Discover The 9 Most Popular Steampunk Books

If you’re a fan of science fiction, adventure, and alternate history, then steampunk is the genre for you. Steampunk books are set in a fictionalized Victorian-era world where steam power, clockwork mechanisms, and other advanced technologies drive the plot. In this article, we’ll explore the best steampunk books for an unforgettable reading experience. But first, let’s delve deeper into the steampunk genre and its origins.

steampunk gener

Understanding the Steampunk Genre

Steampunk is a subgenre of science fiction that combines elements of the Industrial Revolution, Victorian era, and fantastical inventions. The genre emerged in the 1980s and gained popularity in the 1990s through literature, film, and fashion.

Steampunk is a genre that has captured the imaginations of many, with its unique blend of science fiction, fantasy, and historical elements. It is a genre that is often associated with adventure and exploration, as well as a sense of nostalgia for a time when technology was still in its infancy.

Origins of Steampunk

The roots of steampunk can be traced back to the works of Victorian writers such as H.G. Wells and Jules Verne. These writers created imaginative works that explored the possibilities of technology, science, and adventure. Their stories often featured steam-powered machines, airships, and other fantastical inventions that captured the imagination of readers.

It was not until the late 1980s, however, that the term “steampunk” was coined by science fiction author K.W. Jeter to describe a retro-futuristic world where steam-powered machines dominated. Jeter’s novel, “Infernal Devices,” is often cited as one of the first examples of the steampunk genre.

Key Elements of Steampunk Fiction

Steampunk fiction is characterized by its use of Victorian-era technology and aesthetics, such as steam-powered machinery, clockwork devices, and brass goggles. It also incorporates elements of adventure, romance, and often a touch of the supernatural or fantastical. Steampunk worlds are detailed and immersive, with intricate cultures, political systems, and social norms that provide rich backdrops to the story.

One of the key elements of steampunk fiction is the sense of wonder and exploration that it evokes. Steampunk stories often take place in alternate versions of history, where technology has advanced in unexpected ways. These worlds are filled with strange and wondrous machines, from clockwork automatons to steam-powered airships. They are also often populated by colorful characters, from eccentric inventors to daring adventurers.

Another important element of steampunk fiction is its focus on aesthetics. The genre is known for its distinctive visual style, which draws heavily on Victorian fashion and design. Steampunk fashion often features corsets, top hats, and other elements of Victorian dress, as well as goggles, gears, and other mechanical accessories.

Overall, steampunk is a genre that celebrates creativity, imagination, and the power of technology to transform the world. It is a genre that continues to captivate readers and viewers alike, with its unique blend of history, fantasy, and adventure.

Top Steampunk Novels for Beginners

If you’re new to the steampunk genre, these are the books you won’t want to miss.

Steampunk is a subgenre of science fiction that combines elements of the Victorian era with steam-powered technology. It often features anachronistic inventions and alternate histories, creating a unique and fascinating world for readers to explore.

“The Difference Engine” by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling

The Difference Engine: A Novel

This novel is often considered the quintessential steampunk book. It takes place in an alternate 19th century where Charles Babbage’s mechanical computer, the Difference Engine, was completed and ushered in a technological revolution. The story follows a journalist and a paleontologist who stumble upon a vast conspiracy involving the engine and the government.

As you read “The Difference Engine,” you’ll be transported to a world where technology has advanced far beyond what we know today. The intricate descriptions of the mechanical devices and the political intrigue will keep you on the edge of your seat.

“Perdido Street Station” by China Miéville

Perdido Street Station (Bas-Lag Book 1)

This novel is set in the sprawling city of New Crobuzon, where a scientist named Isaac Dan der Grimnebulin is tasked with creating a new race of flying creatures. However, his experiments lead to unintended consequences, and he must grapple with ethical concerns and the fallout of his actions.

Perdido Street Station” is a masterclass in world-building. The city of New Crobuzon is a character in and of itself, with its own unique culture and history. Miéville’s prose is lush and descriptive, painting a vivid picture of the city and its inhabitants.

“Mortal Engines” by Philip Reeve

Mortal Engines (Mortal Engines, Book 1)

In a post-apocalyptic world where cities are mobile and devour each other for resources, a young apprentice named Tom Natsworthy gets caught up in a conspiracy that threatens the entire ecosystem of the world. With memorable characters and thrilling action scenes, this book is an excellent introduction to the steampunk genre.

Mortal Engines” is a thrilling adventure that will keep you on the edge of your seat. The concept of mobile cities is both fascinating and terrifying, and Reeve does an excellent job of exploring the implications of such a world. The characters are well-developed and relatable, making it easy to get invested in their journey.

Overall, these three books are a great starting point for anyone interested in the steampunk genre. They each offer something unique and compelling, whether it’s political intrigue, world-building, or thrilling action scenes.

Steampunk Series You Can’t Miss

If you’re a fan of the steampunk genre, you’re in for a treat. This series will take you on a journey through alternate universes and introduce you to fascinating characters and creatures.

“The Parasol Protectorate” by Gail Carriger

Parasol Protectorate Series

This five-book series is a delightful mix of steampunk, romance, and comedy of manners. The protagonist, Alexia Tarrabotti, is a strong-willed woman who has the ability to neutralize supernatural powers. Her adventures take her through the streets of an alternate Victorian London, where she encounters werewolves, vampires, and other supernatural creatures. The witty banter, quirky characters, and steam-powered gadgets make this series a must-read for any steampunk enthusiast.

Aside from the main storyline, the books also explore themes of gender and societal norms. Alexia’s unconventional behavior and outspokenness challenge the expectations of her time, making her a refreshing and empowering character.

You can find this book here.

“The Clockwork Century” by Cherie Priest

The Clockwork Century

If you’re looking for a darker, grittier take on steampunk, “The Clockwork Century” is the series for you. Set in an alternate 19th century where the American Civil War has been raging for over a decade, the books explore the consequences of war and the impact of steam-powered technology on society. The protagonists are a diverse cast of characters, including a smuggler, a nurse, and a Confederate spy, all navigating the dangerous and volatile landscape of war-torn America.

The series also touches on themes of race and class, with characters from different backgrounds coming together to fight for a common cause. The world-building is rich and immersive, with vivid descriptions of the steam-powered machines and the horrors of war.

“The Infernal Devices” by Cassandra Clare

The Infernal Devices

This young adult trilogy is set in the Shadowhunter world, where teenage orphan Tessa Gray discovers she has the ability to shape-shift. The books are set in an alternate Victorian London, where clockwork automatons and gadgets play significant roles in the plot. The series is full of action, romance, and suspense, making it a must-read for fans of YA and steampunk.

The characters are well-developed and relatable, with their own unique struggles and motivations. The themes of love, friendship, and sacrifice are explored in depth, making the series an emotional rollercoaster. The world-building is also impressive, with intricate details of the Shadowhunter society and the steampunk technology.

Overall, these series offer a fascinating glimpse into the world of steampunk, with their own unique twists and turns. Whether you’re a long-time fan or a newcomer to the genre, these books will keep you entertained for hours.

You can find this book here.

Steampunk Books with Strong Female Protagonists

Steampunk is a genre that has been gaining popularity in recent years, and for good reason. With its blend of Victorian-era aesthetics and futuristic technology, it offers a unique and exciting reading experience. And what’s even better is when that experience is led by a strong female protagonist. These books feature heroines who are intelligent, resourceful, and take charge of their destinies.

“Etiquette & Espionage” by Gail Carriger

Etiquette & Espionage (Finishing School Series Book 1)

This book is the first in the Finishing School series, which follows the adventures of Sophronia, a young girl sent to a boarding school to learn how to be a proper lady. However, she soon discovers that the school is actually a covert training ground for spies, and she must navigate the dangerous world of espionage and intrigue. Sophronia is not your typical heroine – she’s feisty, curious, and unafraid to break the rules. She quickly proves herself to be a force to be reckoned with, and readers will find themselves rooting for her every step of the way.

You can find this book here.

“Boneshaker” by Cherie Priest

Boneshaker: A Novel of the Clockwork Century

In this novel, Briar Wilkes sets off into the walled-off ruins of Seattle in search of a stolen invention that has turned her son into a zombie. Along the way, she must confront air pirates, rebels, and the mysterious Dr. Minnericht. Briar is a woman who has faced more than her fair share of challenges – she’s a single mother in a world that doesn’t always make it easy for women to succeed. But she’s also fiercely determined and resourceful, and she’ll stop at nothing to save her son. Readers will be swept up in her quest and will admire her strength and resilience.

You can find this book here.

“The Girl in the Steel Corset” by Kady Cross

The Girl in the Steel Corset (Steampunk Chronicles)

In the first book of the Steampunk Chronicles series, Finley Jayne is a girl with two identities: one that is entirely normal and one that possesses extraordinary strength and ferocity. When her split personalities draw her into the world of steampunk, she must learn to control her powers and fight against dangerous enemies. Finley is a complex character – she’s struggling to come to terms with her own identity and the power that comes with it. But she’s also brave and loyal, and readers will find themselves invested in her story as she fights to save herself and those she loves.

Steampunk offers a world of adventure and excitement, and these books with their strong female protagonists are the perfect way to experience it. Whether you’re a long-time fan of the genre or just dipping your toes in, you’re sure to find a thrilling and immersive reading experience. So why not dive into one of these unforgettable books today?

You can find this book here.


What is steampunk literature?

Steampunk literature refers to books inspired by the industrial revolution. Typically, they heavily feature Victorian technology such as steam-powered machines.

What was the first steampunk book?

Titus Alone by Mervyn Peake, published in 1959 is noted as the earliest example of steampunk literature.

What are some good examples of steampunk literature?

Perdido Street Station by China Miéville, Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld, Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve, The Anubis Gate by Tim Powers, Boneshaker by Cherie Priest, and The Difference Engine by Bruce Sterling all include the themes of steampunk literature.

YouTube video
Eddison Monroe
Latest posts by Eddison Monroe (see all)