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Old 06-21-2008, 06:28 PM   #1
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Steampunk?

Any recommendations?
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Old 06-21-2008, 06:35 PM   #2
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Not a lot of good steampunk I've found.... with one, massive exception: Perdido Street Station by China Mieville... The next couple of books are quite good, too. But Perdido is the best fantasy I've read in years.

Don't know if it's available in ebook.
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Old 06-21-2008, 06:39 PM   #3
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I suppose it depends on what you consider to be steampunk. I am enjoying the His Dark Materials books. There's a nice list of Steampunk Novels at wikipedia.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Steampunk_novels
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Old 06-21-2008, 06:43 PM   #4
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So what is steampunk?
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Old 06-21-2008, 06:54 PM   #5
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So what is steampunk?
Well, it's generally a type of fantasy in which it is imagined that certain scientific and engineering breakthroughs occurred my earlier in history than they actually did.

So, steampunk is usually set in the Victorian Era, and for the most part has Victorian mores and sensibilities, but with steam powered flying machines and automobiles.

I suppose that one of the earliest bits of steampunk machinery I can think of would be in HG Wells "The Time Machine." The time machine itself, with all of it's intricate scroll work and beautiful detailing would be a piece of steampunk.

There was a movie a few years ago called "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" .... that's steampunk.
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Old 06-21-2008, 07:09 PM   #6
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I'm still trying to get fictionwise to update the LIT version of perdido street station for my sony...their LIT format is missing a whole 50 some pages.

As for the rest of the books on the wiki page, hardly any are available in ebook :-(

Steampunk is one of my new fascinations lately. I've been trying to look into the whole subgenre for the better half of three months now. I don't want to kill anymore trees though =(
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Old 06-21-2008, 10:36 PM   #7
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It's not exactly steampunk, but in spirit it might be: The Diamond Age, by Neil Stephenson. The reason it's "not exactly" is that it's more set in a potential future than past, with nanotech. It kind of is because of the dominant presence of the "Neo-Victorian" culture, and because the nanotech operates via tiny gears and so forth, which really lends that cogwheel tech flavor.

There was a fun looking tabletop RPG out many years ago called Space 1899 that used a steampunk setting. Victorian ornithopters on Percival Lowell's Mars! I never did get a chance to play it, sadly. Too many games, too little time.
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Old 06-21-2008, 11:14 PM   #8
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The Difference Engine by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling is probably the only steampunk novel I've read. But there's a lot of steampunk anime series/movies if you'd like to try that. My favorite is probably Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water series, which is loosely based on Jule Verne's 20000 Leagues Under Water and directed by Anno Hideaki of Evangelion's fame. Other examples for movies are Hayao Miyazaki's Castle In the Sky and Howl's Moving Castle, Katsuhiro Otomo's Steamboy, Vampire Hunter D. The series: Fullmetal Alchemist, Last Exile, Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo, Secret of Cerulean Sand, Trigun, The Vision of Escaflowne, Samurai 7, Sakura Wars, Steam Detectives.
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Old 06-22-2008, 12:36 AM   #9
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I rather liked A Transatlantic Tunnel, Hurrah! by Harry Harrison.
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Old 06-22-2008, 05:51 PM   #10
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I rather liked A Transatlantic Tunnel, Hurrah! by Harry Harrison.
As did I, but I wouldn't call it Steampunk. I see it as firmly alternate history, in a world where America lost the Revolutionary War.
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Old 06-22-2008, 08:07 PM   #11
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As did I, but I wouldn't call it Steampunk. I see it as firmly alternate history, in a world where America lost the Revolutionary War.
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I thought the flying boats that used a powdered coal for fuel and other equivalent technologies put it squarely in the steampunk arena even if it did have an alternative history bent to the story setup.
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Old 06-22-2008, 08:36 PM   #12
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I thought the flying boats that used a powdered coal for fuel and other equivalent technologies put it squarely in the steampunk arena even if it did have an alternative history bent to the story setup.
Yeah, you can view it that way.

I guess my problem is that the whole concept of "steampunk" hadn't been invented when Harrison wrote that book. Nor had cyberpunk, for that matter.

So calling it steampunk is classification after the fact. There were various things called cyberpunk by the early proponents of the sub-genre that bemused the folks who wrote the works. Cyberpunk wasn't what they thought they were writing when they wrote it.

You can always play games with classification, and classify stuff after the fact. Personally, I shy away from that, and reserve the "steampunk" tag for books written by current authors who are actively trying to write that sort of book.
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Old 06-22-2008, 08:45 PM   #13
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I think it can also be worthwhile saying, "If you like steampunk, you might also like..." for some of those works, though, don't you think?
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Old 06-22-2008, 09:00 PM   #14
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...
You can always play games with classification, and classify stuff after the fact. Personally, I shy away from that, and reserve the "steampunk" tag for books written by current authors who are actively trying to write that sort of book.
______
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Dennis, would you also acknowledge the possibility, though, that sometimes it's worthwhile classifying stuff after the fact, when, let's say, the "steampunk" existed in such form prior to the work of whichever author is labeled as having pioneered it (and, I guess also, it should be noted that the "pioneer" didn't actively try to write steampunk when the term didn't exist - s/he just became the "first" steampunk novelist)?

Incidentally, I've been enjoying your posts, with your detailed opinions on and references to books and authors you like/dislike or that just are related to whatever the current topic of conversation is. You've been giving me googling pleasure and some notations of future additions to the TBR-file/pile. Good show, fellow! (though I also curse you - I really don't need any more TBR additions )

Cheers,
Marc
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Old 06-22-2008, 10:32 PM   #15
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I think it can also be worthwhile saying, "If you like steampunk, you might also like..." for some of those works, though, don't you think?
Sure, but if I don't think they were written to be steampunk, I don't call them that. The most I'll say is that they scratch the same sort of itch.
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