewed the book for Booklist so I’ll keep this short and try not to repeat what I said there.  I LOVE this collection!  While firmly rooted in steampunk trappings, each and every story pushes the frontiers of the genre in fascinating ways.  A stellar line-up of authors includes Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, Delia Sherman, Cory Doctorow and M.T. Anderson just to name a few.  There is something here for every taste and at the end of each story the impulse to read just one more is almost impossible to resist.  Have I mentioned how much I love this book?  It’s a terrific way to introduce new readers to the genre while making experienced fans incredibly happy.

Cindy: I am not the sf fan that Lynn is, but I have taken a hankering to the steampunk subgenre. My gears are spinning as I try to think how to add to her post, but after firmly adjusting my goggles, I thought I might follow Glinda’s sage advice and start at the beginning. What IS Steampunk? I’ve been promoting the subgenre in my middle school libraries but I have to start by explaining the term to my students and my teachers. They obviously haven’t been stalking the bead aisles at the local craft stores where you can now find industrial and Victorian jewelry parts like gears and compasses and skeleton keys to fashion your own Steampunk baubles. And here are some instructions to get you going.

Our local ArtPrize 2010 contest in Grand Rapids included an enormous sculpture called Parsifal the Steampig. Do a search for “Steampunk computers” and you’ll find many designs I am lusting after. There are steampunk conventions where you will see folks dressed in costumes like these, and Steampunk themed weddings.

But let’s not forget the literature. Link and Grant’s collection couldn’t be more varied from Bray’s rollicking Wild West Mars-like adventure to M. T. Anderson’s exquisite ancient Roman tale of revenge. The bookmaking on this volume is special too. This is a must purchase for all high school collections.




About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

1 Comment on "Steampunk Edited by Kelly Link & Gavin J. Grant"

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  1.' Brittany says:

    I’ve been mapping an idea for a steampunk story, so this (and the audio recording) have gone on my library wishlist!

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