Steampunk challenge



The Steampunk Challenge is over, but feel free to add links to steampunk book reviews. For a recap go here



What is Steampunk? According to the New Oxford American Dictionary the sub-genre Steampunk is

a genre of science fiction that typically features steam-powered machinery rather than advanced technology.

I have been wanting to try out steampunk for a while now and recently read one story which I quite liked. So now I’m on to explore a bit more and it seems there are more people out there who want to get to know this genre better.

You want to read steampunk, share your opinion and reviews with like minded people? You want to get recommendations from others because you have no idea where to begin? Join the steampunk challenge and share the experience!

The challenge runs from October to October and there are no obligations other than to have fun discovering a genre and let other participants know about what you find.

You can sign up here with Mr. Linky. Once the challenge has started I will create another page for review links or other blog posts related to Steampunk. Also, your reading recommendations are more than welcome. 

I’m looking forward to this challenge and to a fun and “steamy” twelve months!

It seems I killed my Mister Linky. Please sign up in the comments and leave your name and blog URL. 


  1. Absolutely! I’m signing up too! I still am not quite sure what exactly it is, so I need recommendations. Carin’s book sounds good, but my library doesn’t have it (yet), so I need some older recommendations too.

    OK, I did say I wasn’t going to do any more challenges, so I will am for just 3 books. If I do get enamored by the genre, I can always up my goal.

    • Steampunk can be hard to identify without looking at a list before hand, they don’t scream off the shelves the way some other types of books do.

      I am reading Boneshaker this month so I won’t be able to use it for the challenge.

      Westerfeld’s Leviathan series is steampunk.

      Philip Reeve has two steampunk series Larklight and Mortal Engines.

      William Gibson is best known for his cyberpunk works but quite a few of his books are steampunk as well. I believe The Difference Engine is.

      There are other great books out there too. I will get back to you if no one else has great suggestions. Which I am sure they will.

    • The Windup Girl is only $9.99 at The Book Depository! :)

      Leviathan by Scott Westerfield is supposed to be good as is Soulless by Gail Carriger. Those are two I have on my list. Also, Boneshaker by Cherie Priest is on my list.

      Here’s a list from Wikipedia.

  2. Thanks Carin for letting me know about this challenge. Oh? The Windup Girl is steampunk?? *Learn something new every day* I have only a handful of steampunk books on my to read list, but I could use reading a few more. I am not a huge fan of the subgenre so this will definitely be a challenge, but I am excited too.

  3. On my amazon wishlist are already a few books.
    I want to read that Parasol Protectorate series (or at least the first book) by Gail Carriger. I think Soulless is the first, if I’m not mistaken. But I think this is some mix between paranormal romance and steampunk.
    Leviathan, yes, and then two Anthologies to give me an idea what is out there.
    Also John tells me Michael Moorcock is the father of steampunk. I think we have quite a bit by him already on our shelves.
    And then there is Stephen Hunt, I love the covers, but the reviews are so so.
    Carin, I have The Windup Girl there, too.

    @Judith: No obligations to do a certain number of books. We all read how many we want.

    @Megan: I’m glad you joined. You seem to know quite a bit about it already.

  4. I’ve wondered this for a few years now: Would Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin be considered steampunk in a loose sense? It’s magical realism that spans across the 18oo’s, 1900’s and the current era, with a character that is transported magically from the late 1800’s to the 1980’s. He works on the giant old printing presses in a newspaper company in New York, because he is the only person that knows how to make them work.

  5. I’m in! But I’m also going to need some suggestions. I do have one…Kenneth Oppel’s Airborn series. The first two books were AMAZING! The last one was a little strange but still a fun read.

  6. Maybe this will help me get through my Steampunk TBR pile.
    So far I’ve been storing:
    Steampunk by Ann VanderMeer and Jeff VanderMeer
    The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack (Burton & Swinburne in) by Mark Hodder
    The Affinity Bridge (Newbury & Hobbes Investigations) by George Mann
    Steamed: A Steampunk Romance by Katie MacAlister
    Blameless by Gail Carriger

    • I will come up with another smaller button tonight. No problem! Thanks for joining! Please don’t forget to sign up with Mr. Linky, so we all know who to visit and where.

  7. This is going to be a good reading year. Thanks to everybody who joined so far.

    I will create a special page where we can link to our reviews and another one with reading suggestions, so we have all recommendations in one spot we can always come back to.

  8. Just offering my reading list from my research on steampunk. It contains most of the steampunk books published before this summer. I haven’t updated it recently enough to include books like Dreadnought by Cherie Priest or Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld. You’ll also find my top ten steampunk works listed there as well.

    • Mike, thanks for showing up here. I had a look at your blog and will add it to the recom. page. Seems you know what there is to know about steampunk, whereas a lot of us (or at least I am) a total newbie.
      So your help is greatly appreciated.

      • Thanks Rikki. I haven’t read it all, but I’m at around forty books read and still many to go. I like to think of myself as the librarian or archivist as opposed to expert, but thanks for the kudo.

  9. I have just finished Soulless (Gail Carriger) and am now reading Boneshaker (C M Priest)
    I have the rest of the Parasol Protectorate to go! Also read Extroardinary Engines this summer (Steampunk anthology)
    I started reading William Gibson’s Difference Engine, but the font was too small!

    Do audiobooks count? I enjoyed George Mann’s Affinity Bridge, but I wasn’t over enamoured with Windup Girl – I thought it was OK, but maybe not suited to listening too

    • Audio books count, of course. I’m not a big fan of them, but I don’t see any reason why they wouldn’t be allowed. Besides, I don’t like challenges to be restrictive anyway.
      Everybody read or listen to their hearts content.

  10. Woohoo for more people reading Steampunk!

    I see Mike Perschon’s already posted here — he reads more Steampunk than anyone else I know, and his suggestions are always spot-on.

    For the YA folks, you can’t go wrong with Oppel’s Airborn or Arthur Slade’s Hunchback Assignments; and I highly suggest The Alchemy of Stone and Whitechapel Gods for the folks who want to go on the darker side of the genre.

    I wouldn’t call Michael Moorcock the father of Steampunk, but only because his alternate history story series (A Nomad of the Time Streams is the collection) came roughly at the same time as Harry Harrison’s “A Transatlantic Tunnel, Hurrah!” and both are written in the sci-fi traditions of Jules Verne and H.G. Wells.

    If you want a direct ancestor of the genre, I’d go with the Verne/Wells one-two punch more than anything. And then add the Tim Powers/James Blaylock/K.W. Jeter trifecta from the 1980s into the mix.

    But that’s me. :)

    • Hey Matthew, thanks for coming here. I’m glad some steampunk lovers are showing up here. I will add your blog and your recommendations to the link list on the recom. page. I@m sure it will be a great ressource.
      The more we learn about the genre, the better.

  11. I’m looking forward to:

    Dreadnought by Cherie Priest, sequel to Boneshaker
    Sapphique (YA) by Catherine Fisher, sequel to Incarceron.
    Behemoth (YA) by Scott Westerfeld, sequel to Leviathan.

    Like MisterG, I wasn’t wholly enamoured with Bacigalupi’s Windup Girl, although I thoroughly enjoyed his YA novel Shipbreaker.

    Others on the list:

    Affinity Bridge, George Mann
    Soulless, Gail Carriger

  12. I’m signing up to the steampunk challenge. Great idea. Hope I find a years worth to read, though, as I’ve been reading steampunk already for a couple of years!

    • Jean, I’m sure you will be able to give good recommendations since you’ve been reading steampunk already. A lot of us are fairly or altogether new to it. Thanks for joining.

  13. Great challenge!

    I have read all 3 of the Parasol Protectorate books (first two over summer vacation, third over Labor Day weekend)–they’re just delightful!

    I agree w/ @Mike Perschon: The Affinity Bridge was OK, but a bit grating in spots (over-emphasis on action at the expense of character + coherent plot development IMO) and had the same problem with the Osiris Ritual. I’ll echo @Matthew Delman with the Tim Powers recommendation (The Anubis Gates).

    Shipbreaker was AMAZING. Loved it. Looking forward to further adventures.

    Can we get a discussion going on The Windup Girl?

    I almost picked up The Strange Affair of Spring-Heeled Jack @ Borders in Chicago when I went for William Gibson’s signing of his new book Zero History but picked up a steampunk reader (whose title escapes me presently).

    What a great challenge! Will add the button to my blog!

    ONE NOTE: Would you please add Bruce Sterling’s name to your listing for The Difference Engine? He’s William Gibson’s co-author on the book.

  14. I will update the recom. list tonight and add all the books mentioned. I’m sure this will take some time, wow, I’m totally made up about how many people responded. Awesome!

    I don’t see why we can’t get a discussion going about any book we like. Either on one of the blogs who post a review during the course of the challenge or we will figure out something else.
    Thanks for spreading the word about the challenge.
    I’ll add the co-author to The Difference engine to the book later today, too. Thanks for pointing this out.

  15. I edit Exhibition Hall, a Steampunk fanzine, which does review of new and older Steampunk novels in just about every issue (October will feature Blameless, The Osiris Ritual and Steampunk Prime, along with Dreadnaught, if I can finish it fast enough). is the link.

    I also recommend three books to anyone who hasn’t read a lot of Steampunk: Perdido Street Station, The Anubis Gates and Souless.

    • Chris, thanks for coming here and linking us to the fanzine. I added the link and the books you mentioned to the recommendations page.

  16. Psyched. I read Perdido Street Station b4 all the Steampunk hoopla and have always and since considered China Mievelke to be THE seminal Steampunk writer par excellence. I really didn’t get as into Wind Up Girl before it’s duedate at my local library here. I thought I’d really like it based on the summaries everywhere and the excerpted segment on a new Thai cloned fruit/vegetable. I started getting drifty after that with book in hand. I am, however, recently notoriously shy of an attention span lately. Im sure others will be alluding to Perdido Street and I’d like some new reads but I’m not a Coghead in terms of being overwhelmed by exemplars of this au-courant genre-fiction (etc.) I like good strong literature first, genre is secondary to me. Perdido Street stood on it’s own. In general, excepting late work by Margaret Atwood (post-apocalyptic stuff) and Jeanette Winterson (Post-Apocalyptic stuff) and Jules Verne ALWAYS I’m not much of a Fantasist really. It should be a Steampunk Challenge 4 me indeed 😉

    • Liz, thanks for joining. Perdidi Street Station seems to get very good reviews indeed. I think I will definitely put this on my reading llist.

  17. I recommend the short story anthology, The Shadow Conspiracy:

    The first story is a retelling of Mary Shelley’s summer of Frankenstein, only the “monster” is real. Each story builds on that in unexpected ways involving automatons, zombies, etc., and explore the ideas of creation and “soul.”

    The book is only available as electronic download (in all formats) but is written by published, award-winning science fiction authors.

  18. I’m definitely in! I’ve already read 3 or 4 steampunk books this year & I’m planning to read a lot more! I was just wondering will there be goals in the challenge or we can read as many as we like! I already know what my first book will be: “Thomas Riley” by Nick Valentino! 😉 Here’s my blog so you can sign me up – I’ll do a post later :) Thanks for hosting :)

    • Thanks for joining, Aleksandra.
      No there are no goals other than exploring the genre and sharing our reviews with the others. I want this challenge to be low-key without pressure.

    • Thanks, Adam, for pointing us to your website. I will add the link to the recom. page. I’m sure we all appreciate a free read…Thanks!

    • Thanks for the link and for spreading the word. Please, don’t forget to also link us up to your reviews on the challenge reviews page so we can all go and have a look.

  19. Found out about your steampunk challenge from, A Little Bookish…

    I haven’t read any steampunk yet, but I’ve been considering The Parasol Protectorate series for awhile now.

    Here’s my blog URL:

    I’m make a post about the challenge early next week and add your button….

    Great idea for a challenge… I’m psyched, especially with all the great recommendations.

    • Debbie, thanks for joining. Yes, the Parasol Protectorate series in also on my TBR list. I went and ordered Soulless today, as well as an anthology to get a little overview.

  20. This is perfect! Please add me to your list! I am rewarding myself for getting my graduate assignments done on time by interspersing Steampunk literature 😀 Strange, I know, but it makes sense for an English major that loves this genre!

    I already have my review up for Boneshaker (loved it!) on my blog:

    I can’t wait to add more reviews! And if I can figure out how to add the button, I will add that as well (still new to blogging….babysteps!)

    • Maria, thanks for joining. The challenge as a reward, that is a good reason to do it.
      Please leave the link to your review on the reviews page, so everybody can find it easily.
      I noticed that you have Thomas Riley next on your list. Somebody else mentioned that book here as well.

      For the button, all you need to do is copy the code underneath the button and paste it into your sidebar where you would like to have it. However, I am not familiar with LJ at all, so I’m not sure if it is that easy.

  21. I have been wanting to read me some Steampunk! LOL! This is a good reason for me to get started. Soulless was the book recommended most to me by my steampunk-reading friends, so The Parasol Protectorate series will be a must for me. I also have Westerfield’s Leviathan (although the heft of it is rather intimidating!) on my to-buy/to-read/wishlist. I like the fact that it stretches over a year, so that I can read them at my leisure. I think I will also re-read The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. :)

    Thanks for the challenge!

    • Julie, thanks for joining.
      The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is lying on my bedside table. After two pages I stopped reading. Graphic novels are just not for me even though I would really like to like them.

      • I always thought that Boneshaker would make a great graphic novel!

        On the downside I managed to splash tea on my copy of Blameless. Ho hum; I’m sure Gail Carriger will forgive me as it was tea, and not coffee

  22. Reading this thread has convinced me to finally try Leviathan. I’ve read the Carriger series and liked it a lot so far. I’d love to have titles for some more “fun” steampunk rather than dark/serious.

    So please, make suggestions!

    • I am wondering about this. Is steampunk mostly the dark stuff or is there some fun as well. I agree with you, I’m hoping to get some fun recommendations as well.

  23. I am going to start with Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld. I have been wanting to read this for awhile. I am an avid world war history buff, so this is right up my alley!

  24. Great, our little group is growing! I am going to post a list of participants with links to their blogs soon, just waiting a few more days until end of September.

  25. I’m in. I’ve already started my reading but haven’t published my first review. Will wait until after Oct. 1.

    Here’s my list.

    I’ve split my reading into what I consider to be the three main periods of Steampunk(-ish) literature. Scientific Romance (written before 1917) | Formative Steampunk (1972-2003) | Self-Conscious Steampunk (2000 – Present) If anyone knows if there is any Steampulp (1918 – 1971) out there, I would love to know.

    • Seems like your steampunk reading plans fit well with the challenge. You have already planned your reading list, that’s great. I will just go with the flow and see what sounds like something I might like.

      Hey, if you have some reviews ready to post, just go ahead. Some people have already started linking to theirs.

  26. Woohoo!

    Dreadnought by Cherie Priest is out! Still reading Boneshaker, but I can’t wait. In fact, I don’t need to … it’s on Audible and I haven’t used up this month’s credit yet!

  27. Sounds like a great idea. Have read Boneshaker and have enjoyed alot! Many ideas floating around in my head regarding Steampunk. Have no website.

  28. Beth, yes, let me know if you decide to sign up. That would be great.

    David, I will add your name to the list. Are you on Goodreads or Shelfari maybe? That way you could still review and let us know about it.

    BijouxIce, thanks for joining up.

  29. I’d like to sign up! I’ve read Leviathan and the Soulless series, and I’m looking forward to reading more steampunk. Boneshaker is next on my list but I’d like to find others.

    • I have got to read the Cherie Priest books in this challenge. I’ve had Boneshaker on my virtual TBR list for a year. I’m glad that her second book is supposed to be awesome. :)

        • Well, it is not really necessary to have either, it would just be nice to see what participants are reading and you can leave reviews there etc.
          It all depends on what you like better. Opinions are divided, I personally have both but prefer Goodreads, others like the look and the groups of Shelfari better. I’d have a look around and see which speaks more to you.
          When you have decided what you want to do, let me know so I can add your user to the list of participants, ok?

  30. Is it too late to sign up? I must admit that I know next to nothing about steampunkery but was perusing the internet looking for a suggested reading list when I stumbled upon this. I’d really really love to participate, I’m trying to write a kids story which I want to be steam-punkishly inspired and wanted to do some due diligence before I really got into the illustrations.
    I hope I’m not too late!

    • No, it’s not too late at all. We are not that strict here. I’ll add you to the participants’ list, Michelle. Welcome!

  31. I would like to sign up please. I have an idea for a steampunk story which would differ from the norm, in that instead of being Victorian, I would set in the time and place which invented the first steam engine, Ancient Greece, who invented the “aeolipile”, the first steam engine, although they saw it just as a toy – not in my story they don’t.

    Also, I’d like to recommend some stories to the list. Bryan Talbot has created a series of graphic novels set in a steampunk world. The first was “Grandville”. The second, coming out in December, is “Grandville Mon Amour”.

    • Welcome, Ian, I added you to the list with your twitter handle. Steampunk in Ancient Greece, that seems to be unusual. I had to google the aeolipile, you are right, the first steam engine in its broadest sense was invented by an Ancient Greek. I suppose the geographical setting would be Egypt then?

      I added your reading recommendation to the list as well. Thank you!

  32. Hi! I would love to enter this challenge! I have been interested in this genre for a while, but now have the timespace to actively learn more, and do more research, and hopefully come up with some kick- ass illustrations! Thanks.

      • No blog, at least for now, and any chance you could post a link w/ info. onb how to subscribe to become a member of either of the said groups? I am new to this site, and would like to dive in head first. Thanks.

        • I am now a Goodreads member, Than k you rikki, and as soon as I have something to blog about, I’ll post a link to my acct.

          • Ah, good, so you figured it out, Sara. Do you want to give me your GR username, so I can add you to my friends list?

  33. I’m doing Steampunkery in November on my blog and will be reading/ reviewing/ giving away/ featuring (the list goes on) all things Steampunk! So I plan to read several! I have at least 10 sitting here waiting for me!

    • That sounds great, Candace. Maybe you could let me know when your Steampunk activities start so I can add you to the link list then.

  34. I’d also love to see the list compiled! I haven’t had a chance to get into Steampunk literature, but spend a lot of time making steampunk jewelry, so it would be great to read more fiction about it!

  35. Hi there, I’d like to participate. Actually my first book for the challenge is already in the works. I’m currently listening to Leviathan.

    Great idea, thanks for organizing.

  36. Hi there I’d really like to participate. I want to read Clockwork Angel by Clarisse Clare. And I want to finish reading Angel of the Revolution byt George Griffith written in 1893. It seems very much like steampunk so I want to compare it to what we have today.

  37. Hi, I’d love to join the challenge. I just found out about it through another blog (Huff’s Much Madness is Divinest Sense) and I’m really excited to read some Steampunk lit. I am a high school English teacher and I am always on the lookout for books to bring into my classroom. I am even toying with the idea of a Steampunk unit or elective class…

    Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Hi Kristin, welcome.

      All the newcomers without a blog. Have you got a GR or Shelfari account where you post your reviews? If so, please let me know so I can add them to the list.

  38. I would love to join in the fun!
    I’ve been out of the steampunk loop for about a year now and can’t wait to jump back in with this challenge! I’m hoping this will inspire me to get my prolepsis project restarted.

    • Hi December, welcome.
      Glad you are getting back into it again. Oh, btw. this challenge doesn’t give a number of books, everybody reads as many or as few as they want. Read one or read a hundred. It’s totally up to you. :)

      • I’ll shoot for 100. I’m a big reader (you’ll never find me without at least one book…or three…in my purse) so this shouldn’t be a problem.
        I’m looking forward to it with my first review posted on my blog for The Court of the Air…however, I kinda suck with reviews unless I don’t like the book then I suddenly have the ability to rip it apart…verbally I mean.

  39. How do you keep track of what we read? I honbestly am not a blogger and I don’t read blogs; can I just post the books here when I’m done?

    • Well, originally I thought we’d all link to our reviews on the reviews page, but there seem to be some people who either post their reviews on Goodreads or Shelfari (that’s why I added the username where necessary) or they don’t post reviews at all.
      In that case I suggest you just post a comment on the reviews page that you read a book and maybe your thoughts on it.

    • Hi Christine, welcome. Quite a coincidence to meet you here. I saw your novella available on netgalley just a couple of days ago and thought that it might be something for me, I read a lot of m/m and it is Steampunk as well.
      I think I will have to get it.
      Oh, btw, not at all too late to sign up, of course.

  40. Time to get a GoodReads account and give you the user name!


    I’ve put a couple of short reviews up (Soulless et al, Boneshaker, Difference Engine) and rated a few others. I will update the rated ones with proper reviews later

  41. Hey there…^^
    I just stumbled upon your challenge and I’m, to say the least, thrthrthr…thrilled and pretty eager to get going xD
    So could you please add me to the list of participants?


    • Welcome, poodlerat. Your link doesn’t seem to work. Would you check, please. I’d like to add it to the list of participants. Thanks!

  42. as a school librarian in a middle school, i am wanting to learn move about this genre.
    students in grades 6-8 have enjoyed scott westerfields’s books and i would like to
    get more of the same for them.

  43. Mar, I am sure you will find lots of ideas for your students when you go to the reviews page.

    Laura, thanks for joining. I saw you have both Westrfield books on your TBR list. They are also sitting on my shelf waiting to be read.

  44. I am interested in the concept of “steampunk” but is the challenge that we READ a lot of them or WRITE one?


    Connie (Corcoran) Wilson, M.S.
    Authof of “Out of Time” (
    Hellfire & Damnation (www.HellfireandDamnationtheBook)
    It Came from the Seventies (nonfiction) –
    Ghostly Tales of Route 66 (www.GhostlyTales of Route 66)
    and the forthcoming “The Color of Evil” (

    • Connie, generally the challenge is for READERS who want to explore the genre, but we also have one or two people participating who WRITE, e.g. Ariel.
      The flash fiction writing contest was in addition to the reading challenge. So feel free to either read or write. But, in any case, let us know about it! :)

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