We've included the steampunk genre in our 2017 reading challenge, but some readers may be wondering: what even is a "steampunk novel"? According to the Oxford Dictionary, steampunk is "a genre of science fiction that has a historical setting and typically features steam-powered machinery rather than advanced technology." Some consider the 1990 "alternative history novel" The Difference Engine by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling as the book that started it all, while the term itself was coined by sci-fi author K.W. Jeter. Essentially, it's a mix of sci-fi fantasy that's both futuristic and historical, as it carries Victorian era elements mixed with modern technology. It can also be mixed with a range of other genres, from horror to romance.
I'll admit, I've never read a steampunk novel, but that's part of the fun of the challenge — to try something new and stretch my reading habits! Thankfully, members of the reading challenge Goodreads group have shared some of their recommendations for this lesser-known genre. We've rounded up 20 old and new books that could be classified as "steampunk" for you to check out. And if you're plotting out your book lists for the 2017 reading challenge, hopefully this helps!