Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Top Ten Books On My Steampunk 101 Syllabus

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

I was going to do fantasy - either YA or adult or mixed - but then I thought of steampunk. As a genre, steampunk is still in the early stages of public awareness. Me, I like to think I was a fan of steampunk before it became cool, be it really doesn't matter if you've been a fan for years or are only now trying it. I love steampunk, I love the look and the feel and what it is. So, if I taught steampunk, these books would be on my required reading list.

Top Ten Books on My Steampunk 101 Syllabus

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
Some say he's the father of modern steampunk. Verne wrote Victorian science fiction which, the first time I ever heard steampunk described it was 'as Victorians would write science fiction'. If nothing else, it's interesting to see where steampunk got its roots.

Soulless by Gail Carriger
Gail Carriger is kinda, sorta, pretty much the Queen of Steampunk. While her books are so romance-heavy that they definitely aren't for everyone, they have some of the best gadgets and the world building is amazing.

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
One of the very first steampunk books I've read. This takes place just before World War I starts and it's world building is pretty great. You have the Darwinists who have genetically engineered their ships - you basically have flying whales - and the Clankers who supply the gears of this steampunk world through mechanical things.

Retribution Falls by Chris Wooding
Unlike most other steampunk novels, this one is not set in our world - or anything at even vaguely resembles our world. Not only is it steampunk, it's steampunk in a fantasy setting. This is one of my favorite steampunk books/series and I think it's a great example of how steampunk doesn't have to be Victorian.

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
This is kind of a steampunk/urban fantasy amalgamation set in - you guessed it - Victorian England. While not one of the best examples of steampunk here (though it does have the look) it's interesting to see a steampunk that blends into other genres until it isn't about it being steampunk.

Flash Gold by Lindsay Buroker
How about steampunk of the Gold Rush? And steampunk that isn't as...clean as it usually is. There is a lot of literal dirt - the kind that stains your trousers and gets under your nail - in this story about a mechanic. While the series is novella length, it's interesting to see steampunk creations from the creators eyes.

The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson
Set in a world vaguely similar to ours, this book has the United States as an island archipelago and enough gears to be steampunk. However, it is truly more a blending of fantasy and steampunk but a read entirely for the island idea.

The Friday Society by Adrienne Kress
One of my favorite steampunk books! This book has plenty of gadgets and ahead-of-her-time girls (something all steampunk needs!). I love the look and general feel of turn of the century London.

The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross
Perfect for those that want the look and feel of steampunk without delving into any of the weightier issues - or doesn't want the issues to weigh the story down - and definitely modern sensibilities. This series has got the steampunk vibe down pat.

Lady of Devices by Shelley Adina
Probably what I would have described if I had been asked 'what's steampunk' before I ever read any. This book is one of the perfect places to start if you want a steampunk world that doesn't overwhelm but is very steampunk.

As a special bonus, I am throwing in required listening: the steampunk band: Abney Park!

Seriously, their music is like the soundtrack to everything steampunk. Well, everything they're not the soundtrack for, these guys are: Steam Powered Giraffe!

And required watching: four anime shows that have a strong steampunk basis.
Samurai 7
Based on Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai
Sakura Wars
Last Exile
And it's sequel
Fam: The Silver Wing
I've personally seen each of these shows at least once (the first two I've seen twice each) so If you're looking for steampunk anime, these might be worth looking into. And there we have our syllabus. Well, mine anyhow. I'd love to see what you've chosen, so leave me links and I'll stop by. Also love to know what you think and if I can convince you to read any of these books and if you've read some of them, what you thought.