For me there is no better way of whisking myself away from the real world than engulfing myself in a good book. There’s something about reading that can take your mind off of all of lives worries and help you to unwind like nothing else. And the best thing about books is that there is always another to read, always a new adventure to be had and a new world to visit. There are so many in fact that it’s difficult to choose where to go next, and as good as a reading a quality book may be, woe betide those who dive into a bad one. Steampunk is a relatively new genre and as such it can sometimes be hard to find good examples of it in literature, there are plenty of good options out there though despite this. We’ve taken a look at a few of these and picked out the stories that we think are an absolute must for any steampunk fan so take a look at list below and see which ones are for you.
The Difference Engine
Author: William Gibson & Bruce Sterling
An alternate reality set in the 19th century (as all good steampunk tales should be), this is a story that tells of a mathematician named Charles Babbage who creates a mechanical computer ushering in the informational age at the very same time as the industrial revolution. Obviously though with the ups, comes the downs and a group of computer hackers rise up known as ‘Clackers’. It’s set in a London filled with steam powered vehicles and many a familiar face. Prime Minister Byron and Lord Darwen orchestrate an empire that is threatened by luddites whilst Benjamin Disraeli has failed his career in politics and instead pens pulp fiction.
This is a book that will split readers down the middle, some absolutely adore whilst others will finish it with a bad taste in their mouths. It does contain long mealy monologues discussing the politics of the world and the state of other countries which will bore some to death whilst serve as intriguing world building for others. It is however a genre defining work that was written in 1991 and therefor I’d say it is certainly worth a read.
Author: Cherie Priest
Unlike most steampunk tales we leave the foggy streets of old London town behind in favour of the USA, specifically Seattle. Boneshaker is the story set in the days of the American Civil War; an inventor named Leviticus Blue is commissioned to create a great mining drill which was fittingly named ‘Dr. Blue’s Incredible Bone-Shaking Drill’. However, when testing this grand machine all goes awry and several blocks of downtown Seattle are demolished. To make things worse a vein of ‘blight’ gas is revealed which essentially turns folk into zombies. Blue’s son Ezekiel takes it upon himself to redeem his fathers name and enters this dangerous, sealed off section of this city, with his mother in hot pursuit, hoping to save him.