from Steampunk Poe
from Steampunk Poe

Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction that incorporates the new with the old—the ‘old’ typically being set in Victorian London (or a similar place) with the old dresses, top hats, and those prim manners… And the ‘new’ being those futuristic inventions such as technology or objects with clockwork gadgets or steam-powered machinery.  It is not necessarily a new genre; just one that has gained recent popularity.  Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Edgar Allan Poe’s stories are often viewed as Steampunk.  Historical, yet wired with science fiction, and oftentimes with a Gothic twist!  ‘Tis the season for a spooky read.


The Looking Glass Wars – Frank Beddor

Call Number: JRHI BEDDOR,F

A retelling of Alice in Wonderland, and what “really” happened.  Instead of structuring the story around Alice in the real world falling into Wonderland, Alyss Heart hides out in Victorian London until she can return to her beloved Wonderland and claim her rightful throne from her evil aunt Redd.  The story is threaded with imagination (really! That’s Alyss’ power), futuristic gadgets, and lots of action. Though the protag is female, will probably appeal more to boys.

Hatter M – Frank Beddor; Ben Templesmith (Artist); Liz Cavalier


A spin-off of The Looking Glass Wars, this graphic novel follows the adventures of Hatter M (aka. the Mad Hatter), who is the personal bodyguard to the royal house of Heart, as he searches for the lost Princess Alyss of Wonderland. It’s an in-between story, taking place during the years Alyss was hiding out in Victorian London. The illustrations are wonderfully detailed.


Born of Illusion – Teri Brown

Call Number: YA FIC BROWN,T

I love stories with illusionists (or magicians); this is one with that bit of magic that makes you question whether it’s imaginary; an entertaining story with a dash of history. This book has all those elements and those awesome steampunk gadgets, too.

Set in 1920s New York City, this is the story of budding magician Anna Van Housen, who has spent her whole life playing sidekick to her faux-medium mother–and trying to hide the fact the she actually possesses the very abilities her mother fakes.


The Dark Unwinding – Sharon Cameron


In 1852, when seventeen-year-old Katharine is sent to her family’s estate to prove that her uncle is insane, she finds he is an inventor whose work creating ingenious clockwork figures supports hundreds of families, but strange occurrences soon have her doubting her own sanity.

Although there are those elements of clockworks and gadgets, ingenious inventions and machinery, it’s the historical aspects and characters that make this story shine.


Clockwork Angel – Cassandra Clare

Call Number: YA FIC CLARE,C

Now this is popular one.

This is one for the paranormal romance fans.  For those of you who have seen or read The City of Bones (the Mortal Instruments series) and enjoyed it, you’ll definitely enjoy this one!

When sixteen-year-old orphan Tessa Gray’s older brother suddenly vanishes, her search for him leads her into Victorian-era London’s dangerous supernatural underworld, and when she discovers that she herself is a Downworlder, she must learn to trust the demon-killing Shadowhunters if she ever wants to learn to control her powers and find her brother.

A companion set to the Mortal Instruments series.


Something Strange and Deadly – Susan Dennard


In an alternate nineteenth-century Philadelphia, Eleanor Fitt sets out to rescue her brother, who seems to have been captured by an evil necromancer in control of an army of Undead.

This has zombies, so be warned that there’s plenty of fighting and chasing and braaaiiins.  People die or become undead.  It’s awesome and depressing at the same time.  Even with the magic and steampunk, I’d place this more solidly in the horror category.


Leviathan – Scott Westerfeld; Keith Thompson (Illustrator)


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.

Blending future and past, told in the alternating perspectives of Alek and Deryn.


This Dark Endeavor – Kenneth Oppel

Call Number: YA FIC OPPEL,K

When his twin brother falls ill in the family’s chateau in the independent republic of Geneva in the eighteenth century, sixteen-year-old Victor Frankenstein embarks on a dangerous and uncertain quest to create the forbidden Elixir of Life described in an ancient text in the family’s secret Biblioteka Obscura.


Etiquette and Espionage – Gail Carriger


In an alternate England of 1851, spirited fourteen-year-old Sophronia is enrolled in a finishing school where, she is surprised to learn, lessons include not only the fine arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but also diversion, deceit, and espionage.

This story has not only those usual steampunk elements, but also werewolves, vampires, and parasols.  It’s a humorous story for fans of the nineteenth century.


The Clockwork Scarab – Colleen Gleason

Evaline Stoker (sister of Bram Stoker, author of Dracula) and Mina Holmes (niece to Sherlock Holmes) never meant to get into the family business. But when your families are Stoker or Holmes, vampire hunting and mystery solving are in your blood. And when two society girls go missing, there’s no one more qualified to investigate. Now fierce Evaline and logical Mina must resolve their rivalry, navigate the advances of not just one but three mysterious gentlemen, and solve murder with only one clue: a strange Egyptian scarab.


Steampunk – Poe – Zdenko Basic (Illustrator); Manuel Sumberac (Illustrator)

Call Number: YA FIC POE,E

This is a collection of Poe’s stories will accompanying steampunk illustrations.  His stories already have that feeling of strange and creepiness, so it only makes sense that it’d be paired with steampunk.

If you’re a fan of short stories or of Edgar Allan Poe, or of peculiar things altogether, you’ll enjoy this illustrated version.


Steampunk! – Kelly Link (Editor); Gavin J. Grant (Editor)

Call Number: YA SF STE

A collection of fourteen fantasy stories by well-known authors, set in the age of steam engines and featuring automatons, clockworks, calculating machines, and other marvels that never existed.

From Teen Booktalk 10/24/13

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