I am choosing to take it as a fairly broad category; some critics will only call a work steampunk if its setting is an alternate-Victorian era (e.g. George Mann's The Affinity Bridge and its sequel, The Osiris Ritual) as opposed to a society whose technology is dependent on steam power. Others (myself included) are inclined to be a bit looser, if only because it adds to the pool of cool books to choose from.
Here is my [initial, unofficial, in-no-particular-order] list:
- Boneshaker and Dreadnought, by Cherie Priest
- The Diamond Age, by Neal Stephenson
- The Difference Engine, by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling
- The Affinity Bridge and The Osiris Ritual by George Mann
- The Anubis Gates, by Tim Powers
- Steampunk, edited by Ann Vandemeer
- Steampunk Prime, edited by Mike Ashley
- The Strange Affair of Spring-Heeled Jack, by Mark Hodder
- The Parasol Protectorate (Soulless, Changeless, Blameless, and [forthcoming] Heartless, by Gail Carriger
My first exposure to the genre came with The Difference Engine, and I have been steadily building my collection. I look forward to reading (or in some cases re-reading) these books and getting into good discussions with my fellow Steampunk Challenge participants.
The first of my reviews (forthcoming, after I've graded my most recent batch of 72 composition papers) will be on The Difference Engine by my favorite SF author bar none, William Gibson (written in conjunction with his co-author Bruce Sterling).