Beginner’s Guide to Steampunk Lit

Yes, it’s finally here! My idea of what a map of steampunk might look like. Harangue me on my choices and omissions below! Post it wherever you like, with a link back here. Caveat #1: This is only books (I tried to make it only novels, or at least novelists). Caveat #2: I’m only one person. This was a big job, and I chose to oversimplify rather than make it my life’s work. Also, there are some errors. And, as you can tell, I chose to finish the map this year rather than take longer and make it bigger, prettier, and funnier. And yes, I read and write mainly young adult, which is also obvious at a glance. Caveat #3: More is being written all the time. Tell us about your favourite steampunk in the comments! My reviews have all been moved to Comfy Chair, where I get paid for them:

“The Sky Village” by Monk & Nigel Ashland

“Pastworld” by Ian Beck

“Soulless” by Gail Carriger

“Clockwork Angel” by Cassandra Clare (1 of 3)

“Girl Genius” graphic novel series by Phil and Kaja Foglio: Incredibly manic hilarity. You can find them online here and get a thrice-weekly fix.

“The Difference Engine” by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling

“Worldshaker” etc by Richard Harland: Brilliant and satirically funny.

“Burton and Swinburne: The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man” by Mark Hodder

“The Affinity Bridge” by George Mann

China Mieville: Sheer imagination from a brilliant and complex mind.

“The Nomad of Time” by Michael Moorcock

“Airborn” by Kenneth Oppel

“Dreadnought” by Cherie Priest (not the first book in the series)

“Blaze of Glory” etc by Michael Pryor: Funny and action-filled. I’ve read the whole six-book series, so clearly I liked it – but I often found the hero annoying.

“The Northern Lights/The Golden Compass” by Philip Pullman (1 of 3)

“The Subtle Knife” by Philip Pullman (2 of 3)

“The Amber Spyglass” by Philip Pullman (3 of 3)

“Ruby in the Smoke” by Philip Pullman (1 of 4 Sally Lockhart books)

“Larklight” by Philip Reeve (1 of 3, though they can stand alone quite well)

“Starcross” by Philip Reeve (2 of 3)

“Mothstorm” by Philip Reeve (3 of 3)

“Mortal Engines” by Philip Reeve: Very very dark (in marked contrast to his kids’ books). Also brilliant. And violent. The prequels aren’t as good.

“Ichabod hart and the Lighthouse Mystery” by James Roy

“The Invention of Hugo Cabret” by Brian Selznick: Yep, the book on which the movie “Hugo” was based. Pretty clocks and pretty pictures.

“Warship at the Bottom of the Sea” by Oshikawa Shunro: I haven’t read it, but apparently it’s fun and has pirates.

“The Hunchback Assignments” by Arthur Slade

Jeff Vandermeer: I only read one story (the first in “City of Saints and Madmen”) because, although it was wonderfully involving and the sensory detail was exquisite, it was far too violent and dark for me to read any more. I also thought the twist at the end was stupid.

“20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” by Jules Verne: Good, but too much technobabble for my liking.

“The Time Machine” by H. G. Wells: Still readable and interesting (or, if you prefer, horrifying) today.

“Leviathan” and “Behemoth” by Scott Westerfeld (1 and 2 of 3)

“Goliath” by Scott Westerfeld (3 of 3)

“The Machine Maid” by Diana Wynne-Jones: A true steampunk short story (which I wasn’t able to get my hands on).

Edited to add: My own novels are Aussie-written with an Australian setting; crossover fantasy novels. The first is HEART OF BRASS. It’s on Amazon etc and various Aussie bookshops. You can get the ISBN off that link to request it from your local bookshop with ease. Or you can order it directly from that link (it will be printed for you in Melbourne, the US or the UK, so most of you won’t have to pay ludicrous amounts of postage).

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Published by Felicity Banks Books

I write books (mainly adventure fantasy for kids and young adults), real-time twittertales, and a blog of Daily Awesomeness. @Louise_Curtis_ and My fantasy ebook is on sale at

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