The CZU Steampunk Book Club meets every other month. Events go out on Facebook indicating what book to read and when to meet. We like to share our reactions to the books over tea and pick the next book. All are welcome, even if you didn't manage to finish the book.
Book Club Selections
Looking for a good book to read? The following are books that we particularly enjoyed reading as a club. Got any suggestions of your own? Feel free to stop by the facebook page and suggest them.
The Sea Is Ours: Tales from Steampunk Southeast Asia by Jaymee Goh & Joyce Chng
The stories in this collection merge technological wonder with the everyday. Children upgrade their fighting spiders with armor, and toymakers create punchcard-driven marionettes. Large fish lumber across the skies, while boat people find a new home on the edge of a different dimension. Technology and tradition meld as the people adapt to the changing forces of their world. The Sea Is Ours is an exciting new anthology that features stories infused with the spirits of Southeast Asia’s diverse peoples, legends, and geography.
Mechanica by Betsy Cornwell
Gorgeous prose and themes of social justice and family shine in this richly imagined Cinderella retelling about an indomitable inventor who finds her prince . . . but realizes she doesn't want a fairy tale happy ending after all.
Clockwork Futures: The Science of Steampunk and the Reinvention of the Modern World by Brandy Schillace
Airships and electric submarines, automatons and mesmerists? Welcome to the wild world of steampunk. It is all speculative? Or is it? Meet the intrepid souls who pushed Victorian technology to its limits and paved the way for our present age. The gear turns, the whistle blows, and the billows expand with electro-mechanical whirring. The shimmering halo of Victorian technology lures us with the stuff of dreams, of nostalgia, of alternate pasts and futures that entice with the suave of James Bond and the savvy of Sherlock Holmes. Fiction, surely. But what if the unusual gadgetry so often depicted as 'steampunk' actually made an appearance in history?
The Aeronaut's Windlass by Jim Butcher
The Aeronaut’s Windlass is the first book in Jim’s upcoming Steampunk series, The Cinder Spires. It’s jam-packed with airships, crazy sorcerers, privateers, warrior monks, and intelligent cats. An ancient evil has reawakened, and the entire world is plunged into a sinister mist, filled with terrible creatures.
Dr. Mutter's Marvels by Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz
Imagine undergoing an operation without anesthesia performed by a surgeon who refuses to sterilize his tools—or even wash his hands. This was the world of medicine when Thomas Dent Mütter began his trailblazing career as a plastic surgeon in Philadelphia during the middle of the nineteenth century. Award-winning writer Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz vividly chronicles how Mütter’s efforts helped establish Philadelphia as a global mecca for medical innovation—despite intense resistance from his numerous rivals. (Foremost among them: Charles D. Meigs, an influential obstetrician who loathed Mütter’s "overly" modern medical opinions.) In the narrative spirit of The Devil in the White City, Dr. Mütter’s Marvels interweaves an eye-opening portrait of nineteenth-century medicine with the riveting biography of a man once described as the "P. T. Barnum of the surgery room."
Steampunk World by Sarah Hans
Steampunk World is a showcase for nineteen authors to flip the levers and start the pistons and invite you to experience the entirety of steampunk. Edited by Sarah Hans, this anthology's nineteen authors bring us the very best steampunk stories from around the world. The contributors have won a wide range of awards for their previous work, including the Hugo Award, Nebula Award, World Fantasy Award, Bram Stoker Award, John W. Campbell Award, Steampunk Chronicle Reader's Choice Awards, SteamCon Airship Award, Octavia E. Butler Scholarship Award, Goodreads Award, Parsec Award, and the Origins Award. The cover artwork is by James Ng.
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
This cyberpunk retelling of the Cinderella story was one of our favorites -- so much so that we did the entire series! Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.
Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
It is the cusp of World War I. The Austro-Hungarians and Germans have their Clankers, steam-driven iron machines loaded with guns and ammunition. The British Darwinists employ genetically fabricated animals as their weaponry. Their Leviathan is a whale airship, and the most masterful beast in the British fleet. Aleksandar Ferdinand, a Clanker, and Deryn Sharp, a Darwinist, are on opposite sides of the war. But their paths cross in the most unexpected way, taking them both aboard the Leviathan on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure….One that will change both their lives forever.
The Steampunk Bible by Jeff VanderMeer
Steampunk—a grafting of Victorian aesthetic and punk rock attitude onto various forms of science-fiction culture—is a phenomenon that has come to influence film, literature, art, music, fashion, and more. The Steampunk Bible is the first compendium about the movement, tracing its roots in the works of Jules Verne and H. G. Wells through its most recent expression in movies such as Sherlock Holmes. Its adherents celebrate the inventor as an artist and hero, re-envisioning and crafting retro technologies including antiquated airships and robots. A burgeoning DIY community has brought a distinctive Victorian-fantasy style to their crafts and art. Steampunk evokes a sense of adventure and discovery, and embraces extinct technologies as a way of talking about the future. This ultimate manual will appeal to aficionados and novices alike as author Jeff VanderMeer takes the reader on a wild ride through the clockwork corridors of Steampunk history.
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
Jules Verne's classic tale of an undersea adventure with a madman never fails to delight. We at the book club loved delving into Verne's glorious steampunk world for ourselves, returning to the original source of the tale that has been adapted so many times. Plus, it can be found for free online!
Flatland: a Romance of Many Dimensions by Edwin Abbott
Flatland is one of the very few novels about math and philosophy that can appeal to almost any layperson. Published in 1880, this short fantasy takes us to a completely flat world of two physical dimensions where all the inhabitants are geometric shapes, and who think the planar world of length and width that they know is all there is. But one inhabitant discovers the existence of a third physical dimension, enabling him to finally grasp the concept of a fourth dimension. Watching our Flatland narrator, we begin to get an idea of the limitations of our own assumptions about reality, and we start to learn how to think about the confusing problem of higher dimensions. The book is also quite a funny satire on society and class distinctions of Victorian England.