Two interesting subgenres of science fiction are steampunk and dieselpunk. Both can be described as “What the past would look like if the future had happened sooner.” Steampunk books are usually set in the 19th century. The name comes from the steam-powered machines that were used at that time. Dieselpunk books are set at the start of the 20th century and feature diesel-powered machines. In both subgenres the characters use imagined machines or modern technology invented earlier than in reality.
So steampunk as well as dieselpunk is basically a mix of historical fiction, science fiction and fantasy. My top three favourite genres combined! Yet, I haven’t read a lot of steampunk and dieselpunk books. One I did read and loved is Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld. It’s set during an alternate version of the First World War. There are the Clankers (Austria-Hungary and Germany) that use steam-powered war machines. Prince Aleksander is on the run for his own people with such a war machine. The Darwinists (the United Kingdom, France and Russia) have fabricated beasts. Deryn is brilliant in flying them. However, she could only join the British air service disguised as boy. But there is always the danger of being discovered….
In the future I hope to read more steampunk and dieselpunk. These books are on my TBR-list:
Soulless by Gail Carriger
This book is said to be a funny steampunk mystery. Main character Alexia has three problems: she has no soul, she’s a spinster and she was rudely attacked by a vampire. Even worse, she accidentally killed the vampire. The appalling Lord Maccon, a gorgeous werewolf, is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate. Alexia has to figure out what is really going on.
Everfair by Nisi Shawl
This is an alternate history set in Belgian Congo. The story explores the question of what might have come of Belgium’s disastrous colonization if the native populations had learned about steam technology a bit earlier. This will be an interesting book, because I haven’t read other books about this period in history.
Monstress, Vol. 1: Awakening by Marjorie M. Liu & Sana Takeda
This is a graphic novel set in an alternate matriarchal 1900’s Asia. It tells the story of a teenage girl who is struggling to survive the trauma of war. On top of that she shares a mysterious psychic link with a powerful monster.