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Author Topic: New to steampunk, what to read first?  (Read 2136 times)
shayen7
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« on: February 16, 2013, 04:19:47 pm »

Hello everyone, I've heard steampunk a few time and wanted to find out more about it. I was wondering what books you would recomend for a first experience of steampunk. I'm looking for a great story in a different immersive world, so I can find out what steampunk is all about. I don't know where to start, what is your favorite book? What would you recomend for a first read?

Thank you.
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Capt. Dirigible
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« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2013, 04:46:36 pm »

Simply browsing through these boards (the Textual boards) you'll see what many of us are reading, enjoying and recommending.
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RJBowman
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« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2013, 06:38:56 pm »

Pick up The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen graphic novel vol. 1 from your book store or comic shop. Do not rent the film.
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Tovath
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« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2013, 11:25:29 pm »

You could try "Airborn" by Kenneth Oppel.
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Shadow Of The Tower
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« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2013, 02:05:28 am »

"Terminal World" by Allaistair Reynolds is very good and contains almost all the classic steampunk archetypes.  Steampowered cyborgs, magical technomancers, airships, mad scientists, young girls with handcannons, it has it all. Unfortunatly the world the story takes place in is more interesting than the actual characters but its a great place to start.

"The Strange affair of Spring heeled Jack" By Mark Hodder is a excellent although it may be a bit dark and deep for someone new to the genre.

Or if you are into something lighter "Boneshaker" is fun and easy to read.
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Gaijin_King
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« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2013, 05:15:16 am »

I myself started with Stephen Hunt's The Court of the Air.
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pakled
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« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2013, 06:30:51 am »

What, four entries and no one's mention The Difference Engine?...Wink Gibson and Stirling, IIRC...Wink This should be a FAQ...Wink
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James Harrison
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« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2013, 05:24:36 pm »

Oh I could go on for days about good first reads for those trying to get into the genre... a few I would recommend though are:

- The Peshawar Lancers (S M Stirling)
- The Court of the Air (Stephen Hunt)
- The Lost World/ The Poison Belt (Arthur Conan Doyle)
- The Time Machine/ The Invisible Man/ The Island of Doctor Moreau/ The War of the Worlds/ The First Men in the Moon (H G Wells)
- 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea/ Five Weeks in a Balloon/ Journey to the Centre of the Earth/ From the Earth to the Moon (Jules Verne)
- Nomad of the Timestreams/ The Dancers at the End of Time (Michael Moorcock)
- The Anubis Gates (Tim Powers)
- Morlock Night/ Infernal Devices (K W Jeter)
- The Difference Engine (Bruce Stirling & William Gibson)

There's nineteen suggestions for the price of one there....
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Gaijin_King
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« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2013, 12:19:18 am »

It seems like people either love or hate The Difference Engine. I personally think it's all right. I highly recommend Lindsay Buroker's Hunted series.
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Captain Marcus Stahlsturm
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« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2013, 02:11:08 am »

I'm going to go a little different here and say Grandville which is a steampunk graphic novel...set in Paris...with badgers
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« Reply #10 on: February 18, 2013, 03:48:31 am »

My first steampunk novel was H.G. Wells The Time Machine.
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George Salt
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« Reply #11 on: February 18, 2013, 11:38:29 am »

I myself started with Stephen Hunt's The Court of the Air.

And you came back for more?  Lips sealed  -having seen The Court of the Air mentioned so many times, I was very disapointed when I read it.

I'd start with The Difference Engine (Gibson and Sterling) or The Anubis Gate (Powers), or go back to the classics by Wells, Conan Doyle, etc.
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Gaijin_King
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« Reply #12 on: February 18, 2013, 11:22:34 pm »

Interesting characters, story and world. So yes, I did enjoy it quite a bit.
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pakled
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« Reply #13 on: February 19, 2013, 08:13:34 am »

I'm currently reading more Mark Hodder (sp?), who does a good Steampunk sci-fi novel. There's a thread on 'Spring-heeled Jack' in this forum...somewhere...
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Vulcania_Submarine
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« Reply #14 on: February 20, 2013, 10:43:06 pm »

If you are into Steampunk and like Jules Verne, may I suggest you read VulcaniaSubmarine.Com?  It's not a "group" or a website "forum": more of a museum of projects and the like.   But there's a bit there having something to do with the genre.

Enjoy!

http://www.vulcaniasubmarine.com

 Smiley
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Ian Mcbean
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« Reply #15 on: April 04, 2013, 02:22:43 pm »

I don't know if the people here would consider it steampunk or not, but what about Frankenstein? in 1910, while her husband was writing romantic poems Mary Shelly was writing what I feel might arguably be considered the first novel of this genre, as well as the horror genre. This was 4 or 5 decades before Jules Vern's first novel an about 60 years before H.G. Wells was even born! I'm new enough to be uncertian as to exactly what fits into this catagory, so what say you?
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Argus Fairbrass
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« Reply #16 on: April 04, 2013, 02:37:23 pm »

Sorry to be that guy, but actually MS started writing it in 1816. Inspired by the famous group conversation from the year before with Byron and chums about Mr Darwin's experiment of galvanising dead flesh (or something along those lines Cheesy)  It was first published two years later in 1818, but yes good book that.
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Ian Mcbean
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« Reply #17 on: April 04, 2013, 08:13:21 pm »

My apologies, sir. it would seem that either Wikipedia is in error, or else I missremembered it. I bare you no ill feelings if you believe that the later is where the problem lies.
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Wilhelm Smydle
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« Reply #18 on: April 05, 2013, 01:03:16 am »

A lot depends on what you like to read.
Stardust by niel gaiman is good both as a graphic novel and the hard bound book.
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Argus Fairbrass
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« Reply #19 on: April 05, 2013, 01:28:03 am »

My apologies, sir. it would seem that either Wikipedia is in error, or else I missremembered it. I bare you no ill feelings if you believe that the later is where the problem lies.

No worries, I won't say being a pedantic ass because it's funny is a condition I picked up from this forum, but being here has done little to alleviate the symptoms. Wink

But yes to my mind Frankenstein is the classic blending of Gothic and Steampunk elements. And some of the later film versions have certainly turned up the steam gauge a notch as well.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2013, 01:40:06 am by Argus Fairbrass » Logged
Ian Mcbean
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« Reply #20 on: April 05, 2013, 06:12:10 am »

I tend to be a bit of a pettifogger, and a trivia buff (Once knew the answer to a million pound question on Who Wants to be a Millionare, but not for some of the earlier questions, sooo...). I say that to say this I have a thirst for knowledge, at least in certain areas, so any time I can learn something I consider a bonus for me. I regularly find myself boring folks around me with my trivializing. While on that subject, I cannot verify this but I have read the the word trivia comes from the fact that in the far distant past there were three main subjects taught in school, i.e. history, mathematics, and philosophy. Btb For a long time science was called natural philosophy.
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Dr Fidelius
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« Reply #21 on: April 05, 2013, 01:04:44 pm »

Frankenstein? Well, perhaps if you wish to read an overly verbose philosophical novel written by a naive teenaged girl whose parents considered the "plight of the lower classes" to be proper dinner conversation.

And don't get me started on The Difference Engine. Gibson and Sterling write excellent cyberpunk; I especially like Sterling's Shaper/Mechanist stories. BUT, one cannot take a cyberpunk story, replace "computer" with "Babbage Engine" and create a good Steampunk story.
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Ian Mcbean
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« Reply #22 on: April 05, 2013, 04:27:52 pm »

Good sir, I fear that you seemed to have misconstrued my statement. I was in no way extolling the virtues of the book, as I have never read it. Not my cup of tea, as it were. I was merely stating that to my knowledge, it was the first novel that  was published which could be considered steampunk. Not only have I never read the book, the only film involving the titular charactor is Young Frankenstein. If not one of Mel Brooks best movies, it's in the top three. In the end I can only say, "de gustibus non est disputatum" (sp?).
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pakled
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« Reply #23 on: April 06, 2013, 05:09:49 am »

Well, it was only a suggestion...Wink This is one of those perennial questions, that has been brought up several times over the years. Actually, I'm reading a series now called 'the Parasol Protectorate' by Gail Carriger...but only found a couple of them so far (Blamless and Changeless) It's an interesting mix of steampunk, supernatural, etc.

There's dozens of books out there; some good, some not so good. As mentioned, there's old posts out there for titles...

Here's a few I haven't been able to find...all recommended by others here

Fitzpatricks War by Theodore Judson
lupoff's  Circumpolar and Countersolar, and Into the Aether
Thomas Riley - Nick Valentino
Alan Campbells Deepgate Codex and Adrian Tchaikovsky's Shadows of the Apt
Alan Campbells books slightly more Adrian Tchaikovsky's


Whitechapel Gods  by S M Stirling
The Books of Virga by Karl Schroeder- 'Sun of Suns'

Susanna Clarke.- Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrel
Philip Reeve - Mortal Engines
Steampunk Anthology by Ann and Jeff Vandermeer
Nomad of the Time Streams Trilogy by Michael Moorcock
Kenneth Opels
Larklight by Philip Reeve
Richard Brautigan's
The Hawkline Monster: A Gothic Romance
Ripping Yarns


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Argus Fairbrass
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« Reply #24 on: April 06, 2013, 09:34:10 pm »

It's funny actually, but rarely do I hear people mention G.D.Falksen in this type of conversation. The guy seems to be better known for just being around for ages than actually being an author.

I must confess I haven't read any of his books, although plenty of his web logs and what have you.

Still there you go for future reference.

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4011131.G_D_Falksen
« Last Edit: April 07, 2013, 04:05:02 am by Argus Fairbrass » Logged
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