Disclaimer: My work is featured in this book and the author is a friend of mine, so I'm probably biased, but I'll do my best to be fair.
Steampunk is one of those things that's easy to appreciate but difficult to describe. You can look at a costume, a prop or MOC and say "oh, that's steampunk", but you may struggle to explain why. Sure you can throw some brown and brass together, and add a gear or two and call it steampunk, but you may find others do not agree. At it's core, steampunk is a reimagining of technology and lifestyles from the mid to late 19th century. Juxtaposing modern advances with a Victorian aesthetic. When it's done right it's magical, and you find yourself transported back in time. Guy Himber, the author of this book, does it right.
The first impression of this book is quality and beauty, it's simply lovely. It's hard bound with a dust jacket, it has quality paper, fine printing and the weight and smell of a good book. Small touches, like the embossed foil title on the cover (under the jacket) good binding and attention to detail make it a book worthy of a proper library shelf, and not just one you'll shove into the reference book section of your storage area. The dust cover is perhaps a bit garish, but that's sort of the point of steampunk.
The design of the book is absolutely beautiful, and it's obvious that meticulous care has been taken with every single page. And it's not just the aesthetics, there is as much care with the narrative as well. We learn all about the MOCs presented through noted from Queen Victoria's most trusted "Chronicler of Technology" Sir Herbert Jobson and his loyal assistant Lt. Penfold. The writing of these notes is brilliant and entertaining, and crafts a rich world.
The photography is good for the most part, but since this is a collection of MOCs from builders all over the world, it's wildly different from page to page and honestly a bit uneven. There are some gorgeously lit and shot MOCs, and others that frankly look like they're shot with an iPhone. Luckily, the design is enough to unify them into a coherent collection. And while consistent and unified, every page is unique and hand crafted. It's abundantly clear there's a lot of love that went into this book. The chapters are broken down into basic categories, from trains to robots and everything in-between. So as different as all the creations are, they are presented in such a way that it all feels cohesive.
My simple contributions to the book are a camera I built for Guy's "Cabinet of Curiosities" and a silly pistol I built. The pistol came to be while I was on an extended Skype call with my family while away in London. I was rummaging through parts and noticed the control handle of the soccer sets looked a lot like a old fashioned heat sink. I had been considering trying my hand at a steampunk build, so starting with that handle I started cobbling together a gun. Before the call was done, I was holding this little fanciful pistol I dubbed "Dr. Henry H. Mercer's Electroinoic Discombobulator. I was absolutely delighted a year later when Guy asked if I would consider letting him use it in his book.
I realize it's hard to be objective when a book has your own contributions in it, but I really truly love this book. It's absolutely gorgeous and imaginative from cover to cover. The MOCs are whimsical and beautiful and the design brings it all together in a wonderful package. I give it a very enthusiastic 5 out of 5 Nerdlys.
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