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Top 10 Steampunk Holiday Gift Ideas

25 November 2010 by

Whether the convention fans in your life are attracted to steampunk for the awesome cosplay, speculative fiction, or wild webcomics there’s a host of gift ideas to wow them with.

Steampunk is a book genre and subculture that’s grown in popularity and entered the mainstream, which allows for more new steampunk conventions each year for us fans to cavort at. For a quick intro to steampunk and some recommended books see my reading list on my book blog. (Sure it’s a shameless plug, but also a great resource for steampunk book gift ideas)

Here are the top ten steampunk gift ideas for the holidays:

Wild Wild West TV Show DVDsWild Wild West TV Show DVD Sets

  • Price Range: $20-$105

This awesome ’60s TV show (which the Will Smith movie was based on) is the mother lode of the wild west + science fiction delight that’s the peanut butter and chocolate of cross genre and my personal favorite flavor of steampunk (closely followed by etherpunk).

The Wild Wild West TV show was conceived as “James Bond on horseback” and features a spy and a master inventor who travel the wild west in their locomotive headquarters taking on threats to the United States; from mad scientists and evil geniuses to bizarre cults.

Available in a complete series DVD box set and as individual season collections.

Vendors Selling These Steampunk Items:

Steampunk T-shirt by Damien MasonSteampunk T-Shirts

  • Price Range: $10-$30

T-shirts are an awesome and inexpensive way to give a gift that those speculative fiction fans in your life can use to get their steampunk on throughout the year. A variety of good graphic artists are producing good steampunk t-shirt art on a range of sites.

Vendors Selling These Steampunk Items:

Boneshaker by Cherie PriestBoneshaker by Cherie Priest

  • Price Range: $5-$25

This is book one of the Clockwork Century series, which is set in the Pacific Northwest during a Civil War that’s dragging on longer than it should.

16 years ago inventor Leviticus Blue was commissioned to create a great machine to mine through Alaska’s ice to the precious gold beneath. But on its first test run the Boneshaker Drill went terribly awry, destroying several blocks of downtown Seattle and releasing a gas that turned anyone who breathed it into a zombie. Now Blue’s widow, Briar Wilkes, lives beyond the wall erected to enclose the toxic town. When her son, Ezekiel, undertakes a secret crusade that takes him under the wall and among the ravenous undead, air pirates, criminal overlords, and heavily armed refugees only Briar can bring her boy out alive.

Hugo Award Nominee for Best Novel (2010), Nebula Award Nominee for Best Novel (2009), Locus Award for Best SF Novel (2010)

ISBN# 9780765318411 | Published by Tor

Vendors Selling This Steampunk Item:

Detail of "Metamorphosis" by steampunk artist WinnonaCookieSteampunk Art Prints

  • Price Range: $2-$150

There are many awesome artists making seriously kick-ass original steampunk art. And they all sell prints and posts cards of their work, which is a great and affordable way to get some great steampunk fine art for your friends and family.

Good Steampunk Artists Selling Prints:

  • WinnonaCookie does whimsical portrait collages with a vintage look and amusing backstories.
  • Pete Katsiaounis is an illustrator with an attractive graphic art style and good backstories for his pieces.
  • James Ng has an Imperial Steamworks series with an Asian flavor and a traditional art style.
  • *kerembeyit’s Steampunk Dragon is pure awesome (also available on t-shirts from Dress Code)

ZBS Audio Plays on MP3 or CD

  • Price Range: $10-$23

Looking for a steampunk gift for an audiobook fan or lover of radio dramas? The ZBS Foundation has been producing full-cast original science fiction and fantasy audio theater since 1970 and their recent steampunk stories, Lady Windermere’s Brass Fantabulous and Steam Dreamers of Inverness, are audio theater at its finest. Featuring original music and sound effects recorded on-site.

ZBS is my favorite audio play company (and a not-for-profit arts organization). Their Steampunk State of Mind line of stories are available in both MP3 and CD formats.

Vendor Selling These Steampunk Items:

Steampunk Goggles by Old Junkyard BoutiqueGoggles

  • Price Range: $5-$500

Goggles and top hats are the two most iconic costume pieces in steampunk, and while I’d caution against giving someone a hat as a present (they’re harder to size than rings, from a practical gift-giving point of view) goggles are always good. There’s a wide range out there, from basic welder specs to super fancy brass and leather eyewear. The very best are always made or customized by hand.

Of course, the fancier the custom mod the higher the price. But you can always get, say, a pair of cup style brazing goggles at a welding supply store for $6 and then customize them as a gift, and there are many tutorials out there for just that. (And do-it-yourself is at the soul of the steampunk subculture)

Vendors Selling These Steampunk Items:

SteampunkSteampunk edited by Ann & Jeff VanderMeer

  • Price Range: $5-$25

Anthology of steampunk short stories by several authors; includes tales by Neal Stephenson, Michael Chabon, James Blaylock, Michael Moorcock, Joe R. Lansdale, and many more. Always a great way to introduce someone to both new authors and genres. Steampunk was nominated for a World Fantasy Award for Best Anthology in 2009 and has a “sequel”, Steampunk II: Reloaded, which features original steampunk tales by a whole different set of writers.

Ann & Jeff VanderMeer are THE names right now in steampunk anthologies and will be putting out the Steampunk Bible in 2011.

ISBN# 9781892391759 | Published by Tachyon

Vendors Selling This Steampunk Item:

Steampunk Gun by Old Junkyard BoutiqueModed Nerf “Ray Guns”

  • Price Range: $5-$200

Who wouldn’t want a ray gun? Doubly so as they’re the coolest prop in steampunking. Nerf guns and water pistols are often modified, customized, and generally punked-out to become super cool “ether-powered” and laser shooting props of niftyness (oh yes, indeedy, people mod them with real lasers and lights).

This is another cool steampunk gift item that you could make yourself using the plethora of tutorials out there. Just get a water gun or Nerf with a cool shape and then find a how-to that you like.

Good Steampunk Artists Making These Items:

Girl GeniusGirl Genius graphic novels by Phil & Kaja Foglio

  • Price Range: $22-$50

In a time when the Industrial Revolution has become an all-out war, Mad Science rules the World…with mixed success. At Transylvania Polygnostic University, Agatha Clay is a student with trouble concentrating and rotten luck. Dedicated to her studies but unable to build anything that actually works, she seems destined for a lackluster career as a minor lab assistant. But when the University is overthrown it begins to look like Agatha might carry a spark of Mad Science after all.

ISBN# 9781890856199 | Self published by Studio Foglio

Vendors Selling These Steampunk Items:

Steampunk Watch Movement Butterfly Ring by London ParticularsHandmade Steampunk Jewelry

  • Price Range: $5-$600

The do-it-yourself, homemade element is very important to the steampunk subculture, making handmade jewelry and other such items great gifts. There’s a wide range of style, cost, and materials when you’re looking for steampunk jewelry; from simple gear earrings to rings made from spoons, from pocket watches to cufflinks.

And, yes, there are pieces for BOTH men and women.

Good Steampunk Artists Making These Items:

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