It's been a while since we last took a focused look at steampunk. It's time for an update!
In Part 1, we looked at the continuation of series we first explored in 2011, as well as some short steampunk. In Part 2, we looked at old (reprint) steampunk titles as well as a beginning look at newer steampunk works. Now let's conclude our look at new steampunk books, including steampunk mash-ups.
More often than not, it seems as if authors are trying to take steampunk in new directions by way of the mash-up. Lending credence to the belief that steampunk is a flavor is a series of mash-ups where steampunk is but one ingredient in the literary recipe. The well-imagined novel A Red Sun Also Rises by Mark Hodder, for example, combines the sword and planet genre with Victorian steampunk. God Save the Queen, the first book in Kate Locke's Immortal Empire series, posits a Victorian England in which the aristocracy is made up of the undead. The Vampire Empire series by Clay and Susan Griffith (comprised of The Greyfriar, The Rift Walker and The Kingmakers) imagines an alternate reality where Earth was overtaken by vampires. Lilith Saintcrow began the Bannon & Clare series with The Iron Wyrm Affair, a detective story that mixes magic and steam. Chris Dolley mashes together steampunk with the mystery genre in his series of Reeves & Worcester Steampunk Mysteries (What Ho, Automaton! and Reggiecide), which read like a cross between P.G. Wodehouse and Sherlock Holmes. Stephen Hunt's Jackelian series, whose most recent story is Secrets of the Fire Sea, combines fantasy and steampunk by mixing magic with steam. The Metal Dragons is a steampunk fantasy series by Jaida Jones and Danielle Bennett that continued on with Dragon Soul and Steelhands. Felix Gilman's The Half-Made World and The Rise of Ransom City is a tantalizing steampunk Western duology featuring an idealistic inventor in an American Old West split between a totalitarian industrial regime and a land riddled with outlaws and chaos. Heather Massey's steampunk adventure Iron Guns, Blazing Hearts also features the Old West, when a woman attempts to track down her kidnapped father with the help of his automaton. Coming soon is a steampunk-Western-Fantasy from Guy Adams, The Good, the Bad and the Infernal, in which every 100 years a town appears that contains a doorway to Heaven. Also coming soon is a steampunk urban fantasy from Liesel Schwarz called A Conspiracy of Alchemists, the first book in a new series featuring a fearless heroine who faces creatures of light and shadow.
Never let it be said that steampunk is too niche. There are plenty of newer steampunk novels that provide a variety of choices for the discerning steampunk reader.
Steven Harper embraces core steampunk values with airships, automatons and brass contraptions throughout the books of his Clockwork Empire series, which so far includes The Doomsday Vault, The Impossible Cube and The Dragon Men. Robert Rankin adds humor to the already tasty subgenre of steampunnk with The Mechanical Messiah and Other Marvels of the Modern Age, which extends the English empire to other planets. Jay Kristoff takes steampunk to exotic places in Stormdancer, the start of a new fantasy series set in a dystopian steampunk world tinged with the flavor of feudal Japan. The Bookman Histories by Lavie Tidhar collects three thrilling alternate history steampunk novels: Bookman, Camera Obscura and The Great Game. Genevieve Valentine's Mechanique: A Tale of the Circus Tresaulti is a circus-themed steampunk story set in a magical, post-apocalyptic future. Heart of Veridon by Tim Akers is a tale of conspiracy and danger in a marvelous city of cogs. Aurorarama by Jean-Christophe Valtat is the first in a literary steampunk trilogy The Mysteries of New Venice, combining wit and insight into a thrilling suspense story. The Constantine Affliction by T. Aaron Payton depicts a strange malady that kills some of its victims and physically transforms others into the opposite sex. Heart of Iron by Ekaterina Sedia tackles gender politics against the steampunk backdrop of an alternate historic Russia. Dave Freer's The Steam Mole and Cuttlefish are two books aimed at the young adult set.For those who are looking for nonfiction steampunk books, consider Steampunk: An Illustrated History of Fantastical Fiction, Fanciful Film and Other Victorian Visions by Brian J. Robb and Frank Reade: Adventures in the Age of Invention by Paul Guinan and Anina Bennett, a celebration of the steampunk hero from the classic dime store novels.
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.