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Author Topic: Steampunk classics / essentials for beginners?  (Read 3921 times)
Sludge Van Diesel
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« on: June 01, 2013, 11:41:21 pm »

Having never read any actual Steampunk books (uness you count 20,00 Leagues... , the Time Machine etc...), I was wondering what Steampunk literature would be considered essential for a newbie to the genre.

I thoroughly enjoyed the film versions of the likes of TLoEG etc... & Dirigible Days on Youtube, but think I'm missing something in not reading the books.
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« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2013, 12:01:53 am »

One of the more commonly cited works as "essential" is The Difference Engine by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling. Having read it myself I can recommend it. If you have a look through the Textual and Aural-Ocular sections you'll find many threads on similar subjects.
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« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2013, 12:10:46 am »

Glass Books of the Dream Eaters by G W Dahlquist - mysterious, erotic packed with intrigue, though a little too adult for some tastes

Whitechapel Gods by S M Peters - dark, dingy and often wilfully obtuse. With bizarre characters and even a disease called "the cogs",

Immorality Engine by  George Mann - a YA novel but a polished read nonetheless

Mainspring by Jay Lake - doesn't quite fulfill its promise of clockwork world but some amazing concepts

Boneshaker by Cherie Priest - I wasn't a fan but it's been hugely popular and soon to be a major motion picture so what do I know  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2013, 03:58:23 am »

I started with The Court of the Air by Stephen Hunt. It's really good.
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« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2013, 09:28:41 am »

I was not so fond of The Court of the Air -- to me it had too much of everything, it was like a lineup of everything cool and I never had the time to get attached to anything because it was so fast paced. At least that's my memory of it.

One book that has some status as a classic and is really good is Steampunk Trilogy by Paul di Filippo. I promise something really weird.

A good starting point could also be Steampunk, the Anthology by Ann and Jeff Vandermeer.
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Sludge Van Diesel
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« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2013, 09:45:11 am »

Thanks for the suggestions so far, I'll try & check them out.

Keep 'em coming. Grin
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« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2013, 06:18:58 pm »

If your into comics then Lady Mechanika is a must.
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Sludge Van Diesel
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« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2013, 12:10:47 am »

Not as much as I once was, but I'll check it out.
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« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2013, 12:57:36 pm »

I started with various Alternate History stories, including Moorcock's Nomad of the Time Streams (first book published 1971) and Harrison's "A Transatlantic Tunnel, Hoorah!" (read in Analog back in 1972). The first story I recall that actually felt "Steampunk" was Jeter's Morlock Night, which I greatly preferred over The Difference Engine. (In short, The Difference Engine was a cyberpunk novel with Victorian tech, whereas I prefer my Steampunk to be closer to a pastiche of period adventure stories.)

I cannot recommend my approach to Steampunk literature to anyone, as most folks nowadays do not feel like spending forty years to build up their background.
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« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2013, 03:36:04 pm »

Well if you're into comics Girl Genius is one I routinely see reccomended, the original LoEG comics are probably another good bet, which are a HELL of a lot better than the film (decent though it is).

Although I'd say don't be afraid to delve into some 'proto-steampunk'/19th Century/Victorian Sci Fi works like 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Journey to the Centre of the Earth, Frankenstein, War of the Worlds, The First men in the moon, The Time Machine, The invisible man, The Island of Doctor Moreau etc.
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Sludge Van Diesel
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« Reply #10 on: June 05, 2013, 03:50:05 pm »

The first story I recall that actually felt "Steampunk" was Jeter's Morlock Night, which I greatly preferred over The Difference Engine. (In short, The Difference Engine was a cyberpunk novel with Victorian tech, whereas I prefer my Steampunk to be closer to a pastiche of period adventure stories.)
Morlock Night is already on my want list
Well if you're into comics Girl Genius is one I routinely see reccomended, the original LoEG comics are probably another good bet, which are a HELL of a lot better than the film (decent though it is).

Although I'd say don't be afraid to delve into some 'proto-steampunk'/19th Century/Victorian Sci Fi works like 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Journey to the Centre of the Earth, Frankenstein, War of the Worlds, The First men in the moon, The Time Machine, The invisible man, The Island of Doctor Moreau etc.
Been debating the LoEG comics for some time.

I've read all of those with the exception of Dr Moreau, which is also on the list After I finish Guliver's Travels.

Keep them coming folks,  I spend a couple of  nights away from home each week & there's not a lot else to do other than read or watch TV.
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« Reply #11 on: June 05, 2013, 03:57:44 pm »

Girl Genius is a great read for the aesthetics.

Wild Wild West is also good for the aesthetic choices. 3:10 to Yuma (either) Is a good movie for getting a feel for the time period (if you're into the Old West.)

They even explicitly said they were pulling more for a 'mythic' Old West than historical accuracy. And they succeeded.
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« Reply #12 on: June 06, 2013, 03:48:13 am »

H. P. lovecraft
 Neil Gaimans stardust and fragile things

There are others but if you don't know Cthulhu your missing a lot.
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« Reply #13 on: June 06, 2013, 04:19:58 am »

I also found John Barnes' Washington's Dirigible to be very entertaining.
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« Reply #14 on: June 15, 2013, 10:57:20 pm »

My introduction to Steampunk was through Gail Carriger's amazing Parasol Protectorate: Soulless, Changeless, Blameless, Heartless, and Timeless. Be forewarned: if you do not like your Victorian England liberally sprinkled with werewolves and vampires, seek your Steampunk elsewhere. I'm less enthralled with her new series which begins with Etiquette and Espionage. If you like the steamier side of Steampunk, I'll recommend Bec McMasters with some caveats. While I like her plotlines and LOVE her world-making, her writing is not as polished as it could be. There are some very jarring "that's not right" phrases and much-too-modern wording. (Warning: shameless self plug) Give me a little time. I'm currently editing my first Steampunk novel, Murder Most Improper. Beta readers will soon be needed if you are interested. :-)
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« Reply #15 on: June 17, 2013, 08:32:08 am »

If you're after period feel then you can't do worse than read Sherlock Holmes which has a wealth of setting details

Also The 39 Steps by John Buchan, Prisoner of Zenda by Antony Hope, even Around the World in 80 Days

Someone above mentioned "Nomad of the Time Streams" by Michael Moorcock which I would heartily recommend as well
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Sludge Van Diesel
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« Reply #16 on: June 17, 2013, 10:28:16 am »

I've read the complete Sherlock Holmes, 39 Steps & 80 days (Watched the Steve Coogan version on TV yesterday too).

I'm after 'real' Steampunk books as opposed to those that inspired the genre.
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« Reply #17 on: June 20, 2013, 09:06:40 pm »

Steampunk is a hard subgenre to evaluate since the decision to classify a novel as steampunk often relates to aesthetics and may have little to do with the overall plot or feel of the novel.
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« Reply #18 on: June 20, 2013, 09:16:41 pm »

Steampunk is a hard subgenre to evaluate since the decision to classify a novel as steampunk often relates to aesthetics and may have little to do with the overall plot or feel of the novel.

Agreed! It can be like asking for a science fiction novel and folk recommending everything from The Time Machine to The Black Corridor.

That said, the genre is still young enough to allow a dedicated Amazon user to survey most of the books out there and get a feel for what they might like.
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The Kilted Yaksman
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« Reply #19 on: June 21, 2013, 03:31:02 am »

Stephen Baxter's Anti-Ice
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« Reply #20 on: June 21, 2013, 10:55:22 am »

Hi all. I am a steampunk beginner. I am trying to build a persona but am at a lose on how to begin. I have tried out one but to no real success.
Seeing that this is a place for beginners your input would be most valuable to me.

  Thanks.
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« Reply #21 on: June 21, 2013, 12:50:01 pm »

I dont know whether you want to class it as classic but I'm loving Cherie Priests work at the moment.
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« Reply #22 on: June 21, 2013, 01:40:01 pm »

Hi all. I am a steampunk beginner. I am trying to build a persona but am at a lose on how to begin. I have tried out one but to no real success.
Seeing that this is a place for beginners your input would be most valuable to me.

  Thanks.

Why do you feel obligated to "build a persona?" Just be your normal splendid self, with fancier clothes and a pocketwatch.

(This thread was opened for book suggestions, not character-building or role playing exercises. I'm sure there are threads around here about those aspects, somewhere. Or open your own.)
« Last Edit: June 21, 2013, 01:41:51 pm by Dr Fidelius » Logged
Philip
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« Reply #23 on: June 22, 2013, 09:18:24 am »

Thank you.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2013, 02:31:06 pm by Philip » Logged
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« Reply #24 on: July 09, 2013, 05:13:35 am »

Finished one of Resnick's 'weird west' books, with Edison, the Earps, and Doc Holliday (and an outlaw named John Ringo, which I swear is also a sci-fi author. Coincidence?...Wink

There are some series; the Pax Britannica (has that been mentioned?) I found one recently called 'Queen Victoria; Demon Hunter', although it's a bit high on the 'gross-out' meter. T


There's another series; 'Spring Heeled Jack' (no, not the Morrisey song...Wink by Mr. Hodder, who has actually posted in these very forums. All the good stuff, check 'em out!


« Last Edit: July 09, 2013, 05:19:15 am by pakled05 » Logged
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