On the tenth day of Steampunk Christmas,
My true love gave to me:
Ten Steampunk Books.
For a cultural movement that started with literature, there is no lack of steampunk novels, anthologies, and non-fiction books. Here are some suitable for gifting.
Around the World in Eighty Days
A classic by Jules Verne, one of the Ur-Authors of Steampunk. I read it again last year and it holds up. Most movie versions don’t delve into Phileas Fogg’s mysterious past as much as they could.
Scott Westerfeld’s series–Leviathan, Behemoth, and Goliath–tell the tale of the Clankers (countries using mechanical technology) and the Darwinists (those using genetic manipulation). The books are technically “Young Adult”, but so is Harry Potter and we didn’t let a label stop adults from reading him.
The Difference Engine
This alternate history book by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling is widely regarded as one of the originators of Steampunk. Set in a world in which Charles Babbage successfully built his mechanical computers, the story spins off in many directions to explore the consequences of this divergence from historical fact.
Author K.W. Jeter first coined the word “Steampunk” to describe this and other novels of similar theme being written in the late 1970s. In the story, the Morlocks from H. G. Wells’ The Time Machine use the device to travel to Victorian London.
This novel by Cherie Priest is set during the American Civil War and is the first in the now five-book Clockwork Century series. In it, a mining accident releases a gas that turns all who breath it into zombies.
Soulless is the first book in Gail Carriger’s five-novel Parasol Protectorate series. The main character, Alexia Tarabotti, has no soul, making her immune to the vampires and werewolves that live in this alternate Victorian world.
Boilerplate, or History’s Mechanical Marvel is written by Paul Guinan and Anina Bennett. This wonderfully illustrated book gives the history of an automaton and his participation in historic events until his mysterious disappearance during World War I.
The Steampunk Bible
If there had to be one book to serve as an overall introduction to Steampunk, this book by Jeff VanderMeer might be it. Heavily illustrated with artwork, gadgets, and fashion, the volume also explains the origins of steampunk, where it is, and where it might be heading.
This book, written by James Carrott and Brian David Johnson, is an interesting, almost scholarly, look at Steampunk. Filled with interviews and discussions with noted steampunk makers and authors, the book puts Steampunk in its context of other cultural movements.
The Gaslight Adventures of Tom Turner
This book gets a mention because it is what I am currently reading! Author T.E. MacArthur brings three stories of Tom Turner together in one omnibus edition. These entertaining and exciting stories also relate to her other series: The Volcano Lady.
To Rule the Skies
OK, this is my list, so for an extra, I’ll add my book. To Rule the Skies is a steampunk adventure tale of airships and battleships, of sarcastic airpirates and a brilliant Professor. Her Majesty’s Airship Flamel must find what–or who–caused the sinking of the Royal Navy’s flagship before the disaster causes war between Britain and America.