Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction and alternate history premised on a Victorian world where steam power is still widely used.

Compiled by Forbes Library Staff | Summaries from ContentCafe, NoveList, Wikipedia, | September 2013


  • Tarnished: The St. Croix Chronicles
    by Karina Cooper
    A heiress by day and a hunter of vagrants, thieves and murders by night, Cherry St. Croix, whose brilliant scientific mind sets her apart from respectable Society, must choose between both worlds–and two men–when a monster stalks London’s streets.

  • The Greyfriar
    by Clay Griffith and Susan Griffith
    Having lived near the Equator for 150 years to escape the heat-hating vampire clans of the North, humans and vampires are now close to a fight to the death and Princess Adele must rely on the mysterious Greyfriar for protection.

  • God Save the Queen
    by Kate Locke
    Xandra Vardan, a Royal Guard in the British Empire where the Aristocracy is made up of werewolves and vampires, uncovers a vast conspiracy while investigating the mysterious disappearance of her sister.

  • The Slayer
    by Theresa Meyers
    When he is forced by Alexandra Porter, the Contessa Drossenburg, to accompany her to the mountains of Transylvania, Sheriff Winn Jackson finds his opinions about vampires, demon-hunting, and justice changed by this feral beauty.

  • The Inexplicables
    by Cherie Priest
    In this fifth installment in the Clockwork Century steampunk adventure series, Rector “Wreck ’em” Sherman, a drug dealer haunted by the ghost of a kid he used to know, sneaks over the wall into the wasteland of Seattle where he makes a shocking discovery that changes everything.

  • All Men of Genius
    by Lev AC Rosen
    In a combined steampunk retelling of Twelfth Night and The Importance of Being Earnest, Violet Adams finds it difficult to keep her true gender secret when she disguises herself as a man to attend an exclusive college.

  • The Iron Wyrm Affair
    by Lilith Saintcrow
    Emma Bannon, forensic sorceress in the service of the Empire, has a mission: to protect Archibald Clare, a failed, unregistered mentath. His skills of deduction are legendary, and her own sorcery is not inconsiderable. Unfortunately, they can barely tolerate each other…

  • Mechanique: A Tale of the Circus Tresaulti
    by Genevieve Valentine
    As a circus of performers recreated with mechanical parts treks across a chaotic world, a government man asks for the ringmaster’s help in building a world of order, while two performers desire a pair of cursed magical wings.

  • 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
    by Jules Verne
    Retells the adventures of a French professor and his two companions as they sail above and below the world’s oceans as prisoners on the fabulous electric submarine of the deranged Captain Nemo.

  • The Time Machine
    by H.G. Wells
    Classic science-fiction novel recounts the adventures of a hypothetical Time-Traveler who journeys into the future. While the novel is underpinned with both Darwinian and Marxist theory and offers fascinating food for thought about the world of the future, it also succeeds as an exciting blend of adventure and pseudo-scientific romance.

  • Leviathan
    by Scott Westerfeld
    In an alternate 1914 Europe, Austrian Prince Alek, on the run from forces who are attempting to take over the globe with mechanical machinery, forms an alliance with Deryn, who is learning to fly genetically-engineered beasts.

  • Land of Hope and Glory
    by Geoffrey Wilson
    In an alternate Europe ruled by the Indian empire Rajthana, veteran Jack Casey’s efforts to avoid an uprising are shattered when the Rajthanans offer to dismiss his daughter’s death sentence if he captures the rebel’s leader, his best friend.

  • The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack
    by Mark Hodder
    The time is 1861; the place, London, England. The country is besieged by loups-garous (werewolves), and Spring Heeled Jack, the notorious (and possibly mythical) creature who appears out of nowhere to accost young women, is causing a bit of a ruckus. To deal with these problems, the prime minister recruits Sir Richard Francis Burton, the noted explorer, linguist, and self-promoter.

  • The Buntline Special: A Weird West Tale
    by Mike Resnick
    In a steampunk-style alternate-history fantasy tale, America’s only hope for expansion past the Mississippi River in 1881 is a mission to Tombstone, Arizona, headed by Thomas Edison, whose protectors include Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday and the zombie Bat Masterson and whose enemies include the Apache wizard Geronimo, the Clanton gang and an undead Johnny Ringo.

  • The Kingdom Beyond the Waves
    by Stephen Hunt
    Obsessed with finding a prehistoric lost city, Professor Amelia Harsh accepts patronage from a man she blames for her father’s suicide, blackmails an old friend, and leads a crew of freed convicts on a luckless steampunk adventure.

  • Boneshaker
    by Cherie Priest
    Inventor Leviticus Blue creates a machine that accidentally decimates Seattle’s banking district and uncovers a vein of Blight Gas that turns everyone who breathes it into the living dead. Sixteen years later Briar, Blue’s widow, lives in the poor neighborhood outside the wall that’s been built around the uninhabitable city. Life is tough with a ruined reputation, but she and her teenage son Ezekiel are surviving–until Zeke impetuously decides that he must reclaim his father’s name from the clutches of history.

  • Blameless
    by Gail Carriger
    In the third installment of the series Parasol Protectorate, the pregnant Lady Maccon leaves her husband, is dismissed from the Shadow Council, attacked by mechanical ladybugs, and becomes the target of vampires, forcing her to escape to Italy in search of the mysterious Templars.

  • Perdido Street Station
    by China Miéville
    In New Crobuzon, the unsavory deal is stranger to none –not even to Isaac, a gifted and eccentric scientist with a penchant for Crisis Theory. Isaac has spent a lifetime quietly carrying out his unique research. But when a half-bird, half-human creature known as the Garuda comes to him from afar, Isaac is faced with challenges he has never before encountered.

  • The Kingdom of Ohio
    by Matthew Flaming
    Discovering an old photograph of a beautiful mathematical prodigy, antiques dealer Peter remembers his initial dismissal of the woman’s claim that she had discovered the key to time travel, a capability that enables Peter’s journey to New York at the dawn of the mechanical age.

Anthologies & Short Stories

  • Steampunk
    edited by Ann & Jeff VanderMeer
    Replete with whimsical mechanical wonders and charmingly anachronistic settings, this pioneering anthology gathers a brilliant blend of fantastical stories. Steampunk originates in the romantic elegance of the Victorian era and blends in modern scientific advances, synthesizing imaginative technologies such as steam-driven robots, analog supercomputers, and ultramodern dirigibles. The elegant allure of this popular new genre is represented in this rich collection by distinctively talented authors, including Neal Stephenson, Michael Chabon, James Blaylock, Michael Moorcock, and Joe R. Lansdale.

  • Steampunk II : Steampunk Reloaded
    edited by Ann & Jeff VanderMeer
    The dynamic VanderMeers follow 2008’s Steampunk with this engaging anthology of 23 stories (three original to this volume, including Jeffrey Ford’s “Dr. Lash Remembers”), two essays (including one by Gail Carriger), and a roundtable interview, all of which define, deepen, and demonstrate the clockwork beauty of automaton-laden science fiction.

  • Steampunk III: Steampunk Revolution
    edited by Ann VanderMeer
    Playfully mashing up the romantic elegance of the Victorian era with whimsically modernized technology, this entertaining and edgy new anthology is the third installment in a bestselling Steampunk series. Featuring a renegade collective of writers and artists—from beloved legends to rising talents—the steam-driven past is rebooted and powered by originality, wit, and adventure.

  • The Mammoth Book of Steampunk
    by Sean Wallace
    Presents a collection of thirty short stories which explores alternate worlds from the past in which women and social classes are oppressed and anachronistic technology is used to bring about a better future.

  • Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells
    by edited by Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling
    An anthology of stories by fantasy authors features entries that reflect influences from the nineteenth-century “Gaslamp” era and includes contributions from such writers as Elizabeth Bear and Gregory Maguire.

  • Ghosts by Gaslight: Stories of Steampunk and Supernatural Suspense
    edited by Jack Dann & Nick Gevers
    Featuring stories by James Morrow, Terry Dowling, Garth Nix and Robert Silverberg, this spellbinding collection of steampunk and supernatural tales breathes new life into the Victorian and Edwardian ghost story for a new generation of readers.

Graphic Novels

  • The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
    by Alan Moore
    London, 1898. The Victorian Era draws to a close and the twentieth century approaches. It is a time of great change and an age of stagnation, a period of chaste order and ignoble chaos. It is an era in need of champions.

  • The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Black Dossier
    by Alan Moore
    In an alternate England in 1958, Mina Murray and Allan Quatermain seek the Black Dossier, which contains the history of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen through the centuries, while fleeing from deadly secret agents.