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Rated: E · Appendix · Fantasy · #1800683
A list of Steampunk literature (novels, novellas, and shorts) with categorization (WIP)
Inspirations: These are authors (and some notable works) who are noteworthy for their obvious influence on the genre. These pieces are strictly Victorian works, being of a nature more common that time period of work, and are futurist pieces, not alternate history works.

Charles Dickens -- Oliver Twist, Great Expectations
H. G. Wells -- The Time Machine
H. P. Lovecraft -- At the Mountains of Madness
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle -- "Sherlock Holmes" works
Jules Verne -- 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Around the World in 80 Days
"Edisonade" works
         1. "The Huge Hunter, or the Steamman of the Prairie" by Edward S. Ellis
         2. 'Frank Reade' stories by Harry Elton (Harold Cohen)
         3. 'Tom Edison, Jr.' stories by Philip Reade
         4. 'Jack Wright' stories by Luis Senarens
         5. 'Electric Bob' stories by Robert Toombs

An anthology worth looking into for pieces that within the "Inspiration" category but are of short works would be the Steampunk Prime collection edited by Mike Ashley.

Traditional or First Wave: First Wave or "Traditional" steampunk works are those, in my mind, published before 1992 with the release of such works as The Difference Engine and Lord Kelvin's Machine. These works almost pre-date the genre as a defined entity, having created many of the tropes that lead to the Second Wave of the genre, after it had become self-aware (as it were) and thus able to more stably rely on the tropes, rather than having to create them.

Short Works (including: short stories, novelettes, and novellas):

"The Gernsback Continuum" by William Gibson (1981)
"A Sun in the Attic" by Mary Gentle (1985)
"The Giving Mouth" by Ian MacLeod (1991)


Titus Alone by Mervyn Peake-- This piece, while certainly not a steampunk precursor, utilized a number of themes and tropes that would later be commonplace within the genre. The reason for its placement here, as opposed to in the "Inspirations" category, is for its rather late publication (1959).

Queen Victoria's Bomb by Ronald Clark (1967)
A Nomad of the Time Streams by Michael Moorcock: Warlord of the Air (book 1 -- 1971); The Land Leviathan (book 2 -- 1974); and The Steel Tsar (book 3 -- 1981)
Morlock Night by K. W. Jeter (1979)
Anubis Gates by Tim Powers (1983)
Homonculus by James Blaylock (1986)
Infernal Devices by K. W. Jeter (1987)

It should be noted that after the publication of Infernal Devices Jeter was asked to describe his work and in doing so coined the term 'steampunk.' Thus the genre began its solidification around the publication of this work and culminated with the publication of both The Difference Engine and Lord Kelvin's Machine.

The Difference Engine by William Gibson & Bruce Sterling (1990)
Lord Kelvin's Machine by James Blaylock and Anno Dracula by Kim Newman (1992)

Contemporary or Second Wave: Second Wave steampunk, those more contemporary, begins roughly in 2000, with authors like Di Filippo, Mieville, Landsdale. These works are consciously steampunk; in other words, they assume the reader is privy to the genre and thus there is no need to explain certain tropes (mostly created by the First Wave authors).

Short Works:
[Note: Given the growing number of works being published, I've divided this into years
"The Persecution Machine" by Tanith Lee

"Excerpt from the Third and Last Volume of the 'Tribes of the Pacific Coast'" by Neal Stephenson; "The Selene Gardening Society" by Molly Brown

"Great Breakthroughs in Darkness" by Marc Laidlaw

"Minutes of the Last Meeting" by Stepan Chapman

"The Steam Man of the Prairie and the Dark Rider Get Down" by Joe Lansdale

"Seventy-two Letters" by Ted Chiang

"O One" by Chris Roberson; "The Martian Agent: An Interplanetary Romance" by Michael Chabon

"Wild Copper" Samantha Henderson

"The God-Clown is Near" by Jay Lake; "The Steam Dancer (1896)" by Caitlin R. Kiernan

"Machine Maid" by Margo Lanagan; "Reflected Light" by Rachel E. Pollack; "Tanglefoot" by Cherie Priest [Note: This story is set in the same world as her books, Boneshaker & Dreadnaught]

"Balfour and Meriwether in the Adventure of the Emperor's Vengeance" by Daniel Abraham; "The Anachronist's Cookbook" by Catherynee M. Valente; "The Mechanical Aviary of Emperor Jalal-ud-din Muhammad Akbar" by Shweta Narayan; "The Strange Case of Mr. Salad Monday" by G. D. Falksen; "The Unblinking Eye" by Stephen Baxter [This piece, it should be noted, is a wonderful example of non-traditional, British Empire-focused steampunk]

"As Recorded on Brass Cylinders: Adagio for Two Dancers" by James L. Grant and Lisa Mantchev; "A Serpent in the Gears" by Margaret Ronald; "Flying Fish Prometheus" by Vilhelm Bergsoe; "Lost Pages from 'The Encyclopedia of Fantastic Victoriana'" by Jess Nevins; "The Bold Explorer in the Place Beyond" by David Erik Nelson; "The Unbecoming of Virgil Smythe" by Ramsey Shehadeh

"Cotton Avicenna B IV" by Paul Marlowe

Comics & Graphic Novels:
"Lady Mechanika" by Joe Benitez (writer & artist); "Captain Swing and the Electrical Pirates of Cindery Island" by Warren Ellis (writer) and Raulo Caceres (artist)

[Note: These novels are separated by year simply because after 2000 the publication of Steampunk and Steampunk-inspired books rises dramatically, and there are a number of series, as well as stand-alone novels.]

Anti-Ice by Stephen Baxter (1993)
Steampunk Trilogy by Paul Di Filippo (1995)

The reason for the inclusion of these two pieces within the Second Wave is because of their status as being two of the first self-aware steampunk works. Obviously Di Filippo was conscious of what he was writing, and thus, like those that come after him he played with tropes and standards established by those before him.

Perdido Street Station by China Mieville (2000) [I am generally a little hesitant to place this piece here, but it is definitely worthy of mention, as it does incorporate some steampunk elements; though personally I would describe this piece as the seminal work in the New Weird genre].

"Ned Seal" series by Joe Lansdale: Zeppelins West (book 1); Mortal Engines Quartet (YA) by Philip Reeve; and The Peshawar Lancers by S. M. Stirling

Fitzpatrick's War by Theodore Judson; Airborn by Kenneth Oppel; and "The Looking Glass War" series by Frank Beddor, The Looking Glass Wars (book 1)

The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters by Gordon Dalquist; "Ned Seal" series by Joe Lansdale Flaming London (book 2)

Pax Britannia by Jonathan Green; Wicked Gentlemen by Ginn Hale; Mainspring by Jay Lake; and "The Looking Glass War" series by Frank Beddor, Seeing Redd (book 2)

"Newbury & Hobbes" novels by George Mann, The Affinity Bridge (book 1)

Clockwork Heart by Dru Pagliossotti; "The Parasol Protectorate" series by Gail Carringer, Soulless (book 1); Boneshaker by Cherie Priest; Worldshaker by Richard Harland; Android Karenina by Ben H. Winters; Leviathan series by Scott Westerfield, Leviathan (book 1); "The Looking Glass War" series by Frank Beddor, ArchEnemy (book 3); "Newbury & Hobbes" novels by George Mann The Osiris Ritual (book 2); Heart of Veridon by Tim Akers

Dreadnaught by Cherie Priest; Burton & Swinburne books by Mark Hodder, The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack (book 1); The Clockwork Man by William Jablonsky; The Half-Made World by Felix Gilman; "Angry Robot" series by Lavie Tidhar, The Bookman (book 1); Leviathan series by Scott Westerfield, Behemoth (book 2); "Weird West Tales" by Mike Resnick, The Buntline Special (book 1); "The Parasol Protectorate" series by Gail Carringer, Changeless (book 2) and Blameless (book 3); and Steampunk'd (anthology)

Ganymede by Cherie Priest; Halcyon series by Joseph Robert Lewis: The Burning Sky (book 1) and The Broken Sword (book 2); Steam and Steel Chronicles (e-books) by Cameron Chapman, Aboard the Unstoppable Aerostat Fenris (book 1) and The Great Healion Race (book 2); Dead Iron: The Age of Steam by Devon Monk; "Newbury & Hobbes" novels by George Mann, The Immortality Engine (book 3); Burton & Swinburne books by Mark Hodder, The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man (book 2); "Angry Robot" series by Lavie Tidhar, Camera Obscura (book 2); "Society of Steam" series by Andrew P. Mayer, The Falling Machine (book 1) and Hearts of Smoke and Steam (book 2); "Weird West Tales" by Mike Resnick, The Doctor and the Kid (book 2); All Men of Genius by Lev AC Rosen; The Volcano Lady by T. E. MacArthur; Cold Fire by Kate Elliot; "Voyages of the Flying Dragon" series by Ben Chandler Quillblade (book 1) and Beast Child (book 2); Dead of Veridon by Tim Akers; "The Parasol Protectorate" series by Gail Carringer, Heartless (book 4); Steampunk Poe(YA) by Megan Bryant; "The Clockwork Empire" series by Steven Harper, The Doomsday Vault

Burton & Swinburne books by Mark Hodder, Expedition to the Mountains of the Moon (book 3)

Second World: Perhaps a particular subset of the Second Wave movement, these pieces are those that step outside of our world but take with them many of the tropes solidified within the genre. Some works are considered here, too, for their ambiguous worlds or worlds that border on slipstream.

Short Works:
"The Giving Mouth" by Ian MacLeod (1991) [This work is bizarrely ambiguous in its placement but wonderfully written. Best place to find it is in the "Steampunk" anthology by Jeff & Ann VanderMeer].
"The God-Clown is Near" by Jay Lake (2007)
"Dr. Lash Remembers" by Jeffrey Ford (2010)
"The Day the Wires Came Down" by Alexander Jablokov (2011)

Jackelian series by Stephen Hunt: Court of the Air (book 1 -- 2007), Kingdom Beyond the Waves (book 2 -- 2008), Secrets of the Fire Sea (book 3 -- 2010), The Rise of the Iron Moon (book 4 -- 2011)

There are three other publications I should mention. One is Steampunk!: An Anthology of Fantastically Rich and Strange Stories, which is still in hardcover; the other is Clockwork Chaos, which is forthcoming from the Library of Fantasy & Science Fiction. Also, the VanderMeer's recently put out The Steampunk Bible, which is quite helpful and covers more than just literature (but does have a good section on just that).
© Copyright 2011 Capt. J B Dryden III, RAI (jbdrydenco at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
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