Although enthusiasts cite such works of literature as Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, H.G. Wells' The Time Machine, and Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea as the first true steampunk novels, the term itself is a relatively recent label to these books.
|image source: My Handbound Books - Bookbinding Blog|
Some titles with heavy steampunk influences include the following:
Morlock Night by K.W. Jeter
The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers
Homunuclus by James Blaylock
Infernal Devices by K.W. Jeter
The Difference Engine by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling
The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman
The Prestige by Christopher Priest
The Steampunk Trilogy by Paul DiFillipo
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen by Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill
The Prophecy Machine by Neal Barrett Jr.
Mainspring by Jay Lake
Extraordinary Engines (a collection of steampunk short stories) edited by Nick Gevers
The Somnambulist by Jonathan Barnes
Soulless by Gail Carriger
What Lies Beneath the Clock Tower, a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure novel written by Maggie Killjoy, founder of Steampunk Magazine
There are also steampunk romance novels out there, such as Katie MacAlister's Steamed: A Steampunk Romance.
As sad as it is for me to admit, I have never read a steampunk novel. As I have mentioned before, I had never even heard of steampunk until I started this blog back in September 2009. Most of my reading consists of hefty history books and Victorian literature, but not the steampunk "classics" by Verne and Wells. I have read Frankenstein twice, but the connection between Shelley's gothic horror tale and steampunk is the weakest out of the three 19th century writers I listed as having elements of steampunk in it.
|image source: Black Wyvern Books|
So here's my question to the readers- should I, as a blogger, ditch the literary snobbery and divulge in some modern reading of the 19th century kind in order to round out the topics that I cover on this blog? I for one wouldn't mind reading The Golden Compass. I could easily divide my reading between steampunk novels and my beloved Victorian literature and history books.
Currently on my reading queue are the following:
Mayhew's London by Henry Mayhew
The Valley of Fear by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevsky
The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
Villette by Charlotte Bronte
Using Your Brain for a Change by Richard Bandler
So not too long of a list for me. Mayhew's London will probably be done in two weeks as it's such a fascinating read- I'm already a quarter of the way through it. The Valley of Fear will be one of of those books that I'll read to my boyfriend as he paints his historical miniatures. I will save The Fountainhead for my two-week vacation, as the book's print and margins are so small that this 600-page novel will actually not be a burden to carry through East Europe. I did want to save The Idiot for that purpose, but that book is much heftier and may be more of a pain to keep in my backpack. Using Your Brain for a Change is a book on neuro-linguistic programming techniques - not a normal choice for myself to consider, but it was highly recommended to me by a friend.
I could sprinkle in a few steampunk novels with these books I suppose, but that will mean that reviews on the Victorian literature ones will not be as prevalent on this blog. Like you all really need me to read and review books that are at least 100 years old and have been reviewed umpteen times before. :)