Celine’s Top 5 Steampunk Books

This post is courtesy of Celine.

First of all I’d like to thank Hannah for hosting a lovely feature and having me here today! Although I haven’t read all that many steampunk books, I love the mix between the semi-Victorian setting and the crazy inventions and fantasy elements. For me a good steampunk novel features an engaging adventure or mystery that keeps me at the edge of my chair. In compiling my top five I paid attention to also include some short stories, so if you’re new to the genre those are a great place to start.

Print1. Soulless by Gail Carriger

This one’s a no-brainer – you will find Ms Carriger in almost every list concerning steampunk books. Her Parasol Protectorate series, starting with Soulless, is full of amazing characters, interesting supernatural creatures and unexpected plot-twists. They will also satisfy the romance-lover, but won’t annoy the more plot-oriented reader.

111306862. The Strange Case of Finley Jayne by Kady Cross

I’m usually left feeling unsatisfied after reading a short story, but The Strange Case of Finley Jayne seems to be an exception to this. This novella was surprisingly detailed and engaging, and is a perfect introduction to the Steampunk Chronicles series. Recommended for the young-adult reader.

62859033. Retribution Falls by Chris Wooding

Air-ship pirates! Retribution Falls features a small crew of outcasts trying to carve a life for themselves. Adventure-orientated, this book contains a lot of chasing, fighting, and of course some drinking and bantering. Perfect for readers that like their fiction fast-paced with plenty of twists and secrets to keep them interested.

109541414. Flash Gold by Lindsay Buroker

Another short story, this one more adult. Flash Gold has just the right amount of romance, with it not overshadowing the plot of a woman trying to win a race while everyone seems to be working against her. This one is available for free on Amazon.

134555535. The Peculiar by Stefan Bachmann

The Peculiar is well, a highly peculiar story. It’s upper middle-grade reading level but the story is so layered and innovative that it’s perfectly capable to captivate adult readers as well. It mixes a gloomy London setting with a new take on fae. Less action-packed than my other recommendations, but very atmospheric and an engaging read nevertheless.

Hannah’s Note: If you can think of your top 5 steampunk books, please get in touch. I’d like to put together a must reads post at the end of the feature from your recommendations and still need more additions to this. Let me know!

Dahlquist Interview & Glass Books Giveaway

“If HBO are looking for a project to follow Game of Thrones, they need seek no further . . . an epic” - Scotsman

During Discovering Steampunk, I reviewed The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters by G.W. Dahlquist. A fantastic novel I’m still itching to read the sequels for. This time around, I had the opportunity to present a Q&A to Mr. Dahlquist himself. As well as this, Penguin have kindly offered to give away a copy of the book to a UK entrant! But without further ado, I present to you G.W. Dahlquist.

Welcome to the Clockwork Carnival! First of all, could you please tell us what steampunk is to you?

For me steampunk is a way of telling a certain kind of story more efficiently, of overlapping technological elements in a way that deepens a connection between our own time and one where certain social structures – government, industry, journalism – were probably more simply arranged.  I think that whenever a story is set – in the future or in the past or torqued by imagination – it’s still a story being told now, and for reasons that are all about the present.  For me, using steam technology and alchemically-based computer science was a way to talk about how virtual information challenges definitions of identity and experience.  Loading that kind of dislocation into an earlier time-frame makes those pressure points more visible, since we’re immediately aware when we see the past shift course.

Similarly, there’s a part of steampunk that celebrates a cultural diversity, that allows for a conglomeration of influences.  This feels very contemporary, but also speaks to the culture-collisions that ran throughout the society of 19th century imperial Europe.  This part is also for me where the sense of risk and danger comes in, as if these cultural collisions are chemical reactions whose result is always just a bit up in the air.

How did you come to incorporate steampunk into The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters?

Those elements came very naturally.  I hadn’t planned it out in so many words, but clearly a major element of the book hinged on speculative technology, and that meant pursuing an alternative view of science, and also that kind of darker attitude.  The book is something of a narrative layer cake, and there’s an element of pageantry – of scope – that accompanies the narrative, so there’s a dirigible, a panopticon, alchemical factories.  Equally, there’s a focus on the mechanical guts of the city: canals, tunnels, trains, prisons, and an awareness of its organic history, with new growth, retraction, and, more than anything, secrets.

 It is definitely a series that goes beyond merely ‘steampunk’, how would you define it?

I think it’s an adult adventure story, written now – which is to say that a more contemporary sensibility comes through as far as the violence, the corruption, and the erotic content.  I hope it’s an elegant book, and I don’t think there’s any profanity, but there’s a lot of adult material.  I always find it interesting how much popular entertainment – from the 19th century or now – basically pretends that all sorts of human behavior doesn’t exist, or only exists as a very manageable source of low comedy – when in fact those ‘low’ impulses drive a lot of what humans do, as individuals or nations.

I read a while ago that you based Glass Books on a dream you had, and dreams feature quite strongly in the story in one way or another. How did the ‘glass books’ come to be?

I was about to start a four week stint of jury duty in Manhattan, and the night before I had an odd dream about people being kidnapped, which took place is some very large and dark Victorian building, like a factory, or school, or a workhouse.  I was with a playwright friend of mine – someone who later on became something of a model for Doctor Svenson.  I didn’t remember the details of the dream so much as the mood, which was both extremely creepy and compelling – the search for these missing people had seemed very important.  This happened in the middle of a very cold winter, with ice storms that had left everything frozen, so that on breaks from the trial it was all but impossible to go out – so I stayed in the jury room and wrote, for weeks.  At first I thought this might be a play, since at the time I was solely a playwright, and I tried to make the story a monologue.  After a short time I decided that was impossible, and simply plunged ahead with prose.  I still don’t quite know how I made the jump from the dream’s inspiration – the whiff of Svenson – to a New World heiress getting jilted by her fiancé, but somehow I did, and just kept going.

You have quite a talent! Will there be any future novels from G.W. Dahlquist?

I’ve just published a new, short novel in the US for younger readers, called The Different Girl.  It’s a little like a sweeter Lord of the Flies-like story, almost a fable, with a science fiction edge, about an orphan living on a small tropical island with three other girls and two adult caretakers, whose lives change rather drastically when another girl from a very different part of the world washes up after a shipwreck.  And I’m just now finishing a new book, called Second Skin, that isn’t a direct sequel to The Different Girl, but which takes place in the same larger world of that book and casts some light on some of that book’s more mysterious elements.

Both of these books are different from The Glass Books – the language is more spare and the world more constrained – but I think there’s a similar thread of curiosity going through them both that I hope readers of the early books will enjoy.

A Taster & A Giveaway (UK)

You guys might be interested to hear that Penguin Books (UK) have recently re-released Glass Books of the Dream Eaters in e-book installments, the first of which is available as a free download. Definitely check that out to get a taster!

To win a copy of The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters, I’m afraid you’ll need to be a UK resident as this giveaway is being provided by Penguin UK. Simply fill in the Rafflecopter and cross your fingers. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Fascination of Steampunk

Steampunk lighterThis post is courtesy of Karin.

Have you ever wondered what Steampunk is exactly?

According to Wikipedia:

“Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction that typically features steam-powered machinery, especially in a setting inspired by industrialized Western civilization during the 19th century. Therefore, steampunk works are often set in an alternative history of the 19th century’s British Victorian era or American “Wild West”, in a post-apocalyptic future during which steam power has regained mainstream use, or in a fantasy world that similarly employs steam power. Steampunk perhaps most recognizably features anachronistic technologies or retro-futuristic inventions as people in the 19th century might have envisioned them, and is likewise rooted in the era’s perspective on fashion, culture, architectural style, and art.”

Steampunk is up and coming not only in the YA genre but all over the place. Since 2009 many great  Steampunk series such as Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate novels (Soulless, Changeless, Blameless, Heartless, Timeless), Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan trilogy (Leviathan, Behemoth, Goliath) and Cassandra Clare’s The Infernal Devices trilogy (Clockwork Angel, Clockwork Prince, Clockwork Princess) were published and since 2003 with the release of the movie The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen the film industry produced many Steampunky movies such as Van Helsing (2004), The Golden Compass (2007) and both Sherlock Holmes movies starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law (2009 and 2011 with a third film that should come out in 2015).

Steampunk inkEverywhere you look Steampunk is a thing right now and everyone knows the term. Many can name certain books or movies that deal with this theme and almost everyone knows that Jules Verne’s works could be classified as Steampunk although he lived from 1828 to 1905.

In my family Steampunk is well known, not only because I read a lot and there are a fair amount of Steampunk novels on my shelves but also because my uncle and my cousin’s long-term girlfriend are huge Steampunk fans. Whenever I see my uncle we start talking about Steampunk and last year he decided to transform my aunt’s office into a Steampunky one. It matches their house perfectly and in June I finally had a chance to look at it and I have to tell you it is fabulous. My cousin’s girlfriend got Steampunk jewelry for Christmas and when I was talking to Hannah about her Clockwork Carnival I immediately had an idea for a blog post.

Steampunk old watchI asked my uncle, my cousin’s girlfriend and Hannah what fascinates them about Steampunk.

Here are their answers:

My uncle, who is so not a reader at all, told me that he is fascinated by the huge variety of things that can be seen as Steampunk. The small machines that consist of so many components and are all built with love and devotion, the different takes on Steampunk films, that Jules Verne experimented with this genre over a hundred years ago and that he is seen as the “Godfather of Steampunk”.

My cousin’s girlfriend sees Steampunk as something special and unique. For her those little hidden gems of Steampunk are those things that fascinates her the most. There are so many different ways of expressing your love of Steampunk and so many different people loving this genre.

I love the variety of Steampunk – it can be found in books, films, jewelry, fashion, etc. It is a way of life! Exploring all those different ways the genre expresses itself and stumbling over little hidden references towards Steampunk is something I appreciate a lot. Whenever I read a Steampunk novel I can see the story evolve before my inner eye because all of those I read are written so well and suck you into their world. Every time someone talks to me about Steampunk I see a dark, dusty and foggy London and cannot help but smile. For me this genre lives from the huge variety and the large amount of feelings it awakens in all of us. Steampunk is unique and combines the love of the old (aka Victorian times) with modern features (aka the machines and inventions) and a very special way of transporting them either via screen or via the pages of a book, which clearly is my favorite way of experiencing Steampunk.

When I asked Hannah she wrote the following:

”Ooh good question.. Steampunk is unlike any genre out there. You find it as a setting for fantasy novels, a world in urban fantasy, and the stories in Science Fiction. It can be subtle and flamboyant and it is fascinating to see how different authors use it. However, it is also so much more. For many Steampunkians it is a culture and a way to express themselves. There are so many aspects to Steampunk and I love to explore them all.”

Steampunk Steampunky office

And with this wonderful declaration of love to Steampunk I will leave you now but not without asking you why you are fascinated with this genre and what is your number one book or film you can recommend me reading/watching?

The Clockwork Carnival’s Lucky Jewellery Discount

This post is courtesy of Ellie.

I absolutely love looking at Steampunk creations. And the best thing is, sites like Etsy allow us to buy loads of it. As part of Clockwork Carnival we have arranged a featured Etsy store with a discount. Want to buy something special? Lucky Steampunk are offering a 15% discount on their Etsy shop. Just use code LUCKY1 at checkout and wait for your lovely jewellery to arrive.


Do you have any favourite Steampunk items on Etsy? Let us know and we’ll add to the Clockwork Carnival Pinterest board (and don’t forget to check back for more additions throughout the carnival).

Welcome to the Clockwork Carnival!

Roll up, roll up! The Clockwork Carnival is in town and do we have some epic content for you. We will have articles, giveaways, interviews, recommendations, and a few other things so make sure you check back daily for something new to explore and discover!

Of course, there are those of you within the crowd who may not know what steampunk is. For those of you I say go forth and discover and enjoy! This post may be of particular interest to you, but make sure you return for the wonderful events of the Carnival, you wouldn’t want to miss out.

But where did steampunk come from?

Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction, alternate history, and speculative fiction that came into prominence during the late 1980′s and early 1990′s. Specifically, steampunk involves an era or world where steam power is still widely used, typically the Victorian Era and the Edwardian Era, that incorporates prominent elements of science fiction and fantasy. A modicum of fantasy is necessary because steam alone simply will not do enough to fulfil the visions of most authors and artists.

Steampunk is often associated with cyberpunk, from which it is derived. They have considerable influence on each other and share a similar fan base, but steampunk developed into a separable movement. Apart from time period and level of technology, the main difference is that steampunk settings tend to be less dystopian. Steampunk is described as “full of wonder” and as “functional, logical, and very British”. Steampunk stories are often romantic and peppered with historical references and brewing rebellions.

The term steampunk was first coined in 1987  by author K.W. Jeter and was used to describe a genre of speculative fiction in which steam, not electricity, drove technological advancements. Steampunk, however, draws on history, first appearing in the 1800s in the scientific romances of Jules Verne and H. G. Wells.

Steampunk as a literary phenomenon has its roots in the 19th century, courtesy of Verne, Wells, and other authorsand since then has begun to appear in other media as well, such as television shows, video and roleplaying games,films, literature, comics and graphic novels, and even Japanese anime and manga. Because these are all visual mediums, the steampunk genre has also developed a visual expectation, although it does tend to vary from story to story.

SourceSteampunk Wiki.

We hope you enjoy the show!

The Clockwork Carnival couldn’t have happened without the wonderful behind the scenes help and support of Ciska, Ellie, and Hanna, so please make sure you give their blogs some love. They are amazing friends and fantastic bloggers. Thank you ladies. So much. And I must also thank the lovely Ravven for the Carnival’s badge. 

Incoming: The Hiatus, Part. 1

Hey guys. The hiatus is helping an awful lot but my anxiety’s playing up something nasty right now. Not fun. However, The Clockwork Carnival starts TOMORROW!! How exciting! :D So I thought I’d do an incoming of the past few weeks and just remind you that The Clockwork Carnival is happening and it’s chockablock full of epic content. Check back tomorrow and every day after for the next two weeks to see what’s on offer. And if you’d like to spread the word, you’re welcome to pinch the badge in the sidebar to do so and I’ll pay you with love and hugs. #theclockworkcarnival is the hashtag.

Anyway, here’s what has been coming my way during my hiatus to cheer me up. :)

Physical Books

IMAG0078_1_1

This little stash makes me smile. The Thing About Wolves is part 2 in an urban fantasy series I still need to start but am very much looking forward to. It’s Raining Men is going to be amazing because it’s Milly Johnson and I haven’t disliked one of her books yet, I might even have squealed a little when it came through. The City’s Son I won in a Twitter giveaway a while back and it is signed! And lined? Is that the terminology? I really can’t wait to get my reading passion back because this is very high up on my list. The Paradise Guest House was an unsolicited review copy, not sure if I’ll manage to squeeze it in but it sounds like a nice read. Tudor: the Family Story I already have an ARC of, but this hardback is so lovely. The Tudor rose is shimmery. Lockwood & Co. was a “RT this and we’ll send you a copy” so I did, and they did, and it sounds amazing. A new series by the (so I hear) wonderful Jonathan Stroud a middle grade ghosty mystery fantasy type thing, sounds very fun. And Omens. My jaw dropped a little when this turned up as I’ve only really been in touch with Sphere about chick lit and hadn’t requested it but we all know Kelley Armstrong is amazing so *strokes the pretty*.

Ebooks For Review

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon Sick by Tom Leveen Who is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa? by Andrez Bergen

Remember my NetGalley binge in the Spring? That’s how long ago I requested The Bone Season. I was accepted for it a couple of weeks ago. It sounds like a really good read, a dystopian fantasy. Sick I genuinely didn’t mean to request! My finger slipped when I was being nosey which is why I banned myself from logging into NetGalley when browsing, haha, but thankfully it sounds like a good read. All zombies and stuff. And Who is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa? came through just yesterday from the author. Andrez is a great guy and this noir superhero novel sounds absolutely awesome.

And the Freebies

Redwall by Brian Jacques Behind Every Cloud by Pauline Lawless Marking Time by April White

I honestly haven’t been in the mood to go freebie browsing the past few weeks. Redwall was free for a little while and I found this out via a tweet (also, yay!). Behind Every Cloud I may have found through the website I sometimes check or a tweet. And Marking Time I had on the wishlist I check daily after hearing very favourable things from Karina.

So yeah, that’s everything I’ve received since my last incoming post. Anything catching your eye?