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

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3.50 avg rating — 28,974 ratings
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3.97 avg rating — 50,076 ratings
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5

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3.88 avg rating — 334,977 ratings
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6

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3.87 avg rating — 161,306 ratings
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7

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4.33 avg rating — 563,016 ratings
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3.95 avg rating — 1,075,208 ratings
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3.93 avg rating — 43,935 ratings
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10

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really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 35,675 ratings
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11

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3.86 avg rating — 14,370 ratings
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12

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3.41 avg rating — 16,926 ratings
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13

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4.18 avg rating — 34,027 ratings
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14

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4.25 avg rating — 26,962 ratings
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15

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3.64 avg rating — 53,810 ratings
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16

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4.01 avg rating — 31,189 ratings
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17

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4.16 avg rating — 21,496 ratings
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18

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3.80 avg rating — 20,362 ratings
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19

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3.80 avg rating — 37,685 ratings
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20

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3.95 avg rating — 19,899 ratings
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21

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4.07 avg rating — 26,621 ratings
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22

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4.13 avg rating — 3,982 ratings
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23

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3.70 avg rating — 6,913 ratings
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24

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4.12 avg rating — 23,508 ratings
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25

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4.45 avg rating — 370,460 ratings
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26

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4.14 avg rating — 17,299 ratings
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27

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4.23 avg rating — 143,758 ratings
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28

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4.59 avg rating — 271,512 ratings
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29

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3.69 avg rating — 6,249 ratings
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30

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3.56 avg rating — 5,365 ratings
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31

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3.98 avg rating — 7,580 ratings
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32

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3.94 avg rating — 12,749 ratings
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33

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4.49 avg rating — 100,890 ratings
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34

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3.93 avg rating — 39,488 ratings
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35

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4.03 avg rating — 10,845 ratings
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36

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3.82 avg rating — 4,917 ratings
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37

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3.82 avg rating — 16,303 ratings
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38

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4.19 avg rating — 71,115 ratings
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39

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3.77 avg rating — 7,202 ratings
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40

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3.81 avg rating — 4,958 ratings
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41

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4.12 avg rating — 294,151 ratings
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42

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4.18 avg rating — 30,066 ratings
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43

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3.78 avg rating — 1,696 ratings
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44

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3.87 avg rating — 7,113 ratings
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45

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3.50 avg rating — 4,752 ratings
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46

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3.52 avg rating — 2,069 ratings
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47

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3.67 avg rating — 6,833 ratings
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48

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4.11 avg rating — 19,965 ratings
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49

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3.86 avg rating — 9,293 ratings
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50

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3.97 avg rating — 9,516 ratings
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51

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4.08 avg rating — 3,544 ratings
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52

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3.65 avg rating — 2,126 ratings
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53

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3.37 avg rating — 2,425 ratings
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54

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3.95 avg rating — 13,766 ratings
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55

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4.01 avg rating — 2,963 ratings
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56

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3.88 avg rating — 7,022 ratings
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57

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4.08 avg rating — 296,125 ratings
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58

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3.31 avg rating — 3,804 ratings
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59

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3.57 avg rating — 3,524 ratings
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60

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3.72 avg rating — 7,913 ratings
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61

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3.22 avg rating — 2,114 ratings
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62

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4.25 avg rating — 40,521 ratings
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63

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3.98 avg rating — 3,592 ratings
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64

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3.60 avg rating — 3,188 ratings
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65

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4.08 avg rating — 236,865 ratings
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66

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3.29 avg rating — 1,714 ratings
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67

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3.61 avg rating — 3,581 ratings
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68

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3.96 avg rating — 5,218 ratings
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69

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3.83 avg rating — 9,935 ratings
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70

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3.37 avg rating — 10,797 ratings
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71

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3.65 avg rating — 4,098 ratings
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72

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73

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3.50 avg rating — 24,330 ratings
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74

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3.89 avg rating — 2,530 ratings
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74

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3.82 avg rating — 3,748 ratings
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76

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3.66 avg rating — 1,398 ratings
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77

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3.38 avg rating — 904 ratings
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78

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3.78 avg rating — 7,411 ratings
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79

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3.55 avg rating — 1,565 ratings
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80

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liked it 3.00 avg rating — 2,714 ratings
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81

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3.67 avg rating — 3,684 ratings
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82

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3.79 avg rating — 10,690 ratings
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83

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3.59 avg rating — 2,546 ratings
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84

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3.74 avg rating — 3,555 ratings
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85

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3.57 avg rating — 705 ratings
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86

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3.93 avg rating — 2,982 ratings
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87

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4.23 avg rating — 10,389 ratings
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88

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3.84 avg rating — 3,687 ratings
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89

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3.34 avg rating — 1,527 ratings
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90

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3.70 avg rating — 3,877 ratings
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91

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3.65 avg rating — 658 ratings
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92

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4.21 avg rating — 98,109 ratings
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93

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3.72 avg rating — 1,386 ratings
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94

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4.37 avg rating — 5,041 ratings
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95

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3.83 avg rating — 2,561 ratings
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96

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3.50 avg rating — 2,892 ratings
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97

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3.54 avg rating — 759 ratings
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98

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4.16 avg rating — 25,178 ratings
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99

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3.85 avg rating — 4,790 ratings
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100

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3.64 avg rating — 2,196 ratings
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flag this list (?)
970 books · 4,181 voters · list created August 12th, 2008 by Keely Hyslop (votes) .
1079 likes · 
Lists are re-scored approximately every 5 minutes.


Keely 1032 books
321 friends
Greyweather 2612 books
70 friends
Maria 331 books
2 friends
Chris 254 books
15 friends
Chris 474 books
28 friends
Sandi 1546 books
433 friends
bsc 576 books
55 friends
VanHalen 787 books
49 friends

More voters…


Comments (showing 1-49 of 49) (49 new)

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message 1: by Greyweather (new)

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


message 2: by Keely (new)

Keely Hyslop Thanks for the suggestion!


message 3: by Travis (new)

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


message 4: by C-tim (new)

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


message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

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


message 6: 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 7: 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 8: 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 9: by Susan (new)

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


message 10: by [deleted user] (new)

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


message 11: 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 12: 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 13: by Mendy (new)

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


message 14: 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 15: by Esmë (new)

Esmë The Diamond Age is technically cyberpunk, not steampunk.


message 16: 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 17: 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 18: 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 19: 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 20: by [deleted user] (new)

Leviathan *cough cough*


message 21: by Artjom Rjabov (new)

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


message 22: 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 23: 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 24: 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 26: by Ducky (new)

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


message 27: 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 28: 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 29: 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 30: by Tracy (new)

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


message 31: 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 32: 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 33: 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 34: by Joseph (new)

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


message 35: 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 36: 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 37: 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 38: 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 39: 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 40: 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 41: 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 42: 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 43: by Quinne (new)

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


message 44: 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 45: 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 46: 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 47: 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 48: 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 49: 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.


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