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Like Clockwork

Like Clockwork

Steampunk Pasts, Presents, and Futures

Edited by Rachel A. Bowser and Brian Croxall

From Dragon*Con to IBM’s big data and neo-Victorianism to disability studies—the fascinating rise of an international subculture

288 Pages, 6 x 9 in

  • Paperback
  • 9781517900632
  • Published: December 15, 2016
  • eBook
  • 9781452952536
  • Published: December 15, 2016


Like Clockwork

Steampunk Pasts, Presents, and Futures

Edited by Rachel A. Bowser and Brian Croxall

ISBN: 9781517900632

Publication date: December 15th, 2016

288 Pages


8 x 5

"A lively, engaging collection of essays about the past, present, future (and alternate versions thereof) of steampunk culture, literature and meaning, ranging from disability and queerness to ethos and digital humanities."—Boing Boing

"Covering an impressive range of topics, from steampunk cities to how steampunk addresses disabilities and identity, the essays are scholarly and full of solid examples and research yet remain accessible."—CHOICE

"There are layers of irony and of ironic irony here that would keep a critical Lyell occupied for decades."—Science Fiction Reviews

Co-winner, Ray & Pat Browne Award for Best Edited Collection in Popular Culture and American Culture 

Once a small subculture, the steampunk phenomenon exploded in visibility during the first years of the twenty-first century, its influence and prominence increasing ever since. From its Victorian and literary roots to film and television, video games, music, and even fashion, this subgenre of science fiction reaches far and wide within current culture. Here Rachel A. Bowser and Brian Croxall present cutting-edge essays on steampunk: its rise in popularity, its many manifestations, and why we should pay attention. 

Like Clockwork offers wide-ranging perspectives on steampunk’s history and its place in contemporary culture, all while speaking to the “why” and “why now” of the genre. In her essay, Catherine Siemann draws on authors such as William Gibson and China Miéville to analyze steampunk cities; Kathryn Crowther turns to disability studies to examine the role of prosthetics within steampunk as well as the contemporary culture of access; and Diana M. Pho reviews the racial and national identities of steampunk, bringing in discussions of British chap-hop artists, African American steamfunk practitioners, and multicultural steampunk fan cultures.

From disability and queerness to ethos and digital humanities, Like Clockwork explores the intriguing history of steampunk to evaluate the influence of the genre from the 1970s through the twenty-first century. 

Contributors: Kathryn Crowther, Perimeter College at Georgia State University; Shaun Duke, University of Florida; Stefania Forlini, University of Calgary (Canada); Lisa Hager, University of Wisconsin–Waukesha; Mike Perschon, MacEwan University in Edmonton, Alberta; Diana M. Pho; David Pike, American University; Catherine Siemann, New Jersey Institute of Technology; Joseph Weakland, Georgia Institute of Technology; Roger Whitson, Washington State University. 

Rachel A. Bowser is associate professor of English at Georgia Gwinnett College.

Brian Croxall is digital humanities librarian at Brown University.

Introduction. It’s about Time: Reading Steampunk’s Rise and Roots
Rachel A. Bowser and Brian Croxall
I. Steampunk Spaces and Things
1. Steampunk and the Victorian City: Time Machines, Bryan Talbot, and the Center of the Multiverse
David Pike
2. How to Theorize With a Hammer; or, Making and Baking Things in Steampunk and the Digital Humanities
Roger Whitson
3. The Steampunk City in Crisis
Catherine Siemann
II. Steampunk Bodies and Identities
4. From Steam Arms to Brass Goggles: Steampunk, Prostheses and Disability
Kathryn Crowther
5. The Aesthete, the Dandy, and the Steampunk; or Things as They are Now
Stefania Forlini
6. Punking the Other: On the Performance of Racial and National Identities in Steampunk
Diana M. Pho
III. Steampunk Reading and Revising
7. Seminal Steampunk: Proper and True
Mike Perschon
8. The Alchemy of Aether: Steampunk as Reading Practice in Karina Cooper’s Tarnished and Gilded
Lisa Hager
9. Out of Control: Disrupting Technological Mastery in Michael Moorcock’s The Warlord of the Air and K.W. Jeter’s Infernal Devices
Joseph Weakland and Shaun Duke