{ feuilleton }


• • • Being a journal by artist and designer John Coulthart, cataloguing interests, obsessions and passing enthusiasms.


Steampunk Reloaded


Cover design by Ann Monn. Cover image by Dan Jones / Tinkerbots.

Here at last is the steampunk anthology I mentioned back in September and whose interiors I designed. This is another Tachyon publication, and also another anthology edited by Ann & Jeff VanderMeer. I went further with the design for this than I have done for other Tachyon books, partly because if there’s one thing steampunk lends itself to, it’s decoration but also because the book includes illustrations from Ramona Szczerba, Eric Orchard, and others, plus a comic strip by Sydney Padua; adding extra spot illustrations stopped the pictorial material from seeming too isolated.


Title spread. The illustration on the left is one I created last year.

This is a sequel to an earlier steampunk anthology by the same editors but the contents are just as strong as the first collection with excellent stories throughout. (For a review, see here.) By coincidence the book is published in the wake of a recent (and inevitable) backlash against steampunk as science fiction sub-genre and cultural phenomenon. This collection can serve as a repudiation to some of the lazier accusations that writers are ignoring the moral and physical squalor of the Victorian era and the legacies of imperialism; several stories in Steampunk Reloaded address those very issues. For my part I’ve read Friedrich Engels’ Condition of the Working Class in England, Henry Mayhew’s London Labour and the London Poor, and Kellow Chesney’s The Victorian Underworld so I don’t feel in urgent need of a lecture on the iniquities of the 19th century, thank you very much.


While we’re on the subject, the cover of The Steampunk Bible, edited by Jeff VanderMeer and SJ Chambers, has been revealed here. Abrams will be publishing this next year and having seen some of the interior pages it’s going to be a splendid book. More about that later. Further pages from Steampunk Reloaded follow.

Update: A couple more reviews here and here.


Contents spread.




A detail of one of the page footers.


Title page for A Secret History of Steampunk, a self-contained section within the body of the book.



Previously on { feuilleton }
Steampunk overloaded!
Skeleton clocks
Vickers Airship Catalogue
The Air Ship
More Steampunk and the Crawling Chaos
The art of François Schuiten
Steampunk Redux
Steampunk framed
Steampunk Horror Shortcuts
The Airship Destroyer
Zeppelin vs. Pterodactyls



Posted in {art}, {books}, {comics}, {design}, {illustrators}, {science fiction}, {work}.

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10 comments or trackbacks

  1. #1 posted by Gabriel McCann


    Very nice.
    Browsing through Alasdair Gray’s Poor Things recently the illustrations reminded me of yours for the Thackery T. Lambshead book.

  2. #2 posted by John


    I’m familiar with Gray’s drawing style although I’ve yet to read any of his books. I usually think of his artwork as being more in the manner of Eric Gill, say. Jeff V likes Gray’s novels.

  3. #3 posted by Gabriel McCann


    I’ve only just started reading Lanark and already in Chapter 2 I’ve learnt a new word.
    “sometimes the wind dunted the door….”

    dunt = a hard blow or hit, esp. one that makes a dull sound; thump.

    I suppose if I were Scottish I would have heard it before.


    Illustrations in Poor Things seem to be adapted from Grays anatomy hence the similarity to you Lambsheard book ones.

    See this link for some of the illustrations within it


    especially the fourth one shown

  4. #4 posted by Gabriel McCann


    Another books I’m reading now with lots of illustatrions in it is;

    The Selected Works of TS Spivet


  5. #5 posted by Jeremiah Q. Oxterwhiff


    Lovely stuff on Steampunk II: seems like one I’ll need to look out for. On the Alasdair Gray front, there are two retrospective exhibitions of his work in Edinburgh at present and Canongate have just published his “A Life in Pictures,” which Gray describes as an “autopictography.” I have to confess I’m a great fan. His “Lanark” really must be a contender for one of the most important novels in English (even with Scottish words like “dunt”) of the 20th century. I agree with you that some of his graphic work is very like Gill, although I hadn’t thought of that before.

  6. #6 posted by Gabriel McCann


    Nice pseudonym JQO.
    Reminds me of Otis B Driftwood or Roger O Thornhill.
    “What does the O stand for?”

  7. #7 posted by John


    Gabriel: The new Gray book does look more like the Lambshead book than I expected. As it happens I’m working at the moment on illustrations for a non-medical sequel.

    JQO: Thanks, it’s a great read.

  8. #8 posted by Shweta Narayan


    I love the interiors for these books SO MUCH, and am so happy to be able to tell you that!

  9. #9 posted by John


    Hi Shweta, and thanks, this book was a real pleasure to work on.






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