Stephenson, Neal, “The Diamond Age: Or, a Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer” – I like Neal Stephenson, but this was not one of the books of his I really really liked. I include it here because many consider it steampunk. I agree. But it did get pretty weird towards the end.
Moore, Alan, “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Vol 1” – Steampunk? I say yes. Skip the movie and get this book instead.
Dahlquist, Gordon, “The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters, Volume One” and “The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters, Volume Two” – I know that some people do not like these, but I do. I enjoyed the action and the strange settings. Was my first introduction to an overlapping POV – Character A would see Character B and a later chapter would have Character B seeing Character A and continuing the action from that new POV. I thought it was pretty neat. The other book that I have seen this done in, and I also enjoyed, was Ian McDonald’s “River of Gods.”
Valentino, Nick, “Thomas Riley” – Action and adventure and barely time to catch your breath. This is Nick’s first novel and suffers a bit from that. I met him at Gen Con in 2010 and his enthusiasm was so inspiring that I had to pick up the novel. I am looking forward to the next installment of this planned series.
Sterling, Bruce, and Gibson, William, “The Difference Engine” – This is just one of those classic books you have to read. Thoroughly enjoyed it. It was steampunk without really hitting you over the head about it. So well written that I felt like I was there.
Jeter, K.W., “Infernal Devices” – Yet another classic. Jeter was the one who coined the term “Steampunk.” This is a first person account of a man who inherits and watchshop and gets sucked into a broader plot. It was a fun, quick read. A must read for the steampunk aficionado.
Resnick, Mike, “The Buntline Special” – A Weird West re-telling of the Gunfight at O.K. Corral. I enjoyed the dialog but felt that the Steampunk and Weird were mostly there for looks. I thought it was a well researched, well implemented story that suffered from sticking too close to the historical accounts. I enjoyed it, but wished it was better. Looking forward to his next book “The Doctor and the Kid.”
NON-Steampunk Stories (But equally fun!)
Brown, Mark David, “Fistful of Reefer” – Fun action adventure tale with interesting, believable and diverse characters. It is a story about friendship, good guys, bad guys, lost races, orphans, contraband, hypocrisy, forgiveness and redemption set against a backdrop of a Saturday morning western. The only thing missing is the Morricone soundtrack.
Burke, Neil Michael, “The Good, The Bad, and The Dead” – The key element to any zombie literature is the question that must be posed by the author: “Of whom should you be the most afraid – the unthinking, predictable zombies or the desperate living struggling to survive by their wits.” Neil takes this question and drops it into the most controversial conflict in the history of the United States: the Civil War. North versus South, Brother versus Brother, and now… Living versus Undead. The characters are interesting and the opportunities for conflict and strained cooperation are limitless. I am looking forward to the next installment.