Saturday, July 30, 2011

Book List: Steampunk

So, what the devil is steampunk anyways! I've seem a lot of "steampunk jewelry" and "steampunk art," but until now I didn't know exactly what it was. So I thought I'd do a little research and this is what I came up with.

Steampunk is an genre that was formerly underground but is becoming more popular. As literature, it began with authors such as Jules Verne and H.P. Lovecraft. Today's steampunk authors tend to write books that are set in alternative-realm Victorian era, or have a Victorian vibe. But the difference is that they are technology-heavy with such inventions as multi-spectrum binoculars and steam powered airships, as well as have supernatural elements.

Aesthetically, steampunk is primarily costumes with corsets, top hats, horn-rimmed glasses, and poison darts hidden disguised in parasols. It's steam power used creatively to win wars, escape prisons, and see the rest of the world. If looking to jump into the genre, here are a few suggestions:

Fever Crumb by Phillip Reeve
Foundling Fever Crumb has been raised as an engineer although females in the future London, England, are not believed capable of rational thought, but at age fourteen she leaves her sheltered world and begins to learn startling truths about her past while facing danger in the present.

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
In an alternate 1914 Europe, fifteen-year-old Austrian Prince Alek, on the run from the Clanker Powers who are attempting to take over the globe using mechanical machinery, forms an uneasy alliance with Deryn who, disguised as a boy to join the British Air Service, is learning to fly genetically-engineered beasts.

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
Sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray travels to England in search of her brother only to be abducted by the Dark Sisters, residents of London's Downworld, home to the city's supernatural folk, and she becomes the object of much attention--both good and bad--when it is discovered she has the power to transform at will into another person.

Airborn by Kenneth Oppel
Matt, a young cabin boy aboard an airship, and Kate, a wealthy young girl traveling with her chaperone, team up to search for the existence of mysterious winged creatures reportedly living hundreds of feet above the Earth's surface.

The Time Machine by H. G. Wells
A scientist invents a machine that transports him far into the future where he discovers a changed world inhabited by two unusual races, the Eloi and the Morlocks.

The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman
Accompanied by her daemon, Lyra Belacqua sets out to prevent her best friend and other kidnapped children from becoming the subject of gruesome experiments in the Far North.

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen by Alan Moore
The adventures of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, a group composed of characters taken from late 19th Century literature, as they defend Britain against various villains.

City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau
In the city of Ember, twelve-year-old Lina trades jobs on Assignment Day to be a Messenger to run to new places in her decaying but beloved city, perhaps even to glimpse Unknown Regions. 

Incarceron by Catherine Fisher
To free herself from an upcoming arranged marriage, Claudia, the daughter of the Warden of Incarceron, a futuristic prison with a mind of its own, decides to help a young prisoner escape.

Larklight by Philip Reeve
In an alternate Victorian England, young Arthur and his sister Myrtle, residents of Larklight, a floating house in one of Her Majesty's outer space territories, uncover a spidery plot to destroy the solar system.

Airman by Eoin Colfer
In the 1890s on an island off the Irish coast, Conor Broekhart is falsely imprisoned and passes the solitary months by scratching designs of flying machines into the walls, including one for a glider with which he dreams of escape.


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