It's been a while since we last took a focused look at steampunk. It's time for an update!
To refresh your memory, Steampunk is a sub-categorization of science fiction in which the predominant technology is steam-based power. Steampunk stories are usually (but not always) set in the 19th century, and often in Victoria-era London. The predominant driving force behind steampunk is fun, so the stories usually offer less rigorous science than straightforward science fiction.
Steampunk is often labeled as a passing fad, so one might think the subgenre has, well, run out of steam. But one would be wrong: As this series of articles will attempt to show, steampunk is still going strong. Even better: Despite being part of a specific sub-genre, it offers a variety of choices for readers of varying tastes.
The Stories Continued!
Before we take a look at new contenders in the steampunk arena, let's first take a look at new books in the series that were included in the above-mentioned article:
¨ Cherie Priest's popular and fun Clockwork Century series has grown by two! Ganymede and The Inexplicables offer thrill-seekers air pirates, steampunk submarines, and more of the undead.
¨ Kaja and Phil Foglio, whose Girl Genius stories began life as a web comic, followed up their prose novel Agatha H. and the Airship City with an all-new steampunk adventure called Agatha H. and the Clockwork Princess.
¨ Andrew P. Mayer's steampunk superheroes, the Society of Steam, continued doing good deeds in both Hearts of Smoke and Steam and Power Under Pressure.
¨ Along similar adventurous themes, Mark Hodder's tales of the explorer Richard Francis Burton and Algernon Charles Swinburne continued with Expedition to the Mountains of the Moon.
¨ Mike Resnick's Weird West steampunk/western mashup that began with The Buntline Special offered two more installments for its alternate Doc Holliday: The Doctor and the Kid and The Doctor and the Rough Rider.
¨ Gail Carriger's popular Parasol Protectorate series went gangbusters. The series itself served up two more supernatural escapades with Heartless and Timeless. Additionally there is a manga version of the first novel, Soulless. And if that weren't enough, there is a brand new spinoff series (The Finishing School) aimed at the younger set; the first book is called Etiquette and Espionage. Want more? Gail announced a new spinoff series for adults called Parasol Protectorate Abroad.
Steam Puffs (Short Fiction)
There’s been a slew of brand new steampunk anthologies since my previous column. Steampunk III: Steampunk Revolution, edited by Ann VanderMeer, is the third entry into the popular anthology series. It offers up new stories from N.K. Jemisin, Cherie Priest, Lev Grossman, and Bruce Sterling, among others. Steampunk'd, edited by Jean Rabe and Martin H. Greenberg, has fiction by Jody Lynn Nye, William C. Dietz and Bradley P. Beaulieu. The Immersion Book of Steampunk, edited by Gareth D. Jones and Carmelo Rafala, offers fictional delights from Lavie Tidhar, Tanith Lee, Aliette de Bodard and Paul Di Filippo. Meanwhile, The Mammoth Book of Steampunk, edited by Sean Wallace, focuses on newer elements of steampunk and proudly includes work by Mary Robinette Kowal, Jay Lake, Cat Rambo, Ekaterina Sedia, Catherynne M. Valente, Genevieve Valentine and more. Gears and Levers 2: A Steampunk Anthology, edited by Phyllis Irene Radford, includes stories by Chaz Brenchley, Alma Alexander, Tina Connely and Radford herself. And coming next month, steampunk readers would do well to check out Queen Victoria's Book of Spells: An Anthology of Gaslamp Fantasy, edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling. You can look forward to steampunk gems by Jeffrey Ford, Maureen McHugh, Delia Sherman, Kathe Koja, Elizabeth Bear, Kaaron Warren, Tanith Lee and Theodora Goss, among several others.
Now that we've caught up to what we missed and sampled short work and revisits, what remains is to look at the host of new steampunk novels that have since been released. Tune in next week for the continuation of our steampunk update!
John DeNardo is the editor of SF Signal, a Hugo Award-winning group science-fiction and fantasy blog featuring news, reviews and interviews. He also like bagels and the sound of soda fizz.