This post contains the closest thing I fear we’ll ever get to an ebook edition of the Encyclopedia of Fantastic Victoriana, the essential reference book for steampunks and anyone who loves real Victorian science fiction, fantasy, and horror — meaning work by Verne, Wells, and that crowd.
The EoFV was published in 2005 and now sells on Amazon for roughly ten times its cover price, which this public library copy on my desk tells me was $50. (I just checked again and Amazon prices presently start at $150 used — a steal; someone grab it! — but most copies are in the $400-600 range.) However, before there was an Encyclopedia of Fantastic Victoriana, there was a Fantastic Victoriana website, which had much of the same material in a more informal style. In a sense, the website was the first draft of the book.
There never was an ebook of the EoFV, and for reasons that escape me, it doesn’t seem that there will ever be another paper printing either. So unless you want to pay up to $999.00 on Amazon for a copy, or borrow one from a library if you can, it seems for now you can either read the Reocities archive of the FV website (linked to above), or (or!) this PDF I just made of the whole site, admirably suited to reading on your tablet with or without Internet access. (At roughly 1200 pages, it’s almost as much a monster as the pbook — you may pronounce that either as “paper book” or “phone book”.)
Known bugs of this quick and dirty ebook:
- There are some formatting errors. Some are mine and some are the site’s. I don’t want to hear about them.
- Hyperlinks don’t work in the PDF. Too bad. Visit the Reocities archive if you want clickable links. Most of the ones in the body text just link to other parts of the book anyway, but there is a substantial appendix with plenty of juicy websites to visit.
- I guess this might qualify as a bug. I didn’t ask Jess Nevins for permission to make a PDF copy of his website. If he asks me to, I’ll take it down. The founders of Reocities didn’t ask permission either when they saved GeoCities websites by the million. Nevins was one beneficiary, and this PDF is another attempt to rescue some of the best stuff from the ruins.
Jess, if you are reading this, thanks for writing the book, feel free to email me, and when are we going to see a new edition, whether e or p?