The Best Books of Steampunk

So, this is one of those best of lists that is strangely particular. However, it is possible that you are also looking for a list like this one. Perhaps you, too, are suddenly curious about steampunk. A sort of mashup of fantasy and science fiction (though really science fiction), it’s not the world’s largest subgenre, but it is out there and I all of a sudden want to read more of it. Okay, any of it.

For me, it began as a conversation with my son. It was a fun conversation, where we talked about what steampunk is (a parallel universe where humanity sorta stayed in Victorian times and did not change to the modern age or modern technology and definitely not computers, usually historical fiction and using steam-powered engines) and then we wondered about different ways this subgenre could be taken, or what other subgenres could have arisen (or are yet to arise) from this same grain of an idea: what if technology (and to an extent, culture) had stalled in a certain era but advanced within itself? I was intrigued, starry-eyed with wonder and daydreams. Plus, I was like, steampunk is fun as a style, a fashion, and perhaps after I create my next four, planned cosplay outfits, I should go the ol’ steampunk way. And, inevitably for me, I felt an itch in my brain to make a steampunk book list.

In the end, I think this list will be helpful. Why? Well, the thing is, I have spent some time during the past couple years planning out a fan fiction series based on the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. There are many pieces there. However, I have been conflicted on writing this as fan fic because, even though I am a huge fan and I love to immerse myself in this world, I am also a working writing. So, money. I can not make money off of HP fan fic (though Rowling generously (I think) lets you publish it on certain platforms). I have been wondering, for a while, if there was a different world in which I could set my story. Nothing seemed even remotely doable, until this. Steampunk. I will have to do some more thinking and research (and reading, duh), but I really think that the story, the plot, and the characters I have (with some modifications) could be transferred to and written in a steampunk universe instead of magic. I am intrigued. And I will have this list here when I am ready to tackle a new series.

Perdido Street Station, China Mieville

The Scar, China Mieville

Iron Council, China Mieville

The Fall of Babel, Josiah Bancroft

The Aylseford Skull, James P. Blaylock

Fever Crumb, Philip Reeve

The Anubis Gates, Tim Powers

Ack-Ack Macaque, Gareth L. Powell

The Hod King, Josiah Bancroft

Godsgrave, Jay Kristoff

The Difference Engine, Gibson and Sterling

Captain Nemo, Kevin J. Anderson

In Dark Service, Stephen Hunt

Larklight, Philip Reeve

Boneshaker, Cherie Priest

Soulless, Gail Carriger

Leviathan, Scott Westerfield

Clockwork Angel, Cassandra Clare

The Diamond Age, Neil Stephenson

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Jules Verne

The Windup Girl, Paolo Bacigalupi

Lady of Devices, Shelly Adina

The Greyfriar, The Griffiths

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Alan Moore

The Affinity Bridge, George Mann

Airborn, Kenneth Oppel

The Girl in the Steel Corset, Kady Cross

The Alchemy of Stone, Ekaterina Sedia

The Half-Made World, Felix Gilman

Clockwork Heart, Dru Pagliosotti

Mainspring, Jay Lake

Phoenix Rising, Pip Ballentine

Dearly, Departed, Lia Habel

Airman, Eoin Colfer

Etiquette and Espionage, Gail Carriger

Mortal Engines, Philip Reeve

The Warlord of the Air, Michael Moorcock

The Time Machine, H. G. Wells

Morlock Night, K. W. Jeter

Queen Victoria’s Bomb, Ronald W. Clark

The Rose of Versailles, Ryoko Ikeda

Homunculus, James P. Baylock

Infernal Devices, K. W. Jeter

Gotham by Gaslight, Brian Augustyn

Anno Dracula, Kim Newman

Anti-Ice, Stephen Baxter

Naausica of the Valley of the Wind, Hayao Miyasaki

Soulless, Gail Carriger

Wolrdshaker, Richard Harland

The Dream of Perpetual Motion, Dexter Palmer

The Bookman, Lavie Tidhar

Dreadnought, Cherie Priest

The Manual of Detection, Jedidiah Berry

Hour of the Wolf, Andrius Tapinas

The Aeronauts Windlass, Jim Butcher

The Emporer’s Edge, Lindsay Buroker

His Dark Materials, Philip Pulman

The Invention of Hugo Cabret, Brian Selznik

The Alchemy of Stone, Ekaterina Sedia

Retribution Falls, Chris Wooding

Agatha H. and the Airship City, Kaja FoglioThe Iron Duke, Maljean Brook

Worldshaker, Richard Harland

Heart of Veridon, Tim Akers

The Steampunk Trilogy, Paul di Filippo

Against the Day, Thomas Pynchon

Storming, K. M. Weiland

Girl Genius Omnibus Volume One, Agatha Awakens

Blameless, Gail Carriger

Howl’s Moving Castle, Diana Wynn Jones

The Little Ships, J. A. Sutherland

Changeless, Gail Carriger

Beneath London, James P. Blaylock

Cold Magic, Kate Elliott

The Clockwork Scarab, Colleen Gleason

Frankenstein, Mary Shelley *

Steampunk, Jeff Vandermeer

The Golden Compass, Philip Pullman

The Strange Case of Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde

The Time Ships, Stephen Baxter

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