SAG coverby Laura Davis, managing editor

Thomas Willeford and Phil Foglio teamed up to create this gorgeous edition of a book which is sure to be a favorite with anyone who loves steampunk and crafting. Willeford hopes you’ll mess your copy up, though. “This is not a book that should sit pristine on your desk or bookshelf. It should have greasy fingerprints all over it, many dog-eared pages, loads of scribbled notes in the margins, tears around the edges, and maybe even a few pages missing.”

Here’s the unique beauty of this book: it’s a story, which leads the reader to stop and create steampunk props along with the main characters. Willeford’s experience as a steampunk propmaster really shines through as he explains in very simple steps how to create props you won’t be embarrassed to carry around!

Willeford explains that in planning these projects he asked himself, “What would I want to make?” and, “What tools would even the most tool-impaired house have within?” With full-sized patterns and photographic step-by-step instructions, you could make the projects as explained; or you could easily simplify them so your 3-year-old could make construction paper versions; or you could go wild and use the patterns and general directions as a basis on which to craft a masterpiece from wood, leather, and any other high-end materials you choose. It’s very literally a craft book for all ages and skill levels.

But, wait! There’s more! Follow the tale of Amelia and Isaac Griffith and their adventures in rescuing their kidnapped uncle from the airship of a nefarious villain and his army of automata! The story does a marvelous job of explaining to younger crafters what this thing is that they’re about to make, and why they need one. For adult readers, the story is engaging in a similar way to the Heinlein youth books. Yes, it’s simplistic, but it’s creative and fun, and it doesn’t make you feel like banging  your head repeatedly on the desk to stay awake. The opening chapter offers an interesting presentation of what steampunk is (and is not). The appendices are loaded with good stuff like suggestion lists for steampunk reading, viewing, music, RPGs and video games, and merchants; and a section of conversion tables, “For the Brilliant but Mathematically Challenged Mad Scientist.”

Did I mention Phil Foglio’s illustrations? They’re a rich addition to this volume, and I struggle to find words for them. They’re vibrant, fun, and whimsical and every time I turned to a page with a new one, I’d have to stop reading for a few moments and just admire the illustration. OK, maybe more than a few moments. They’re really beautiful!

Included are directions and needed pattern pieces for ten projects, including: a decoder armguard, signaling periscope, flight goggles, a grappling hook launcher, an airship harness, glider wings (I am SO making these!), rivet gun, power armor, a magnetic magnification gauntlet, and a rocket pack. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some glider wings to craft, and you’ve got a book to procure!


Enter Now to Win Your Very Own Copy!

McGraw Hill Education Publishers have kindly provided us here at Krypton Radio with not only a review copy of this book, but with two additional copies to give to you, our readers and listeners! Your first chance to win a copy of The Steampunk Adventurer’s Guide begins at 1 a.m. PST on January 10, 2014! Visit the contest page on our website to enter.

Check out The Event Horizon at 9 p.m. PST on Saturday, January 18, 2014, when Gene and Susan will be interviewing author Thomas Willeford. They’ll also be giving out an entry password during the show, which will allow you to enter the giveaway for the second copy of The Steampunk Adventurer’s Guide. The interview will be re-broadcast at 4:00 p.m. PST on Sunday, January 19, 2014.