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Genre Guide for Beginners: Chapter 11, Steampunk

Do you know what some of the most commonly asked questions are? Genre questions. Either asking us what genre a certain book or series is in, or what exactly is that genre. After spending so much time immersed in the world of romance, it has become second nature to instantly catergorise books into their respective genre, or sub-genre. Just a glance at the blurb, or even just the cover then I can tell you what genre it will be. Of course, not everything is black and white and not every book is so easy to label, but a majority are.

We have previously done a very concise guide about genres giving an overview of each, but we decided to take each genre and do a more general and indepth guide. In this, we will tell you the definition of the genre, what types of characters you may expect to see, popular troupes within a genre, some of our favourite authors and series within this genre. And anything else we can think of! By the end of the guide you should be able to tell what book is what and have a few recommendations to pick up.

The ninth chapter in this guide is *drum roll please*

Definition

Steampunk is more than just a book genre, it’s a whole movement, style, alternate history. It’s fascinating. But, we are focusing on the definition of what constitutes a steampunk book is. Steampunk is a form of speculative fiction where the author grabs Victorian England packs it full of steam-powered technology and then writes about how they think the world would develop from there. Most steampunk is set in the Victorian era, so many of the books you will find will be set in the 1800s.

The Basics

You know you have a steampunk novel on your hands when:

  • It is set in an alternative earth where technology evolved or is evolving from steam-powered technology. If it is set in a different world but has steampunk elements to it, this will probably either a fantasy or young adult.
  • The setting will have a very “Victorian England” feel, although it doesn’t have to be set in Victorian England.

Romance isn’t necessary in a steampunk book, it’s much less defined by the characters within the books and more about the setting and the technology. If you have a book where technological progress is based on steam-powered machinery, especially if this is set in the Victorian era then this is likely to be a steampunk novel.

Steampunk also has a certain…feel to it, something which I am sure to make a mess of trying to describe! When I think hard about the steampunk novels I have read, one word comes to mind: dashing. They are all rather dashing and stylish. Maybe even…swashbuckling. They have taken that Victorian era curiosity and drive and distilled it into a genre.

Why UTC loves steampunk

Steampunk is perhaps the genre that we as a whole at Under the Covers have read the least of, which is why this genre guide is so short! But, that doesn’t mean that we don’t enjoy it, steampunk is a vast genre that’s growing all the time and we have taken a nibble at the romantic side of it. It’s a genre that’s full of imagination and style and something we do intend to read more of it in the future.

UTC Required Reading List

What are your favourite steampunk books?

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Amy R

I haven’t tried many steampunk books but I did read Soulless.

Elizabeth

This genre is hit or miss for me. I do like the parasol protectorate series and the girl in the steel corset. I also enjoyed time thief by katie macalister.

Lindsi

I read The Girl in the Steel Corset years ago, but remember enjoying it! I’ve been meaning to do a re-read and finish the rest of the series. Honestly, the only thing I can remember is the one guy calling her “treasure,”

Lindsi @ Do You Dog-ear? ?

Timitra

Kiss Of Steel is definitely one of my faves