The Steampunk Bible Is Out! (With Book Tour)

The Steampunk Bible: An Illustrated Guide to the World of Imaginary Airships, Corsets and Goggles, Mad Scientists, and Strange Literature…is officially out this week!

My coauthor is kicking off a book tour in Austin, Texas, tomorrow evening with a party event at the U.S. Arts Authority (very close to the World Horror Con venue), featuring special guests Rick Klaw, Michael Moorcock, Jess Nevins, and Liz Gorinsky, among others. More tour events can be found here.

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  1. Josh says

    So why exactly did you completely fail to mention any of the bands that are actually Steampunk? Besides Abney Park, none of the bands in this book even use that title to describe themselves. I’m sorry but there are a ton of us out there that have spent years trying to craft the musical landscape of Steampunk. Almost all of us have done so at our own expenses, with very little to show for it in monetary gain. But we don’t really care, as this is what we are passionate about. And we will continue to write, record, and produce music in this style. For something claiming to be the “Bible of Steampunk”, you’ve sadly omitted a HUGE section of artists that have had a major impact on the transformation of the Sub-Culture from a strictly literary and visual one. And that does a great disservice to everyone.

  2. says

    Hi, Josh. Thanks for your comment. I’m sorry you feel like that section isn’t sufficient. I think we noted there that it’s impossible to cover the whole scene. We did very heavily advertise that Steampunks interested in being in the book should contact us–that process went on for at least six months. We also consulted with a couple of experts on the music scene and had a third, a journalist, look into it. There are definitely bands that may not self-identify as Steampunk that have been embraced as Steampunk by the subculture.

    But the Bible isn’t an encyclopedia–it’s devoted to giving an overview and delving into as many stories as possible. We also have a website at where we will be doing interviews and features on Steampunks not featured in the book. You might get in touch. Thanks!


  3. Josh says

    Hey Jeff,

    I understand everything you are saying, however I was told by the person that wrote that particular section of the book that they did feature a lot of bands in their original draft, why all but three (you’ll have to excuse me as I haven’t actually gotten a chance to read the book for my self just yet) were cut, was what really baffled me.

    I understand having to include Abney Park, because they have such a huge commercial following, but they were far from the first band to embrace the aesthetic. Besides ourselves, the Unextraordinary Gentlemen, and The Clockwork Dolls were both very early forerunners in forming this portion of the Sub-Culture.

    This wouldn’t have really phased me at all (it’s not the first time our work has been overlooked in the media when reporting on Steampunk), but given that I had been told numerous times over the course of the past year, that our project, and the projects of our peers in this style were all going to be mentioned in this particular release, I was quite surprised to discover this was not at all the case.

    I don’t have any hard feelings, and I’m sure the book has plenty useful information on other topics, I just feel that the music side of this genre has been sadly swept to the side in a lot of media reporting on this Sub-Culture, and for something that is called “The Steampunk Bible”, it seems that should be something that was given a bit more attention.

    I’m not sure if you realize how many bands have come out since 2003 that have called themselves Steampunk, or have associated themselves with the members of this genre. At my last count it was well over 60.

    Maybe it’s high time a Steampunk Music book saw the light of day?

    Anyways, I appreciate you taking the time to address my concerns, and I hope your book draws a lot more people into this wonderful style.

  4. says

    I’ve checked, and three were indeed cut, and I can’t say there was any particular rhyme or reason to it except we ran out of space, and I’m really sorry. I’d like to reassure you that it wasn’t intentional, it wasn’t malicious, it most definitely wasn’t a diss. What I do wish is that we’d had the time and forethought to let you know. The number of moving parts in a book like this is somewhat daunting at times, and the number of details to remember is verging on ridiculous.

    If there is anything I can do to help facilitate a book specifically on Steampunk music, I’d be happy to be of use.

    And it truly is one of our top priorities on the Steampunk Bible website to feature music heavily as a supplement. I hope you’ll contact us about this.



  5. says

    Hi Jason,

    Jeff pretty much covered the situation, but I wanted to add my apologies as well. I’d love to talk with you about some posts for the website. The website was designed to catch all the overflow we had for this book, and there was a ton. It is unfortunate, but we only had 224 pages to work with. I shall be in touch with you shortly.

    S. J.

  6. says

    How well you handled what must be a common complaint! It is impossible to include everyone in 224 pages. Were you so restricted because of the heavy cost of the expected colour photographs? Perhaps if the Bible does well you might consider splitting future reprints into Volumes I, II, and III to be more encyclopedic, which the name “Bible” implies. The be all and end all of Steampunk. It’s an ambitious title for such a slim volume.

  7. says

    Lia: Generally, this complaint means “I’m not included.” The question is whether we were to write a book that’s a good overview that appeals to general readers or create an encyclopedia. I’m sure other books on the subject will be encyclopedias, and that’s great. This book’s purpose was not to be an encyclopedia but to hook readers on Steampunk while giving some of the highlights. An encyclopedia doesn’t really hook people in the same way because it’s can’t engage in the kind of discussion and dialog that can otherwise be engaged in. And trying to include everyone is a losing battle because it’s impossible. You can certainly feel free to ping the publisher about the book’s title, which I think you’re perhaps putting too much weight on.

    I’m happy people want even more Steampunk.


  8. says

    Jeff, I’m happy people want more, too! The Steampunk Bible is beautiful, and a well-deserved success. I was being utterly sincere and trying to be supportive concerning the previous commenter. My apologies if it came off differently than intended! I am fairly new to the scene myself, but have been delighted by how friendly and inclusive the community is.

  9. jeff vandermeer says

    No worries! The internet’s a strange way to communicate really, and nuance etc hard to intepret. (Not near a computer but will respond to email tomorrow.) Cheers, Jeff