I read a lot of Neal Stephenson’s stuff and the only thing he’s written that I cautiously suspect might possibly could be classified steampunk is Diamond Age: Or, a Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer, but I still don’t know if that makes it steampunk because it’s set in the future with Victorian aesthetics instead of in Victoriana with modern technology. (Great book, BTW, but I really really liked The Big U.)
I’ve been meaning to get into it (really!), especially after looking at sites such as Steampunk Workshop and Kit Stolen‘s site (and oh, isn’t he a beautiful man; you know I had to make a character out of him).
But this limits me because to me, steampunk is eye candy, as in goods: Pretty clothes and pretty things and gorgeous textures–all DIY. I mean, really. Look at this stuff. It begs caressment.
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And oh, various steampunk keyboards are for sale at Datamancer, FYI.
Anyway, I’ve been reading a short story by Eva Gale, which is post-apocalyptic for one and steampunk for two (steam engines? of course it is). The story is from Phaze anthology Fantasy IV and is called “Scorpion’s Orchid.” And now my appetite for steampunk fiction is whet and I want more, but SF/F is a foreign land to me. Obviously, I’m going to take suggestions off of Steampunk Workshop’s site, but help me out here, folks. Good steampunk (with or without utopian/dystopian elements) suggestions being solicited.
19 thoughts on “More steampunk, please!”
I think steampunk is a genre where the stuff is more interesting than the actual works.
It also depends on what you want to call steampunk.
Have you read China Miéville’s novels? They are post-apocalyptic steampunk. The comic Girl Genius is kind of cool. The work of young adult novelist Garth Nix is steampunk in places.
But your best bet is to check out this list:
And then let me know which ones are best so I can read them.
Oh, I see how you are. You want me to do your footwork for you. 😉 I will definitely check those out.
Oh you are a cute one, you are. 😉
That is my FAVORITE story I’ve written and I have another I want to write. Romance Divas is going to do a Steampunk Ball and we have some serious Girl Genius freaks over there. And there have been whole threads devoted to steampunk -just do a forum search.
Well, I really liked it or I wouldn’t have said anything at all. Just so you know I wasn’t being sweet. 🙂
I should add that _The Difference Engine_ is somewhat disappointing. But it’s a foundational steampunk work and it’s very cool in places so it’s worth reading.
I only discovered steampunk a few years ago via Emma Holly, but I’m hooked–on both the fiction and the aesthetic. Have you seen this NY Times article on steampunk fashion? Lovely stuff!
Oh, I loved that article, thank you! I’ve seen some really pretty stuff for sale, nouveau Victoriana that claims to be “goth,” but I don’t see it. A lot of it’s tagged “EGA,” or Elegant Gothic Aristocrat.
Steamboy (100 percent pure)
Castle in the Sky
Howl’s Moving Castle
Sherlock Hound (a fun kid’s series)
Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind
Gankutsuo (The Count of Monte Cristo)
Samurai 7 (The Seven Samurai)
Oh, thank you!
I’d never thought of Howl’s Moving Castle as steampunk. Of course I read it when I was a wee tyke, long before I learned the term.
I’ll have to reexamine some of my youthful reading. I suppose Baba Yaga‘s hut could be steampunk too with the right visual interpretation.
Added: Have you seen the steampunk stuff in Makezine? I fell in love with a freaky-looking computer mouse. The original site won’t load for me right now, but there’s a picture on my site.
Yes, I saw that. Beautiful work, really. Wish I had time to DO it or money to BUY it or space to STORE it.
Re: Howl’s Moving Castle. I’m thinking specifically of the Miyazaki interpretation. See the trailer here.
Ohh, I wanted to get that movie and I forgot. Brilliant! It somehow reminds me of Pan’s Labyrinth? I don’t know why.
Eugene, thanks for the trailer link. I’m not sure how I’d pictured it as a child, but I like the castle as a steampunk artifact.
@Wm Morris – I would not classify China Mieville as “post-apocalyptic steampunk” (I assume you’re talking about the Bas-Lag books). They’re steampunk-ish, because they have steam trains, dirigibles, etc., but that’s not their focus. Plus, the novels are set in a completely different world, and there’s absolutely nothing post-apocalyptic about it. “Dark urban fantasy” is how I’d classify it.
My steampunk recommendation is “The Boneshaker” by Cherie Priest: http://www.amazon.com/Boneshaker-Sci-Fi-Essential-Books/dp/0765318415/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1272152970&sr=1-1 Just finished it, and loved it… And the book itself is awesome, it’s printed in a sepia font, which really adds to the atmosphere.
There are very strong hints that the Bas-Lag books are set in a post-apocalyptic world. But your point about the steam-punkish elements not being quite so much the point as more proper steampunk novels is a good one.
@Wm Morris – I would agree that it has a sort of post-apocalyptic _mood_, but I can’t remember anything in there about any sort of apocalypse, not even hints. It’s mentioned that Suroch was destroyed, but never anything concerning the past destruction of New Crobuzon. Or did I miss something?
It problems depends on how you define post-apocalyptic. I view the presence of the Cacotopic Stain and the Scar as evidences of apocalyptic scale changes to the world of Bas-Lag. Certainly there are vast wastelands and wild energies involved whether or not the history of the world includes some sort of apocalyptic event. But as you note, it’s more mood than plot in this case.
Post-apocalyptic is usually defined as a setting in which civilization has been hit by a global catastrophic event, and the world as we know it has been wiped out. This is what I meant when I said there’s no mention of such a catastrophe in those books. Far as I can remember, the Scar was created by the Ghosthead Empire, and the Stain was created by the Torque (while the lands around it remained untouched). But like you said… It’s still pretty much about semantics. 🙂