You've probably seen or read about people who dress up in steampunk clothing, but did you know where the genre originates from? It's inspired by the novels of writers like Jules Verne and HG Wells, and imagines a world where machines run on steam power. So if you haven't yet discovered the world of steampunk, here are some novels you should read - you'll soon become a steampunk convert!
1. The Time Machine - HG Wells
You've probably seen The War of the Worlds, which was based on a novel by early science-fiction writer HG Wells. He was also the author of The Time Machine, recently made into a movie starring Guy Pearce (there's also an earlier version). Time travel is a familiar topic for fiction these days, but when Wells wrote The Time Machine he came up with a new and imaginative concept.
2. Leviathan - Scott WestERfield
Here's a young adult novel that everyone can read; in fact, it's part of a trilogy. Leviathan takes the familiar First World War, and turns it into a conflict involving fantastic machinery and biomechanical creatures. The novel features a girl who disguises herself as a boy because women can't fight - something that did actually happen.
3. The Difference Engine - William Gibson
William Gibson has long been a favorite among fans of cyberpunk, a genre that has something in common with steampunk. In The Difference Engine Gibson imagines that the Industrial Revolution and the computer age collide, a century before computers became common (did you know that the first computer was invented in the 19th century?).
4. Steampunk! an Anthology of Fantastically Rich and Strange Stories
Why read one single steampunk story when you can read several? An anthology is always a good way to introduce yourself to a new genre of writing. It's also a great way to discover writers that you've never read before. So with 14 stories here, you'll have plenty of possibilities for adding to your book collection.
5. Boneshaker - Cherie Priest
We've all seen countless movies about scientists managing to destroy entire cities or even worlds when their experiments go wrong. Boneshaker mixes steampunk with the zombie genre. A 19th-century scientists invents a drill that goes horribly wrong, letting loose a gas that turns people into the living dead.
6. Mechanique: a Tale of the Circus Tresaulti - Genevieve Valentine
Since steampunk has a magical element about it, with machines that never existed, creating a steampunk circus seems strangely logical. Most novels in the genre take place in the 19th century, but Mechanique takes place in a post-apocalyptic future. This seems quite logical, given that in a post-apocalyptic setting people would have to reinvent technology with whatever they could get their hands on.
7. The Strange Affair of Spring-Heeled Jack - Mark Hodder
This is just the tip of the iceberg if you find yourself getting into the steampunk genre. Not only are there novels that are belatedly classified as steampunk, such as those by HG Wells, but there are also many new writers adding to the steampunk shelves. You could easily a new book every week, and read nothing else but steampunk, so try some of these exciting novels and let us know what you think. What is your favorite genre of literature, and why?