Hi everyone! This is our final steampunk post from Maeve Alpin this month. She’s provided lots of suggestions for reading. If you’ve been enjoying this posts as much as I have I encourage you to let Maeve know and to check out her website. Thanks, Maeve!!
Steampunk Quips and Tips by Maeve Alpin
I had a blast at Comicpalooza in Houston Texas and I’ve included photos taken there of ladies and gents in their finest Steampunk costumes. Also at Comicpalooza, Delphine Dryden, (the author of the Steampunk Epic nominated novella The Lamplighter’s Love and the Steam and Seduction series from Berkley), and I discussed the variety of the genre at our Steampunk Tips and Quips panel. Writers and readers, take a look at Seampunk. Readers, you may find your favorite book or writers, you may find this genre fits your writing voice.
My individual definition on Steampunk is: Historical/sci-fi based on the idea of the technological revolution and the Industrial revolution happening together.
Delphine’s definition is: Alternate history with a Victorian-era feel in which gas-powered technology never achieved primacy. Instead, steam power, clockwork, and other technologies involving various batteries and lesser-known devices like the Stirling engine, were further developed and refined to meet those same needs.
It’s considered that the genre began with authors, James Blaylock, K.W. Jeter and Tim Powers. As students at Cal State Fullerton, they read Victorian and Edwardian literature. In the mid 1980’s,they all lived fifteen minutes from each other, and would meet in a bar called O’Hara’s in Orange California. They drank beer, critiqued each other’s work and shared ideas. The term Steampunk is attributed to K. W. Jeter from a letter he sent to The Science Fiction Magazine, Locus, which they printed in their April 1987 issue.
Here’s a tidbit of that letter: “Personally, I think Victorian fantasies are going to be the next big thing, as long as we can come up with a fitting collective term for Powers, Blaylock and myself. Something based on the appropriate technology of the era; like “steampunks”, perhaps…”
That was in the 1980’s. After the turn of the century, here in the 21st century, Steampunk blended into cross genres, such as Steampunk/Romance dear to my heart and Delphine’s. A cross genre that’s about four years old. So, even though Steampunk has been around since the 80’s these cross genres are brand new.
Steampunk Erotica Romance – sometimes called Steamypunk
Young Adult Steampunk
Cowpunk – also called Westernpunk or Deadwood or Weird West
Some common point plots and elements of Steampunk are:
Gadgets, inventions, or plots that give a nod to the work of Jules Verne and H. G. Wells, including space travel, time travel, cannons, rockets, and underwater submarines or cities. Other elements are airship pirates, mad scientists, cogs gears and clockwork, wonder kids, robots, paranormal creatures – usually vampires and werewolves – created by or tied to technology, hot air balloons and Zeppelins, alternate history, alternate universes, dystopian societies, secret societies, city states, egyptology, flying cities, weird secret schools, nitroglycerin, and social mores. So there’s quite a variety of adventure elements for writers to draw from when plotting.
Here are some suggestions for books in Steampunk cross genres.
Westernpunk or Cowpunk :
Owl Dance by David Lee Summers
This is a tale of Sheriff Ramon Morales and the healer, Fatemeh Karimi and their adventures with everything from clockwork wolves to submariner pirates and Russian Airships.
Iron Guns, Blazing Hearts by Heather Massey
Violet Whitcomb is resigned to a fate of academic pursuits –working alongside her renowned scientist father, until a fateful trip across the American frontier changes everything. A rogue inventor known as the Iron Scorpion kidnaps Violet’s father and she alone is left to plan his rescue.
The Alchemy of Desire by Crista McHugh
Part Wild West and part Wild, Wild West, the book’s about two brothers on a quest to find the White Buffalo while a gang of bad guys with steam-powered inventions is hot on their trail as well as a woman who has her own agenda for them.
Bone Shaker by Cherie Priest and Dead Iron by Devon Monk also fall into this category and I loved both of them.
My favorite Steampunk vampire stories are from the Young adult Greyfriar series by Clay and Susan Griffith, beginning with Vampire Empire. They are set in an alternate world where vampires have taken over.
I’ve read and recommend George Mann’s The Osiris Ritual, which is an amazing Steampunk murder mystery about mummies and magic. Also Gail Carrigner’s Parasol Protectorete series is a paranormal mystery series that is a must read for any Steampunk fans. Clockwork Heart by Dru Pagliassotti is also a well-known and well-recommended Steampunk Romance Mystery.
Steampunk Horror/Dark Fantasy:
The Dark Seeds by LM Fields
This is a post-apocalyptic story set in our possible future when the New World Order’s final agenda meets the Book of Revelations. In the first book, Crows Hill, discover the extraordinary lengths some are willing to go through for freedom.
The Vampires Code by Brian N. Young
John Malcolm and Lieutenant Ledbetter, now part of the Shadow Society of Vampire Hunters, must undergo their first missions in Europe amidst the Prussian War and uncover earth-shaking conspiracies and awful technologies that will threaten Mankind. What they find is more disturbing than what they experienced in Indian Territory and they can’t go back.
Ghosts by Gaslight edited by Jack Dann and Nick Gevers
Peter Beagle’s, Music, When Soft Voices Die, which is thrilling, and Terry Dowling’s Egyptian themed horror tale, The Shaddowwes Box, which will haunt my mind for a long time, are just two of the frightful Steampunk ghost stores in this anthology. I highly recommend it to Steampunk horror and dark fantasy lovers.
Tim Powers’ Anubis Gates fits into this cross genre and it is an incredible read – if you haven’t read it you should. I also recommend Cold Magic by Kate Elliot, which is also multicultural Steampunk. In New Blood by Gail Dayton, with Jax’s help, Amanusa discovers she is a blood sorceress at a time in their world when magic is dying out due to their ruthless enemies, strange mechanical creatures. The Witches of Chiswick by Robert Rankin, is a wild Steampunk romp through time. I loved it.
There are so many. Four I would highly recommend are:
Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
Innocent Darkness by Suzanne Lazear
Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
World Shaker by Richard Harland
A transmogrification machine hunt, takes Robert Cleme Sntyne to a steampunk themed bowling alley/museum where he meets the proprietor/curator…Emily Babcock. Emily grew up in crazy, still lives in it—hey, it’s her freaking zip code. So no worries when Robert and his team walk into her bowling alley, the first visitors ever to her museum. But neither of them is prepared for what happens when they open the door to the past…and the future.
To Love A London Ghost by Maeve Alpin
Walk on the wild side of Victorian London with the ghost and the ghost hunter. They are on a mission through the bustling narrow streets of London, to a dreary match factory, and even to the Otherworld and back, to stop a genius scientist and his phantasm debilitater machine. The ghost and the ghost hunter also seek the secret to freeing the boundaries of life and death.
Phoenix Rising by Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris
This is a fun read, a great Steampunk spy adventure and it includes automations and a secret society. I’m deeply in love with Wellington Books – A hero librarian or as he prefers—archivist.
Steampunk Erotica Romance:
The Lamplighter’s Love by Delphine Dryden
Nicholas, the lamplighter, operates a machine which controls the lights of London: drawbridges, lamplights, stoplights, factory whistles, the synchronized chiming of the clock towers, and all the other systems which keep the city going. As his apprentice of several years, Mary formed a friendship with Nicholas. He is now retiring, and as a master lamplighter herself, Mary has a chance to be the next Lamplighter. This is a fascinating steampunk romance. The characters are fleshed out, endearing, and loveable. I highly recommend The Lamplighter’s Love.
Asher’s Invention by Coleen Kwan
When Minerva Lambkin’s father is kidnapped, she must turn to her former fiancé and inventor, Asher, for help. Can they rebuild their fragile relationship in time to save her father and their future together? This is a charming Steampunk/erotica/romance novella.
Kilts and Kraken, Steam and Sorcery, and Photographs and Phantoms by Cindy Spencer Pape
These books in her Gaslight Chronicle series are about knights of the order of the round table, who use magick and the technologies of steam power to fight human and supernatural monsters.
Love in a Time of Steam by Elizabeth Darvill
This Steampunk/Erotica/Romance novella is a sexy, fast paced, action packed adventure set on another planet with humanoids, very much like us, a hot, hunk of a hero and a kick-ass heroine.
Wilder’s Mate by Moria Rogers
Wilder Harding is a hot, western hero. He’s a paranormal being, a bloodhound, created by the Guild to hunt down and kill vampires on the America’s frontier. His latest assignment is to rescue a weapons inventor from vampires and he has to get the help of the victim’s pretty young apprentice, Satira. Their steamy encounters heat up the pages of this fun, fast paced read.
Mechanical Rose by Nathalie Gray
Leeford Gunn is working on an invention with the potential to start an arms race and spy Eleanor Clevelry goes undercover to persuade him to halt his research before his work falls into the hands of the evil engineer, Aloysius Spark. The tone of the dialogue and the vivid descriptions create a Victorian ambiance in this charming, steampunk erotic romance story with lots of steamy love scenes. Fun characters and a fun read.
Airship Seduction by Rhys Camryn This is a hot steampunk werewolf romance novella. It’s an intriguing tale with strong fleshed out characters. I highly recommend it.
The Steam and Shimmy series by Michelle Kopra
This series is a hot fun read about an airship full of spies who pose as a belly dancing troupe.
Conquistadors In Outer Space by Maeve Alpin
This story, in an alternative setting of 1610, is about forbidden love… so strong… it spans the universe.
Maeve Alpin, who also writes under the name of Cornelia Amiri, is the author of 18 romance books. You can find her on her webpage http://maevealpin.com and facebook https://www.facebook.com/MaeveAlpin and twitter https://twitter.com/MaeveAlpin