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November 05, 2008


Pete S

Once again, good luck with NaNo!

I can't really help with Steampunk I'm afraid. Ironically the closest thing to it I've read recently is the Gotrek & Felix Warhammer stories... which are pretty fun!


You should probably try The Difference Engine which is fairly seminal to recent writing in the genre. I also highly recomment Tim Powers but he's more occult than steampunk to my mind, anyway.

(I tried to link in the text and apparently am a noob. Maybe brute force will work:

That Wikipedia article might give you a starting point, too, though it won't come with personal recommendations. That said, it's *very* hard to recommend books for someone one doesn't personally know, at least for me.

Enjoy the vacation, and happy writing & reading.


Alot of the steampunk based novels I know of/have read are 'out of date'. I've not seen much in the way of newly published Steampunk material bar what you can find within Warmachine fiction.


I'm struggling to come with any Steampunk books.

H. Beam Piper's "The Space Vikings" is similar to Steampunk in many ways. Although set in space, the setting is very feudal in nature, so you have the technology but with a medieval theme.

Another of my favourite books with an outlandish story, this time set in a fantasy world, is ER Eddison's the Worm Ouroboros.
It came out in the 1920s, so no Tolkien rip-off.
A great read, and disimmilar to most Fantasy books of the present (no Steampunk though!).

Re your list of authors:

Dan Simmons is a very gifted and at the same time very infuriating story teller.
Hyperion is still one of my favourite books, and Carrion Comfort is up there with it, but both The Song of Kali, and The fall of Hyperion were such a disappointment for me; anticlimax is an understatement.

Roger Zelazny's Amber series was great, although I wasn't too thrilled with the follow-on series.

JK Rowling - I find Harry Potter to be fun and awful at the same time! I'm still trying to read the 6th book, but not making much progress there.

Apologies for going off-topic.


This is your lucky day. If you haven't read the best steampunk...er, gaslight fantasy ever, here is your chance.



Seeing you like almost all the authors I do, here are my suggestions...

Start with "Neverwhere" by Neil Gaiman. Considered an epitome of Steampunk.

Or try American Gods which has a modern flair to the old Fantasy trappings. (For example, Odin, Balder, Loki, Anubis, Horus, etc, etc...all make appearances).

The "Watch" series (Nightwatch, Daywatch, Twilightwatch)from a Russian author has an old world feel with magic, vampires, and a group of "Others" who are split between good and evil and kept in line with the neutral "Inquisition", but set in a modern time.

Now, you can stray into Michael Moorcok and try
Nomad of the Time Streams for a more fantasy feel.
Or The Dancers at the End of Time for a Victorian feel.

Need more? Let me know...I gotta bunch!


China Mieville has written some terrific steam punk stuff: Start with Perdido Street Station and work you way from there. I warn you its pretty dark though.

If you liked Dan Simmons you will probably also like Pete Hamilton. The Nights Dawn series is superb.


@Peter - thanks for encouragement :-)

@Ysh - thanks for the link i found lots of useful information. BTW, I am starting to twitch from not playing WAR. I was fine up until last night. I didn't log on but I might not be able to hold out any longer!

@Vlad - I agree about Simmons. I LOVED LOVED LOVED the Amber series. I didn't bother with the follow-on books. I check every now and again for an audio version but no luck. I've read the Great Book of Amber twice. It's the Chronicles 1 to 10. Lots of times I want to experience the story again but I dont want to dedicate the time needed to make it thru 1300 pages. *sigh* AUDIO BOOK PLEASE!

I have to say that I loved the HP series. Certainly not the best fiction I've read but I love the fun and intimacy of the story itself. I've read most of the books twice and listened to the audios countless times. I actually miss "knowing" about those characters and anticipating what they'll be up to next.

I do like the feudal/ME themes and settings so will check into your suggestion.

@Nimbus - thanks for the link. I actually saw that linked on another site but didnt bother to check it out for some reason. will give it a look though.

@Open - I'll give Neverwhere a look. I've actually seen Daywatch and Nightwatch but they didnt strike me as steampunk and while I enjoyed the surreal nature of the films, they don't appeal to me enough to read them.

@mbp - Thanks I'll google those and see what I can find out about them.

Thanks all for the many suggestions. Even though it's hard to make recs for other people when it comes to books, it's a sight more plausible to find something I'd like among these which come from ppl I have something in common with, than me just shooting blindly in the dark on my own.


I was going to suggest China Mieville as well for Steampunk.

I just read The Scar, and loved it. The ending was ... it kind of left you expecting more. But the characters and the stuff that happens is just over the top fantastical and rich. And his Iron Council, is all about a train, and humans equipped with steam powered machinery, and what could be more steampunk than that?

I didn't see Gene Wolfe on your list. He's got several book series that he's written. The Book of the New Sun, The Book of the Long Sun, and The Book of the Short Sun. It's not Steampunk, but for his use of language and style of writing and as a means of escape, this guy is unmatched. Just absolutely incredible writing.


I would say that the Thomas Pynchon's Against the Day is pretty team punk and a good book. I'd put that on your list.


Thanks Kinless. Thanks Thac0. I now have a nice list of options.


This anthology just came out. Pretty much perfect timing: http://www.amazon.com/Steampunk-Ann-VanderMeer/dp/1892391759


I haven't really read much of the classic "Steampunk" novels, but I do remember finding one book I enjoyed a lot which might fit into the genre. The "Council of Blades" by Paul Kidd is a little known Forgotten Realms book that was blasted for not being fantasy enough. It's also more humourous then most books in that universe which is probably why I liked it.

Also if you like Roger Zelazny then try "Lord of Light". Its not quite Steampunk but does blur the line between magic and technology.

Now if you are a patient reader and can stand walls of text then I suggest trying out "The Magic Engineer". Its one of the Recluse books by L. E. Modesitt Jr. and most represents the Steampunk feel that is in some of his books.


@Emily ordered this one. Thanks so much for the link. I think starting with an anthology is a great first buy.

@Relm - I really do enjoy RZ. I find is narrative compelling and imaginative worlds exciting so this will be next.

Julie Whitefeather

If you are looking for a steam punk novel one that is considered a prime example was co-written by William Gibson (mona lisa overdrive and the man who invited the term "cyberspace) and Bruce Sterling. The novel is called "The Difference Engine."

"In the novel, the British Empire is more powerful than it was in our world, thanks to the development and use of extremely advanced steam driven technology in industry. In addition, similar military technology has enhanced the capabilities of the armed forces (airships, dreadnoughts, and artillery); and the Babbage computers themselves. Britain, rather than the United States opened Japan to Western trade, in part because the United States became fragmented, due to interference from a Britain which foresaw the implications of a truly United States on the world stage. Counterpart successor states to our world's United States include: a (truncated) United States; the Confederate States of America; the Republic of Texas; the Republic of California; a Communist Manhattan Island commune (with Karl Marx as a leading light); British North America (analogous to Canada, albeit slightly larger in this world); Russian America (Alaska); and terra nullius. Additionally, all land in the Americas are colloquially referred to as America" - Wikipedia


Neal Stephenson "The Diamond Age" 'nuff said


Stephen Baxter's "Anti-Ice" is clearly steampunk. Almost all of KJ Jeter's work is steampunk -- Infernal Devices is a masterful example. I have to echo what other people have written about China Mielville, but I have to point out that his books do not have happy endings. James Blaylock has a lot of steampunk-ish stuff; I've read The Digging Leviathan and Lord Kelvin's machine, Wikipedia says there was a third in his steampunk books that I don't think I have read.


Thanks Julie, I added it to my list.

I googled "the Diamond Age" and this appears to be cyberpunk which isn't very appealing to me right now.

LOL - Thanks Tipa for pointing that out. I don't mind unhappy endings but right now I'm in the mood for something more up beat so that is definitely good to know.

BTW you tempted me into checking out W101. You're much too convincing. I wish I could fall in love with games again. I want to feel like you do about whatever I'm playing. I want to love EQ2 like you and StarGrace. But alas, I can not. *cries*

W101 seems interesting and I might tiptoe around a bit more. It was hard to enjoy it the other night with my nephew snickering over my shoulder saying, "What is that crap you're playing?! I want to see you play your Bright Wizard!"

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