Best Steampunk Books

Wikipedia defines steampunk as:

"A subgenre of fantasy and speculative fiction that came into prominence in the 1980s and early 1990s. The term denotes works set in an era or world where steam power is still widely used—usually the 19th century, and often set in Victorian era England—but with prominent elements of either science fiction or fantasy, such as fictional technological inventions like those found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne, or real technological developments like the computer occurring at an earlier date. Other examples of steampunk contain alternate history-style presentations of "the path not taken" of such technology as dirigibles or analog computers; these frequently are presented in an idealized light, or a presumption of functionality."

Please only add books that fit the steampunk definition and have "steampunk" listed on the book's main genre page.
1

by
3.91 avg rating — 77,070 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
2

by
3.91 avg rating — 72,083 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
3

by
3.50 avg rating — 27,481 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
4

by
3.96 avg rating — 45,636 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
5

by
3.86 avg rating — 298,052 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
6

by
3.86 avg rating — 146,062 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
7

by
4.33 avg rating — 505,990 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
8

by
3.93 avg rating — 980,493 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
9

by
3.93 avg rating — 41,377 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
10

by
really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 33,015 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
11

by
3.40 avg rating — 15,945 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
12

by
3.87 avg rating — 13,466 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
13

by
4.18 avg rating — 31,558 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
14

by
3.64 avg rating — 51,688 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
15

by
3.81 avg rating — 19,351 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
16

by
4.25 avg rating — 25,105 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
17

by
4.16 avg rating — 19,824 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
18

by
really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 28,807 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
19

by
3.98 avg rating — 14,105 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
20

by
4.07 avg rating — 24,535 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
21

by
3.80 avg rating — 33,984 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
22

by
4.13 avg rating — 3,682 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
23

by
3.70 avg rating — 6,491 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
24

by
4.12 avg rating — 21,464 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
25

by
4.14 avg rating — 16,122 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
26

by
4.46 avg rating — 319,336 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
27

by
3.69 avg rating — 5,854 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
28

by
3.56 avg rating — 5,037 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
29

by
4.23 avg rating — 134,125 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
30

by
4.59 avg rating — 242,921 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
31

by
3.98 avg rating — 6,877 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
32

by
4.49 avg rating — 93,782 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
33

by
3.95 avg rating — 11,632 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
34

by
3.94 avg rating — 37,692 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
35

by
4.03 avg rating — 9,682 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
36

by
3.82 avg rating — 4,661 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
37

by
3.81 avg rating — 15,306 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
38

by
3.77 avg rating — 6,622 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
39

by
4.19 avg rating — 65,469 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
40

by
3.83 avg rating — 4,631 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
41

by
3.77 avg rating — 1,610 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
42

by
3.50 avg rating — 4,523 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
43

by
3.67 avg rating — 6,351 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
44

by
3.53 avg rating — 1,975 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
45

by
3.87 avg rating — 6,763 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
46

by
4.10 avg rating — 267,258 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
47

by
3.98 avg rating — 8,976 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
48

by
4.09 avg rating — 3,235 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
49

by
3.38 avg rating — 2,249 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
50

by
3.31 avg rating — 3,647 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
51

by
3.66 avg rating — 1,954 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
52

by
3.88 avg rating — 8,084 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
53

by
3.94 avg rating — 12,128 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
54

by
3.87 avg rating — 6,657 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
55

by
4.12 avg rating — 17,620 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
56

by
3.56 avg rating — 3,350 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
57

by
4.01 avg rating — 2,733 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
58

by
4.18 avg rating — 24,954 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
59

by
3.73 avg rating — 7,304 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
60

by
3.98 avg rating — 3,396 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
61

by
3.22 avg rating — 2,038 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
62

by
4.24 avg rating — 35,225 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
63

by
4.07 avg rating — 271,921 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
64

by
3.84 avg rating — 9,585 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
65

by
3.60 avg rating — 3,041 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
66

by
3.61 avg rating — 3,396 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
67

by
3.96 avg rating — 4,863 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
68

by
3.26 avg rating — 1,633 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
69

by
3.67 avg rating — 3,824 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
70

by
3.82 avg rating — 2,992 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
71

by
3.50 avg rating — 22,951 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
72

by
3.88 avg rating — 2,351 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
73

by
3.37 avg rating — 10,150 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
74

by
3.99 avg rating — 3,566 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
75

by
4.06 avg rating — 214,623 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
76

by
3.42 avg rating — 813 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
77

by
3.67 avg rating — 1,276 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
78

by
liked it 3.00 avg rating — 2,625 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
79

by
3.55 avg rating — 1,460 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
80

by
3.79 avg rating — 7,056 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
81

by
3.79 avg rating — 9,582 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
82

by
3.59 avg rating — 2,352 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
83

by
3.74 avg rating — 3,381 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
84

by
3.58 avg rating — 666 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
85

by
3.68 avg rating — 3,396 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
86

by
3.34 avg rating — 1,371 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
86

by
4.23 avg rating — 9,378 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
88

by
3.85 avg rating — 3,470 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
89

by
3.70 avg rating — 3,651 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
90

by
3.94 avg rating — 2,781 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
91

by
3.67 avg rating — 624 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
92

by
4.37 avg rating — 4,437 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
93

by
3.50 avg rating — 2,753 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
94

by
3.72 avg rating — 1,270 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
95

by
3.54 avg rating — 685 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
96

by
3.64 avg rating — 2,007 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
97

by
3.82 avg rating — 2,308 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
98

by
3.85 avg rating — 4,293 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
99

by
4.28 avg rating — 2,226 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
100

by
3.58 avg rating — 1,640 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
flag this list (?)
904 books · 4,027 voters · list created August 12th, 2008 by Keely Hyslop (votes) .
996 likes · 
Lists are re-scored approximately every 5 minutes.


Keely 1032 books
318 friends
Greyweather 2601 books
69 friends
Maria 331 books
2 friends
Chris 254 books
15 friends
Chris 474 books
28 friends
Sandi 1471 books
424 friends
bsc 576 books
56 friends
VanHalen 787 books
48 friends

More voters…


Comments (showing 1-49)




dateUp arrow    newest »

message 49: by Greyweather (new)

Greyweather If you want anyone to see this, I'd suggest you change the tag "scifi" to "sci-fi"


message 48: by Keely (new)

Keely Hyslop Thanks for the suggestion!


message 47: by Travis (new)

Travis I don't see 'Neverwhere' as steampunk. It's just fantasy.


message 46: by C-tim (new)

C-tim "Anno Dracula" - has Dracula so it's horror, but it's clearly steampunk horror.


message 45: by [deleted user] (new)

Travis wrote: "I don't see 'Neverwhere' as steampunk. It's just fantasy."
agreed.


message 44: by Patricia (new)

Patricia There's a great graphic novel called Vogelein: The Clockwork Faerie by Jane Irwin, that should be on this steampunk list; also a #2 Vogelein: Old Ghosts.


message 43: by Ashlee (new)

Ashlee I'm surprised Ginn Hale's Wicked Gentlemen isn't higher up on the list. It's a superb example of the genre.


message 42: by Nicol (last edited Jan 23, 2011 12:16PM) (new)

Nicol Legakis Lamplighter This is a great series (Monster Blood Tattoo) and I can't believe it hasn't gotten more notice!


message 41: by Susan (new)

Susan Shields I just finished Modern Marvels - Viktoriana and highly recommend it.


message 40: by [deleted user] (new)

Why doesnt anybody now about this book!people these day cant reconise a good book when they see it!


message 39: by Vicky (new)

Vicky N. The Iron King is so NOT steampunk. It is not set in the 19th century nor is it set up in England. It's just a modern fantasy book.


message 38: by Travis (new)

Travis Technically, Steampunk does not have to take place in England, merely the Victorian age.
Besides, at the time the British Empire was about a quarter of the globe, so plenty of room there.


message 37: by Mendy (new)

Mendy The City of Ember is not steam punk. It's dystopian/ post apocalyptic book.


message 36: by Brittney (new)

Brittney Mendy wrote: "The City of Ember is not steam punk. It's dystopian/ post apocalyptic book."

I second that.

Snow Crash doesn't belong up there either, it's futuristic sci-fi or cyber-punk or whatever, but there is nothing remotely steam punk about it. I think there should be a button that allows you to vote to remove a book if it doesn't belong.


message 35: by Esmë (new)

Esmë The Diamond Age is technically cyberpunk, not steampunk.


message 34: by Michele (new)

Michele Brenton Cyrus Darian and the Technomicron Cyrus Darian and the Technomicron by Raven Dane
Goodreads Giveaway - ends October 1st

Released earlier this month at The Weekend at the Asylum Steampunk Event at Lincoln - this is true steampunk at its finest.

The Technomicron; ancient, deadly, powerful and in 1860s London every seeker of power - natural or supernatural - wants to wield it. And they are prepared to stop at nothing to get it. Enter Cyrus Darian; hedonist, philanderer, alchemist and necromancer, hired by wealthy American Zachariah P. Dedman to find it. Dedman's life, the honour of his beautiful, haughty daughter Athena and the future of the world itself rest in the hands of Cyrus Darian. What could possibly go wrong? Steampunk, sex and magic in a heady mix that will make your head spin.

Search on Google for "Raven Dane" Cyrus Darian The Asylum and then click images - for some great pictures from the event & the book launch.


message 33: by Sarah (new)

Sarah I don't think Howl's Moving Castle is steampunk; while the movie certainly contains some of those elements, the book is as straight a fantasy as they come.


message 32: by Djinnie (new)

Djinnie Whoa, there are so many books on this list that are not steam punk! Temeraire, the Baroque Cycle, the Lies of Locke Lamora just to name a few. Who categorised this list?


message 31: by Phil (last edited Oct 23, 2011 02:36AM) (new)

Phil I'm in favor of the widest possible definition of steampunk. Genre police are boring. They're a big part of the reason genre fiction doesn't get the respect it deserves. If it has any technology—any, not just steam-powered stuff—that's an extrapolation of Victorian-era technology or Victorian-era notions of where technology was headed, without necessarily having any regard for how plausible or realistic these notions were, I think it's close enough to be included in the genre. Who cares what kind of supernatural, cryptozoological, or anachronistic stuff is added to the story on top of that?


message 30: by [deleted user] (new)

Leviathan *cough cough*


message 29: by Artjom (new)

Artjom Rjabov Omg. "Soulless" on the first place. That girlish twilight-like romance book... Is it the best steampunk novel so far?


message 28: by Ducky (new)

Ducky Dame When I read Clockwork Angel I felt that it was seriously lacking in the steampunk department. Yeah it was set in the right period but having one or two scenes that included automatons doesn't exactly make it steampunk in my opinion.


message 27: by Gally (last edited Mar 26, 2012 10:23AM) (new)

Gally A great number of these books are not steampunk, such as His Dark Materials and Windup Girl. Some are actually cyberpunk, which has quite a few significant differences from steampunk. While I like both genres and some of other the books here, it'd be a good idea to tweak this list for the genre it's aimed at representing, or change the list title to include cyberpunk, weird fiction, and whatever else is going on here. I'm not trying to be a stickler about genres or anything, it's just that this list has obviously already confused people as to what steampunk actually is. Someone's in for one heck of a surprise if he or she reads something by Neal Stephenson, likes it and thinks it's steampunk, then turns around and reads something by Cherie Priest, who actually writes steampunk.


message 26: by Ducky (new)

Ducky Dame very true. there are a lot of genres to the whole steam punk world.

steampunk
cyberpunk
dieselpunk
weird west
girl genius

yeadie yadie yadie

but do you think that readers who arent as familiar with the who steam cogs gears and clockwork worlds might get a little confused?


message 25: by Esmë (new)

Esmë But still, once you get into all the similar genres/sub genres, it can get annoying. I mean, what if I want just steam punk?


message 24: by Ducky (new)

Ducky Dame true true. people who enjoy the steam may not like the diesel. ;)


message 23: by Kim (last edited Apr 10, 2012 09:45PM) (new)

Kim The Temeraire series is not steampunk. Firstly it's set during the Napoleonic era which proceeded the Victorian era and secondly it's about dragons. No steam of any kind involved.

I'd say Howl's Moving Castle isn't either. Yes his castle moves via steam but it's magical, not mechanical. Otherwise the Harry Potter series could qualify as steampunk.


message 22: by Julie (new)

Julie Ummm Neuromancer is cyberpunk. It takes place in the future. There's space travel, cyberspace, computer hacking. Not steampunk. Your list is too confusing. There are so many not-steampunk books here. I can't vote on it.


message 21: by Kari (new)

Kari How is "Blackout" by Connie Willis Steampunk?

Most people agree that the Steampunk era ends at the First World War.

Also, there is no steam based technology anywhere in the book.

It's excellent, but not Steampunk.


message 20: by Tracy (new)

Tracy The Lathe of Heaven is not a steampunk novel either!


message 19: by Sarah (new)

Sarah I have to agree with Kari: Blackout by Connie Willis is not in any way steampunk. It's a time travel novel set during the Blitz. No alternate technology.


message 18: by Florin (new)

Florin Pitea I would suggest two items to be added on the list: "Steampunk: Manimatron" and "Steampunk: Drama Obscura", by Joe Kelly and Chris Bachalo. Details here: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32... and here: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15....


message 17: by Paul (new)

Paul How on earth did Phule's Company make it onto this list? It's straight up Science Fiction Parody. It's about as steampunk as Galaxy Quest.


message 16: by Joseph (new)

Joseph Remesar El Dirigible by Joseph Remesar
Uno de las pocas novelas originales del subgénero escritas en español.


message 15: by B.H. (last edited Apr 12, 2014 09:59AM) (new)

B.H. Alsop The Captain and the Lady Fair Changing Times by Quinne Darkover This is definitely steampunk and is a wonderful book. The author is working on a sequel and I can't wait! Since the wonderful book cover does not show: The Captain and The Lady Fair: Changing Times, by Quinne Darkover. It should definitely be on this list!


message 14: by Joseph (new)

Joseph Remesar Be ready for the 72nd World SciFi Convention - 14 to 18 August in London - I will be there introducing an Art Steampunk book based in my novels.


message 13: by Kara Rae (new)

Kara Rae Garland Well...even though a lot of books on the list aren't necessarily steampunk, I have found a lot of great books on this list that I want to read! So it has its uses.


message 12: by Chris (new)

Chris Well, the definition of "Steampunk" that I've always preferred is: "Yesterday's Tomorrow".

So, that's pretty wide. It doesn't require England, it doesn't require the gears and clockwork or the Victorian (or even Edwardian) era(s). That having been said however, there are still some books I see on this list that shouldn't be here.

Stardust catches my eye, that one is a Fantasy, pure and simple, no "steampunk" about it in my opinion. I loved the book, but I don't think it belongs on this list.

The Windup Girl is pure Hard Science Fiction. The technology of the setting is fairly low because it represents a world-after-the-oil-is-gone, but it's still a science fiction setting with extremely high levels of bio-tech and gene manipulation. It's a great book, it won the Nebula for its year and tied for the Hugo, but that doesn't make it steampunk.

There are a LOT of books out there, the whole goal of lists like this one and of library curation in general is to help potential readers make sense of it all. If I'm looking for more books like The Black Lung Captain, or The Horns of Ruin, or Boneshaker, then I'm not going to find this list too helpful.

I agree with Brittney, there should be a way to vote to remove books from a given list. Being inclusive is all well and good, but I'd prefer to see tighter curation on most of these lists.


message 11: by B.H. (new)

B.H. Alsop Tracy wrote: "The Lathe of Heaven is not a steampunk novel either!"

But it's a wonderful story nonetheless!


message 10: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Obrigewitsch Ducky wrote: "very true. there are a lot of genres to the whole steam punk world.

steampunk
cyberpunk
dieselpunk
weird west
girl genius

yeadie yadie yadie

but do you think that readers who arent as familiar..."


Cyberpunk has nothing to do with Steampunk other than the word punk.


message 9: by Quinne (new)

Quinne Darkover I agree that several books on the list are not steampunk. Back before definitions got nuts, steampunk was generally defined as Victorian era, technology used steam and mechanical for the devices. Basic electricity was allowed. Largely it used the Victorian mores of the day. The characters were a challenge to those values and standards. Aether crept in a short time later to add an extra permissible power source to modify the results of the steam power output. There was no: had to be England: had to have lots of gears: or even great clunking robots. The beginnings of steampunk allowed for anything the imagination could create as long as it was mechanical, or steam powered. I dash of "mystery energy" was allowed. I was happy with that.


message 8: by B.H. (new)

B.H. Alsop Why can I not access page 5? It's been two days now and I'm getting sick of it.


message 7: by Quinne (new)

Quinne Darkover I have not been able to see page 5 since I joined.


message 6: by Cassandra (new)

Cassandra Chris wrote: "Well, the definition of "Steampunk" that I've always preferred is: "Yesterday's Tomorrow".

So, that's pretty wide. It doesn't require England, it doesn't require the gears and clockwork or the Vi..."


librarians can remove books from a list if they don't fit. If you become a librarian to do so, remember only to take it off the list it you're sure it doesn't fit :)


message 5: by Cassandra (new)

Cassandra Ok I've removed Night Circus and City of Ember for not being steampunk although they're both good books. Night Circus is just straight-out fantasy, and City of Ember is post-apocalyptic/dystopian.


message 4: by Michael (new)

Michael Mccoy The Killing Floor by Lee Child is NOT steampunk and shouldn't be on this list at all - It's a Jack Reacher novel.


message 3: by Chris (last edited Feb 08, 2017 12:09PM) (new)

Chris I'd like to see The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman in this list. Which it is now, I only just discovered how to add it myself!


message 2: by Alberta (new)

Alberta Ross I thought I would acquaint myself with the world of steam punk and hoped I would find out what it was and some recommendations as to what to try to see if i would enjoy - so far Goodreads is letting me down:( reading the comments on the list I am no nearer knowing what I might like to try - surely there is a definition?

please help this old lady:)


message 1: by Chris (last edited Apr 10, 2017 09:42PM) (new)

Chris Alberta wrote: "I thought I would acquaint myself with the world of steam punk and hoped I would find out what it was and some recommendations as to what to try to see if i would enjoy - so far Goodreads is lettin..."

The definition of Steampunk is "Yesterday's Tomorrow".

Frequently Steampunk stories are set in a re-envisioned Victorian era, with fantastical, sometimes magical technology added in, but that's not a requirement.

The book which originally defined the sub-genre is William Gibson's The Difference Engine, which ponders what the world would have been like, had the Victorian empire mastered Charles Babbage's mechanical computational tool: The Difference Engine (of the story title). The sub-genre derives its name from the earlier literary movement Cyberpunk (also defined by William Gibson's works), which was an attempt to render more traditional Science Fiction with a more deconstructionist, "punk" approach.

Retroactively, it would be safe to include many (most) of the works of H. G. Wells in the Steampunk category, though of course the concept didn't exist at the time he was writing.

My own definition of Steampunk is much narrower than what's presented here. I tend to eschew the more romantically themed stories and to prefer more action oriented works.

Bearing my personal bias in mind, I'd personally recommend looking at Retribution Falls, The Aeronaut's Windlass, or perhaps Agatha Heterodyne & the Golden Trilobite: A Gaslamp Fantasy with Adventure, Romance & Mad Science.

Hope that helps.


back to top



Anyone can add books to this list.