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Old 02-09-2012, 02:44 PM   #1
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Question steampunk without "paranormal"

I want to try this genre and made some researches (particuliarly at goodreads) and ended up with "Infernal devices" by K W Jeter. I'm 25% through and though at first I thought there was no paranormal stuff, it seems to have curious inhabitants in it, not to say more (don't want to spoil the plot). Could anyone let out some recommandations without : zombies, vampires, or other "strange people" of that sort ? Or is it not possible to read steampunk litterature without them ? (I'd rather like a good one for a first time )

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Old 02-09-2012, 03:32 PM   #2
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Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi
Mainspring by Jay Lake
Perdido Street Station by China Miéville
Retribution Falls by Chris Wooding
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Old 02-09-2012, 03:45 PM   #3
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Cherie Priest's Clockwork Century series, starting with Boneshaker, is quite good. It has zombies but they're explained in a scientific-esque way. If you can accept a "natural" cause for zombies, then there's nothing paranormal in the series except one scene in the last book, Ganymede.

I thought Perdido Street Station had more paranormal elements, with the moths and spider.
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Old 02-09-2012, 03:51 PM   #4
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Funny... I skipped Boneshaker *because* of the zombies and listed Perdido Street Station because the creatures were part of the *natural* world.
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Old 02-09-2012, 07:14 PM   #5
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The Bookman by Lavie Tidhar-

"A masked terrorist has brought London to its knees -- there are bombs inside books, and nobody knows which ones. On the day of the launch of the first expedition to Mars, by giant cannon, he outdoes himself with an audacious attack.

For young poet Orphan, trapped in the screaming audience, it seems his destiny is entwined with that of the shadowy terrorist, but how? His quest to uncover the truth takes him from the hidden catacombs of London on the brink of revolution, through pirate-infested seas, to the mysterious island that may hold the secret to the origin not only of the shadowy Bookman, but of Orphan himself...

Like a steam-powered take on V for Vendetta, rich with satire and slashed through with automatons, giant lizards, pirates, airships and wild adventure. The Bookman is the first of a series."

The Doomsday Vault by Steven Harper-

"In a clockwork Brittania, Alice's prospects are slim. At 21, her age and her unladylike interest in automatons have sealed her fate as an undesirable marriage prospect. But a devastating plague sends Alice off in a direction beyond the pale-towards a clandestine organization, mad inventors, life-altering secrets, and into the arms of an intrepid fiddle-playing airship pilot."

there are "zombies" in it (more victims of a plague really) but they're very minimal and really don't have anything to do with the plot.


for better or worse the only steampunk i'm familiar with involves mad scientists at the very least lol.
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Old 02-09-2012, 09:13 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by vice-versa View Post
I want to try this genre and made some researches (particuliarly at goodreads) and ended up with "Infernal devices" by K W Jeter. I'm 25% through and though at first I thought there was no paranormal stuff, it seems to have curious inhabitants in it, not to say more (don't want to spoil the plot). Could anyone let out some recommandations without : zombies, vampires, or other "strange people" of that sort ? Or is it not possible to read steampunk litterature without them ? (I'd rather like a good one for a first time )
I thought the book was very well written. Mr Jeter's word skill is excellent. Very Victorian-like.
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Old 02-10-2012, 12:29 AM   #7
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Phoenix Rising by Tee Morris. Superb book on sale I think for .99
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Old 02-10-2012, 12:56 AM   #8
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thank you for your suggestions I'll have a look and will choose one for a start. As for the K W Jeter's book, in fact it's very pleasantly written, that's not what "bothers" me, but the "strange people" that populates it
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Old 02-10-2012, 02:07 AM   #9
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Cool Tales of the Ketty Jay

In addition to Retribution Falls by Chris Wooding also read The Black Lung Captain and The Iron Jackal, both also by Chris Wooding. They are collectively called Tales of the Ketty Jay.
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Old 02-10-2012, 05:12 AM   #10
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Phoenix Rising by Tee Morris. Superb book on sale I think for .99
That was a pretty good book! Not the best in the steampunk genre, but I am looking forward to the next in the series. I also recommend:
  • The Half-Made World by Felix Gilman
  • The Mortal Engines series by Phillip Reeve
  • The Native Star by M.K. Hobson
  • The Thirteenth Child by Patricia Wrede
  • Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

They are either Supernatural Westerns or Dystopian London. What can I say, I'm not very adventurous in my reading taste. Great topic though, I'm always looking for steampunk without close ties to Urban Fantasy or Paranormal.
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Old 02-10-2012, 03:04 PM   #11
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windup Girl seems ok, no zombie, magician, superpowered people or likewise
Mainspring, staring "Archangel Gabriel"
Perdido Street Station with magic inside and people half human, half animal
Retribution Falls this one also seems ok (though I wonder what is a golem or what part dameons are playing in it...)
Boneshaker provided whith zombies
The Bookman, with giant lizards manhandling the controls (ooch, is it really "man"handling )
The Doomsday Vault : under zombie attack
Phoenix Rising this one seems ok
The black lung Captain : "a remote island, populated by giant beasts and subhuman monsters"
The Iron Jackal : "murderous daemons, psychopathic golems"
The Half-Made World by Felix Gilman : seems ok
The Mortal Engines series by Phillip Reeve seems ok but depressing
The Native Star by M.K. Hobson : the heroine is a witch
The Thirteenth Child by Patricia Wrede :"an amazing new trilogy about the use of magic in the wild, wild west"
Neverwhere : a quasi-mystical world that coexists and yet can't be seen by "London Above"

As I see it, it will be difficult to find more than one or two in this genre for me to read... I'll choose one that seems ok then perhaps will I find more of this vein. Anyway, thank you everyone to have made propositions
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Old 02-11-2012, 04:35 AM   #12
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I found Mainspring to be very good. I can't remember paranormal elements per se, but it might have been a detail I've forgotten.

I think Steampunk often employs the bizarre. So it can be difficult to find something without those outside-of-normal aspects.

Our own MR author, Lindsay Buroker has produced some Steampunk that has less of the paranormal than some others. But there is still some elements there:

http://www.lindsayburoker.com/fantasy-novels/

I find Lindsay's writing quite good myself, so I believe it's worth a look.
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Old 02-11-2012, 06:02 AM   #13
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Thank you very for your answer so if I'm too read steampunk I'll have to deal whith paranormal and "bizarre". At least, I'll know it. I'll try to finish "Infernal devices" and see if I try an other one
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Old 02-11-2012, 10:30 AM   #14
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[...]
The Mortal Engines series by Phillip Reeve seems ok but depressing
[...]
I would not call it depressing but rather dark. Although it is labeled YA the stops are taken out, important charcters might really do bad things or be killed. However when reading I nevertheless had the impression of a "everything (well, actually not all of it but the most important part) will kind of end well"-story.

Highly recommended. (All 4 novels of the original series.)
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Old 02-11-2012, 11:41 AM   #15
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There are a few steampunk anthologies which might be way to sample various authors.

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