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Steam Punk: Literature

  • K.W. Jeter's Infernal Devices (not to be confused with the Cassandra Clare novel), arguably the book that started it all. Contains mad scientists, space travel, time travel, clockwork robots, and fish-men!
  • Chapter 13: Steam Cyborgs, from Hell's Children, by Andrew Boland. Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
  • Airborn and its sequels by Kenneth Oppel are a recent example of YA steampunk. Airships and ornithopters abound!
  • Anti-Ice by Stephen Baxter. The discovery of Applied Phlebotinum at the South Pole in 1870 causes the Victorian age to go steampunk. The book starts with the destruction of Sevastopol by a single anti-ice shell (ending the Crimean War) and includes a Jules Verne-like trip to the Moon.
  • Queen Victoria's Bomb by Ronald W. Clark, about the invention of an atomic bomb a hundred years earlier. It has limited consequence however, as knowledge of the invention is suppressed by the Queen.
  • William Gibson and Bruce Sterling's 1990 novel The Difference Engine, while not actually the first instance of Steam Punk, is credited with popularizing the genre in the west. It's also a lot more "punky" than the ones that followed, with its steam-driven Dickensia practically qualifying as a Dystopia. It was intentionally written as a Cyber Punk novel, set in a Victorian setting.
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events often drifts into this territory.
  • Theodore Judson's Fitzpatrick'sWar, a Roman à Clef of the life of Alexander the Great, takes place in a steampunk future environment. It's later revealed that this is because a secret society set up a Star Wars Defense Grid in space to fry any electronic devices on the planet's surface with giant lasers.
  • Jay Lake's Clockwork Earth series is set In a World where the "Watchmaker analogy" of Deism is real in the most literal sense: the world is divided at the equator by an insurmountable wall that connects the Earth to the heavens with giant brass cogs. Instead of stars, you can see other planets' clockwork tracks. The Britain Empire retains all her Northern Hemisphere lands, including the Americas, the Victorian/Edwardian era protagonists have all sorts of interesting steampunk devices, including airships, and the Angel Gabriel is made of brass and cogs.
  • China Miéville's works contain some elements, most notably Perdido Street Station and The Scar.
  • L. E. Modessitt's Recluce saga flirts with the genre. It never quite gets there, however; the leadership of the titular nation deliberately withholds the steam-based technology from general knowledge in an effort to preserve the status quo. But that doesn't stop things from getting out of hand in The Death of Chaos entry in the series.
  • Cassandra Clare's Infernal Devices series.
  • In Rick Riordan's The Heroes of Olympus, Leo describes the Hephaestus cabin as steampunk. The term also applies to Festus.
  • Michael Moorcock's The Warlord of the Air was an early example of this trope.
  • S. M. Peters's Whitechapel Gods has a Steampunk god, in addition to a clockwork counterpart, both of them with their own armies of coal-driven and clockwork soldiers, respectively. This particular novel draws heavily on the "punk" park of Steampunk; it's not a happy place.
  • The His Dark Materials series includes steampunk elements, especially for Lyra's world. The trope is minimally deployed—and Pullman never goes out of his way to describe any obviously Steampunk technology or settings. For example, the power source of choice is electricity (refereed to as anbaric power—from amber, which the Greeks call electrum) supplied by nuclear generators (atomcraft works—from the German Atomkraftwerk), and science is mostly working on particle physics. The book feels more steampunk than it is probably because the opening chapters take place in the rather old-fashioned University of Oxford, features a few incidental airships, and prominently features a cast of powerful politicians, aristocrats, industrialists, and explorers with high-flown titles who bestrode the world with a swagger and a Mighty Whitey self-confidence that can only be described as Victorian. Not to mention the almost Dickensian take on English class relations.
    • The film, on the other hand, plays the steampunk for all the trope's worth.
  • Philip Reeve's Mortal Engines (a.k.a. Hungry Cities) series is a YA example.
  • Doctor Grordbort's Contrapulatronic Dingus Directory is a stimulating compendium of Cool, but Inefficient destructive devices, electro-motive engines and health-enhancement machines for all enthusiasts of the genre known as "steam-punk," plus those gentlemen of leisure who feel that their masculinity would be grossly enhanced by the acquisition of an Exterminator of Prodigious Dimensions.
  • Jules Verne's Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, set in Victorian times and featuring a technologically advanced submarine, would qualify if not for the minor detail that the book was written during the Victorian era.
  • Dime Novel hero Frank Reade, like Wells and Verne, can be counted as another example of steam punk avant la lettre; the Reade stories are full of steam powered inventions of all kinds.Perhaps the most famous was"the steam man of the plains," a kind of proto-robot that could shoot fiery missiles and travel at per hour.For that matter, Frank Reade can also be counted as actual steampunk, courtesy of Paul Guinan and Anina Bennett's FRANK READE: Adventures in the Age of Invention, a fictionalized biography of the Victorian inventor.
  • The Court of the Air by Stephen Hunt is this set in an Alternate History — very alternate — as is The Kingdom Beneath the Waves, a semi-sequel set in the same universe a few years later and featuring some of the characters of the first book in larger or smaller roles. The Rise of the Iron Moon is the third book, a more closely related sequel.
  • Affinity Bridge by George Mann is a self-styled Steampunk detective story heavily involving, amongst other things, airships, something of a plucky sidekick and revenants. However, it is a surprisingly good example of genre fiction. First in a series.
    • His Ghosts of Manhattan is set in the same universe but forty years later when the world is tansitioning to Diesel Punk.
  • Older Than Radio: Anthony Trollope wrote mainly fairly realistic novels. But towards the end of his life, in the early 1880s, he wrote The Fixed Period which imagined a world of his future in which people got around on "steam-powered tricycles" and played cricket with "a mechanical steam bowler."
  • Hermeticon by Vadim Panov is a space age steampunk where people travel space with alchemy-powered zeppelins.
  • The trilogy Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld is about an Alternate History version of World War I fought between the 'Darwinists' (the Entente Powers), who use fabricated animals, and the 'Clankers' (Central Powers), who use mechanical walkers and zeppelins.
  • The Oz books, surprisingly enough. Yes, the place is loaded with magic, but it also has some interesting technological features like prosthetics (Nick Chopper, Captain Fyter), cell phones (The Wizard, on one of his return trips, whips one up), Ridiculously Human Robots (Tik-Tok), artificial life forms (ChopFyt), and cities that can sink or rise mechanically (plot point in Glinda of Oz).
  • The Clockwork Century series is an Alternate History created by Cherie Priest, in which the American Civil War has raged for nearly two decades thanks to both sides adopting Steampunk and Dieselpunk technology, and features Sky Pirates, Cool Airships, Mad Scientists and Action Girl heroines.. Oh, and there are also zombies.
  • Arcadia Snips and the Steamwork Consortium is steampunk played straight.
  • The Neo-Victorian clade from The Diamond Age deliberately modelled their technology to be aesthetically Victorian and steampunk-ish despite having a full mastery of nanotechnology.
  • Havemercy features a military fleet of magical clockwork dragons. This may technically fall under "clockpunk" more, but it is often associated with the Steampunk aesthetic.
  • The Parasol Protectorate Series by Gail Carriger features heavy Steampunk elements, along with an alternate history London where supernaturals influence society.
  • Arthur Slade's The Hunchback Assignments series is full-on late Victorian steampunk.
  • The Mockingbird (rus. Peresmeshnik) by Alexey Pekhov is set in quasi-victorian fantasy world, where steampunky technologies co-exist with giant spiders as police, cat people as army, demon girls as courtesans, and a victorian homicidal psycho.
  • In The Lost Thing, both the creature and the verse itself are rather steampunky in appearance.
  • Predicted in the conclusion of The King by Rudyard Kipling.
  • The Apt races in Adrian Tchaikovsky's Shadows of the Apt use a lot of this type of tech together with some clockwork tech.
  • The Vampire Empire trilogy by Clay and Susan Griffith
  • Sharonan society in David Weber and Linda Evans Hell's Gate series is based on a combination of this and Psychic Powers.
  • Steampunk meets Robot Uprising in the short story Trois morceaux en forme de mechanika by Gord Sellar, in which an uprising of mechanikae beginning in 1897 Bohemia leads to the destruction of humanity and their culture, with a melancholy aftermath as the robots try to come to terms with what they've done through art and music.
  • Dexter Palmer's debut novel The Dream of Perpetual Motion brings Sophisticated as Hell to a new art form, with elements of The Tempest, The Wizard of Oz, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
  • The Pax Britannia Shared World, including Jonathan Green's series about Ulysses Quicksilver, Agent of the Empire, and Al Ewing's Mexican adventurer El Sombra (overlaps with Cattle Punk). Contains lots of Shout Outs.
  • The Falling Machine by Andrew P. Mayer (Book 1 of an ongoing trilogy) is about a Steampunk Superhero team called The Society of Paragons.
  • The Corsay Books are steam punk flavored with some heavy dashes of Lovecraft.
  • Devon Monk's Age of Steam
  • The Mortal Engines
  • In Ian Mc Donald's Planesrunner Earth 3 or E3 is a mix of this and Raygun gothid. Coal is the main fuel because there's no oil but there are no steam engines because the electric motor was invented first. There are airships but their gasbags are woven of carbon nanotubes, vehicles all operate off a power grid but their computers or "comptaters" use vacuum tubes. The protagonist refers to it as "electropunk".
  • Andrew Mayers Society of Steam series which is about steam powered superheroes and villains in the Gilded Age.
  • The Extraordinaires
  • Several of Robert Rankin's novels are set in/relate to a high-tech Victorian age whose history was supressed by those fiendish witches The Chiswick Townswomen's Guild.
  • The Edge Chronicles occasionally dip into this aesthetic. And if they weren't steampunk before, they certainly are as of The Immortals. (Which makes sense, given that in that book the Edge is going through its equivalent of the Industrial Revolution.)
  • 'The Lotus War'' has a steampunk version of Japan. It's a heavy deconstruction, since they've completely ruined the environment.
  • Balogun Ojetade's Moses: The Chronicles of Harriet Tubman, an early work of what the author dubbed "steam funk" (black steam punk), has real life abolitionist Harriet Tubman fighting the forces of evil with superpowers in a steam punk alternative version of the US shortly after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.
  • S.S. Taylor's The Expeditioners takes place in an alternate present where computers were invented in the Gilded Age and crashed on a massive scale sometime in the early '80s leaving society to go back to older technologies.
  • Laie Tidhar's Bookman series which combines real historical characters like Harry Houdini, original ones and fictional like Lucy Westenra and Mycroft Holmes. Oh and David Icke would be right in this universe, the British royal family really are alien reptiles, only it's not a conspiracy, everyone knows about it and most people are quite content. The French royals were too but they got overthrown by an alliance of humans and automatons.
  • Brandon Sanderson's The Rithmatist is an Alternate Universe Clock Punk/Gaslamp Fantasy, with Rithmatics.
  • Jim Butcher's upcoming trilogy The Cinder Spires. Featuring airships, talking cats, and bizzare crystal technology.
  • The Exile's Violin, by R. S. Hunter, the beginning of a planned "Tethys Chronicles" series.
  • The Peshawar Lancers by S.M. Stirling.
  • Doctrine of Labyrinths, especially in the final book, Corambis.
  • Chronicles Of The Pneumatic Zeppelin by Richard Ellis Preston Jr.
  • Disc World has long flirted with this trope. The very first book introduced watches and cameras to a fantasy medieval world, and slowly it evolved with rock music, a system of semaphore telegraph/internet, dragon-powered spaceship - and then in the forty-first book a genuine locomotive.
  • In Please Don't Tell My Parents I'm A Supervillain, Penny's first invention, the Machine, is actually a wind-up device that consumes energy from any and all nearby sources rather than something more electronic. It's even mentioned to be filled with incredibly fine gears. Most of the rest of the things she makes aren't steam punk, though.
  • One of the parallel worlds in Sergey Lukyanenko's Rough Draft duology is an example of this trope. Earth 3 (AKA Veroz) lacks petroleum, thus preventing the jump to internal combustion and the development of any petroleum-based products (including plastics). At one point, the protagonist witnesses a steam tank defending a coastal city-state (nation-states do not exist in this world) from a kraken.
    • A slight example in Lukyanenko's Borderlands, where the once-powerful world of Centrum has been reduced to this after a petroleum-consuming plague has been unleashed on the world, destroying all oil-based products (including plastics) in a matter of hours. Electricity is practically non-existent, as plastics allow for cheap insulation of wires. Without them, other types of insulation are simply not cost-effective. Old steam trains are brought back into service, and the railroaders become the most powerful NGO in Centrum, as all supplies and trade are dependent on them. Modern-day guns still work, though (at least, those that don't have any plastic parts).

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