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1,000 Steampunk Creations: Neo-Victorian Fashion, Gear, and Art - Dr. Grymm, Barbe Saint John, Joey Marsocci This is more like a 2.5, even a 3 if I were feeling generous. I'm just not, today.

First off, the title is incredibly misleading. It should really be “1,000 Different Photographs of Maybe a Few Hundred Steampunk Creations”. The book consists of various-sized photos, some full-page, others as small as 1/6th page, each numbered 1-1,000. In many cases, there will be multiple views of a piece, or a full-scale photo and then several detail shots. Sometimes there will many small photos on a page each showing slight variations on a basic design by an artist – for example, the six nearly identical thumb drives by Derrick Culligan at the beginning of the book. It’s a bit of a stretch to call these all unique pieces as the title implies.

There is also almost no text other than the piece #, the artist, and the country they’re from, and in many cases it isn’t at all clear what the object is supposed to be. This is particularly problematic in the “Modified Technology” section, where I repeatedly found myself playing curious guessing games – “Is it a telephone? An iron? A grenade launcher?”. It would be nice if there was a brief description, or a few words from the artists to explain the pieces. There’s also a fair bit of crap in here. Distressing the finish on an electric guitar and gluing some gears on does not make it steampunk. (I’m looking at you, #33.) The lack of info also leads to attribution issues. I was a bit surprised when I turned a page to find a fellow fashion designer friend’s work in here, modeled by another of our friends, but neither was credited. Only the photographer, being a bit more famous than either of them, was listed. Part of that might have to do with it (and the photographer’s other photos) being in the “Fine Art & Sculpture” section rather than the “Fashion & Haberdashery” section, but that just confuses me more because they’re obviously fashion photographs. The fashion section is incredibly small and mostly mediocre, by the way.

When I reached the end of the book I realized there was a tiny directory in the back, with a few more credits (I finally found my designer friend’s name after some hunting) and some approximately 3-word descriptions. Whyyyy??? This info could just as easily be put in with the pictures. I don’t get it.

Honestly, it kind of looks like the authors threw this together in a day after trawling Etsy for a couple hours. There are some gorgeous, inspirational pieces, but on the whole it’s very inconsistent.