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This wasn't at all a steampunk book, and it was set in 1700's Paris anyways, but it reminded me vaguely of that sort of thing...
So my question is, what is your definition or summary of the genre, and where should I begin?
Quintessential, "typical" steampunk books are where I would like to start with my new interest in the genre.
Thanks in advance!
The genre is pretty wide open, so it is hard to come up with 'typical' books. Look under the tag 'steampunk' and you'll see what I mean.
Although I've not read them myself (yet!), the Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger usually get praised quite a bit. Starts with Soulless.
Books I have recently read, enjoyed, reviewed and tagged as steampunk are, in decreasing order of recommendation:
The first thee parts of the five-part Virga series from Karl Schroeder, Sun of Suns, Queen of Candesce and Pirate sun, which are all set inside a solar system-sized air-filled balloon in space, allowing politicking and low-g 'space combat' between rival communities living on free-floating platform 'towns' or 'gardens'.
The first two parts of a trilogy by Jay Lake, Escapement and Mainspring, set on an Earth which is part of a 'clockwork' solar system, having a giant gear at the equator. Victorian Britain and dynastic China fight to control the Northern hemisphere and wonder what lurks on the Southern side...
The first of two books from Lavie Tidhar, The Bookman,which is set in the Victorian era where alien Lizards and the Bookman and his nemesis the Binder plot with governments, talking machines can play chess etc.
Last but not least is Cherie Priest's Boneshaker, set in an alternate reality Seattle during the Civil War. Fun but the zombies do not fit.
I rather liked Cherie Priest's Boneshaker - the zombie angle provided an interesting twist...
And sorry, my touchstones still refuse to work...
"The fact it’s being refurbished with vigor is very intriguing to me and central to many of Steampunk’s deepest themes. I like how you can pick’n’choose what’s possible via the lens of a particular world’s technological achievement—branches not always in lockstep with ours. Through such a unique framework, you can create a blend that doesn’t seem out of place. As an example: You can have a wireless computer being used by a gentleman dressed for dinner, aboard a transatlantic ship on its maiden-voyage to the Far East…and guess what, it’s OK. Why? The wireless computer doesn’t look like a MacBook, more like a clunky suitcase made from clock parts *perhaps bits of magic* and the battery, twice the size of the computer, has to be cranked by hand every time it's used. With Steampunk, much of it revolves around visuals, setting, textures. It’s not Hard Science Fiction. You don’t necessarily need to explain every bit of technology and the fans are OK with it."
What gets me excited is the whole genre as an art movement. The costumes, jewellery and various gizmos are stunningly beautiful and I just bought The Steampunk Bible in an attempt to learn more about the genre. Okay, I don't see me ever attending the events or wearing the outfits but I do hope it's all right to follow the group as an admirning outsider. You guys are doing a gorgeous thing.
I am in my sixties, and a confirmed fan of F&SF. My most recent steampunk reads are the Etiquette and Espionage series - lots of very silly fun, and in my opinion, better than the Parasol Protectorate books, to which they are prequels.
A long time ago I read both The Difference Engine and Pavane. I liked both of them and looked for similar books, but it was much later that I discovered there was actually a genre called Steampunk. My hobby (some would say passion) is real life steam locomotives - I drive them, fire them, renovate them, repair them, maintain them, study them - and I think that is part of the attraction of Steampunk for me. I know how a steam engine works from one end to the other.
Since then I have dipped in and out of Steampunk and I can't remember the titles. I've found some I like, but I've also found quite a few (especially short stories) with a narrative style that I don't like, sort of too offhand, hardened and cynical, if that makes sense. Now that I've joined this group I will try to read some of the books which are recommended in this and other threads. Thanks!
Only a portion of the costumers are also readers of the subgenre called steampunk. Some of the recent literature is designed to appeal to the costuming community, it appears.
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