Steampunk Novels


Books


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There seems to be a lot of buzz about steampunk, or re-imagining the 19th Century as more technological, or expanding on the science fiction dreams of the early masters like Verne or Welles. It's been about in various forms since the Seventies, but has only recently gained mainstream attention.

Does anyone enjoy this genre? I first came scross it in the writings of Michael Moorcook. There were three novels, now compiled into an omnibus called A Nomad of the Timestreams detailing the adventures of a 19th Century British Army officer, Oswald Bastable, who is shunted to various futures and alternate histories (and is later linked to the larger arc of stories dealing with the Eternal Champion concept.)

In the Nineties The Difference Engine was released, an excellent book co-authored by Bruce Sterling and William Gibson. It dealt with the ramifications of Charles Babbage succeeding in making his early computer.

So, does anyone have a favorite Steampunk novel? I have heard good things about Boneshaker but I have yet to peruse it (though it sits in my unread pile).


Dotting.

(Didn't finish Boneshaker; didn't care much for The Difference Engine despite being a big Gibson fan.)


Doodlebug Anklebiter wrote:

Dotting.

(Didn't finish Boneshaker; didn't care much for The Difference Engine despite being a big Gibson fan.)

That surprises me, considering your prediliction for things Marxist. You didn't enjoy the idea of a Manhattan Communist enclave run by Marx? Then again, it was sort of a side issue in the novel ...


I'd be very interested in Steampunk Fantasy. By which I mean creating and telling stories that don't immediately reference back to our world.


Patrick Curtin wrote:
Doodlebug Anklebiter wrote:

Dotting.

(Didn't finish Boneshaker; didn't care much for The Difference Engine despite being a big Gibson fan.)

That surprises me, considering your prediliction for things Marxist. You didn't enjoy the idea of a Manhattan Communist enclave run by Marx? Then again, it was sort of a side issue in the novel ...

No. I appreciate the idea that they tried to mix the Paris Commune into history a little differently, but then they went and threw in American slavery and it made me mad. See Karl Marx trolling President Lincoln over in Troll Town. Not that that had anything to do with my liking or disliking the book.

Anyway, now that I'm thinking about it some more, I'm remembering more about it that I liked. I only got into Gibson right before Pattern Recognition came out, and I read everything by him in a non-stop rush.
I just remember that after reading the two Gibson trilogies, I felt The Difference Engine wasn't as good. Maybe it's time for a little revisiting...


I'd also say that going back and reading H.G. Wells and Jules Verne can be a lot of fun in its own right. All the LXG stuff is fun and a great read.


Doodlebug Anklebiter wrote:
Patrick Curtin wrote:
Doodlebug Anklebiter wrote:

Dotting.

(Didn't finish Boneshaker; didn't care much for The Difference Engine despite being a big Gibson fan.)

That surprises me, considering your prediliction for things Marxist. You didn't enjoy the idea of a Manhattan Communist enclave run by Marx? Then again, it was sort of a side issue in the novel ...

No. I appreciate the idea that they tried to mix the Paris Commune into history a little differently, but then they went and threw in American slavery and it made me mad. See Karl Marx trolling President Lincoln over in Troll Town. Not that that had anything to do with my liking or disliking the book.

Anyway, now that I'm thinking about it some more, I'm remembering more about it that I liked. I only got into Gibson right before Pattern Recognition came out, and I read everything by him in a non-stop rush.
I just remember that after reading the two Gibson trilogies, I felt The Difference Engine wasn't as good. Maybe it's time for a little revisiting...

I thought Gibson/Sterling's use of the NY city draft riots as a divergent point for Marx and co to gain control over the island of Manhattan and interesting take on things.


Yes, it was a clever reshuffling of history.

Anyway, I've taken The Difference Engine out of my "already-read" stack and put it in the "to-read" stack.

Nobody else has recommended any other Steampunk books. :(


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Stephen Hunt has written a great series of books with a very strong steampunk feel to them. They are The Court of the Air, The Kingdom Beyond the Waves, and The Rise of the Iron Moon. There are more in this series, but I do not live in England, wher I belive there are two more books.

And for other material, ther is the following China Mieville, Jules Verne, and H.G. Wells.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Patrick Curtin wrote:

There seems to be a lot of buzz about steampunk, or re-imagining the 19th Century as more technological, or expanding on the science fiction dreams of the early masters like Verne or Welles. It's been about in various forms since the Seventies, but has only recently gained mainstream attention.

Does anyone enjoy this genre? I first came scross it in the writings of Michael Moorcook. There were three novels, now compiled into an omnibus called A Nomad of the Timestreams detailing the adventures of a 19th Century British Army officer, Oswald Bastable, who is shunted to various futures and alternate histories (and is later linked to the larger arc of stories dealing with the Eternal Champion concept.)

In the Nineties The Difference Engine was released, an excellent book co-authored by Bruce Sterling and William Gibson. It dealt with the ramifications of Charles Babbage succeeding in making his early computer.

So, does anyone have a favorite Steampunk novel? I have heard good things about Boneshaker but I have yet to peruse it (though it sits in my unread pile).

Been a big Moorcock fan for years and read these years ago. Pretty good as I remember, but it has been 10 or 15 years since I last read them. The Difference Engine was quite good as I remember as I read it when it first came out.

I just finished the thus far two book series by Scott Westerfeld called Leviathan and Behemoth. Geared for young adult, but fun nonetheless. World War 1 re-imagined with a mixture of Steampunk (Clankers) and Darwinists.

From the webpage for the books:
"Prince Aleksander, would-be heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, is on the run. His own people have turned on him. His title is worthless. All he has is a battletorn war machine and a loyal crew of men.

Deryn Sharp is a commoner, disguised as a boy in the British Air Service. She’s a brilliant airman. But her secret is in constant danger of being discovered.

With World War I brewing, Alek and Deryn’s paths cross in the most unexpected ways, taking them on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure that will change both their lives forever."

Just discovered that book three Goliath will be out in October of this year.


I read a couple of books by James P. Blaylock that you might like: Homunculus and Lord Kelvin's Machine


Thanks for the recommendations guys! They sound interesting

Sovereign Court

Not Steampunk in the traditional sense, but SM Stirling's The Peshwar Lancers made for an interesting read. Technology stagnated in the 19th century due to an astronomical event and it is now the 20th century and the technology is not much further than it had been at the time of the event.


zylphryx wrote:
Not Steampunk in the traditional sense, but SM Stirling's The Peshwar Lancers made for an interesting read. Technology stagnated in the 19th century due to an astronomical event and it is now the 20th century and the technology is not much further than it had been at the time of the event.

Good call on this one, I'd definitely agree. A good book all around. As for books that aren't quite Steampunk, but kinda read like them I'd nominate Neal Stephenson's The Diamond Age. It is technically 'post-Cyberpunk', but many of its writing conventions read like 19th Century throwbacks. I can't really explain the book well, the wiki link covers it. I will say that I have read this book three times, and it is one of my top ten reads of all time (and I read a LOT).


Christopher Priest's The Prestige. Nolan's movie was good, but the book is a must read IMO.

Sczarni

Just started reading The Steampunk Bible. This thing is great. It's chock full of full-color illustrations, and tons of articles, introductions, and sidebars written by all sorts of SF authors.

It starts at the beginning, with Poe, Verne, and Wells, and includes cosplay, music, comics, and other visual art media.

Eye-opening stuff, and a great "Introduction to Steampunk" book.


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Sethvir wrote:

I just finished the thus far two book series by Scott Westerfeld called Leviathan and Behemoth. Geared for young adult, but fun nonetheless. World War 1 re-imagined with a mixture of Steampunk (Clankers) and Darwinists.

The book has a trailer.


Well, it's not exactly steampunk, and it's not exactly a book, but I saw this today.

It was pretty cool and had enough of a steampunk vibe (there's a lot more of an Old West feel than the trailer lets on) to be of interest here.


Doodlebug Anklebiter wrote:

Well, it's not exactly steampunk, and it's not exactly a book, but I saw this today.

It was pretty cool and had enough of a steampunk vibe (there's a lot more of an Old West feel than the trailer lets on) to be of interest here.

Yeah, I got a steampunk/post-apocalypse/wild west vibe there. Definitely one to watch!


The Haunting Of Alaizabel Cray by Chris Wooding, sort of, I wish there were more inventions


Patrick Curtin wrote:
Doodlebug Anklebiter wrote:

Well, it's not exactly steampunk, and it's not exactly a book, but I saw this today.

It was pretty cool and had enough of a steampunk vibe (there's a lot more of an Old West feel than the trailer lets on) to be of interest here.

Yeah, I got a steampunk/post-apocalypse/wild west vibe there. Definitely one to watch!

Unfortunately the reviews are bad...not just a little bad either but gut wrenchingly bad, like 'this movie makes Aliens IV look like a masterpiece in comparison' bad.


It wasn't that bad. I'm not saying it was awesome or anything, but I saw it on a hot day as a matinee (and I might've been [bubble bubble bubble]-ing) and I imagine that if I was really jonesing for a steampunk-ish film it would've hit the spot.


Favorite: Fevre Dream by GRRM

I liked

Tim Akers - Heart of Veridon etc.
Felix Gilman - The Half-Made World
Dru Pagliassotti - Clockwork Heart

The Peshawar Lancers is similar, except post-apocalyptic, not for my taste.

Stephen Hunt's Court of the Air et al., has potential, interesting world, I read this cause of Azlant
Michael Swanwick - Iron Dragon's Daughter, boring, like an adventure in Mechanus, gear spirits. I didn't finish Dragons of Babel.

Retribution Falls by Wooding and Airborn by Oppel are fun.

Empire of Black and Gold by Tchaikovsky is decent, only read the first four books.

Alistair Reynolds - Terminal World and City of Saints and Madmen by Vandermeer have that weird feel, don't exactly fit. And Viriconium, in a way, but I find it difficult to read in english.

Edit: also The Last Page by Anthony Huso


I watched The Prestige yesterday while waiting for my players to assemble, and I think I would recommend seeing the movie before reading the book. I don't do that very often, but I think in this case it is called for.


One of the many in my tottering pile of yard-sale finds, Amazon blitzes and Borders fire sale runs is this guy: Dead Iron. I read a bit but then A Dance With Dragons showed up and summer happened. I never thought I would get to the point where I would wish for September ...

First part was fairly well written, and had a very classic old Western feel to the language. But with steampunk and magic thrown in.


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Not quite a novel, but Girl Genius is brilliant and hilarious. '

Steampunk & mad science & monsters.

It's by Phil & kaja Foglio, which even gives you a D&D connection for those old enough to remember What's New.

The books are worth buying, but it is available online.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Matt Hodder's "The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack" and "The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man" are good. Feature Algeron Swinburne and Richard Burton (the Nile guy, not the actor).

Sovereign Court

thejeff wrote:
Not quite a novel, but Girl Genius is brilliant and hilarious.

Phil Foglio! Oh man, I looked forward to What's New with every issue. They never did successfully do "Sex and D&D", did they?


Not a novel, but interesting nonetheless:

Steampunk vgame

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Gail Carriger's "Soulless" is steampunky and super hilarious. Kind of a Victorian comedy of manners with Buffy. Kinda. But somewhat more lead-weighted parasols and somewhat less pointy bits of wood.


Doodlebug Anklebiter wrote:
didn't care much for The Difference Engine despite being a big Gibson fan.)

Am halfway through it on a second read, and have completely reversed my opinion.

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