Steampunk Sources
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Basic Information

This is a Bibliography page for useful sources in the steampunk genre. "Steampunk" is a general term for science fiction set in the Victorian Era, both contemporary fiction from that era and modern fiction set in the 1800s with 20th Century inventions re-imagined with Victorian Era tech and design sensibilities. Given the implications of the "punk" genre, the alternative term "gas lamp fantasy" can be used for narratives which take a positivist approach, as opposed to the subversive one implied by punk traditions.



  • Verne, Jules: Too many to list, really, but here are a few notable ones:
    • Five Weeks in a Balloon (1863) Explorers cross the African continent in an advanced balloon.
    • Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1872) Verne's masterpiece: A brilliant engineer builds an incredible submarine to escape from the surface world and to wage his own private war against war. The U.S. first nuclear submarine was named the Nautilus after Captain Nemo's vessel.
    • From the Earth to the Moon (1865) / Around the Moon (1870) Members of the Baltimore Gun Club, idle due to the end of the Civil War, decide to build a gargantuan cannon to fire a projectile to the moon. Three men agree to travel inside the projectile. The sequel tells of their voyage through space and how they return. A number of details from these books were paralleled by the the real-life U.S. Space Program in the 1960s.
    • Robur the Conqueror (aka Clipper of the Clouds) (1886) / Master of the World (1904) The first comes off as a weak knock-off of Twenty Thousand Leagues with Robur being Nemo in an airship. He has little of Nemo's nobility, though, and just comes off as being a jerk. His airship, the Albatross, however, is a fantastic piece of Victorian super-tech. In the sequel, Robur returns as a full-fledged megalomaniac with a transforming super-car.
  • Wells, H.G.: Less tech-heavy than Verne, and more interested in the social ramifications of science
    • The First Men in the Moon (1901) A eccentric scientist develops an anti-gravity material which he uses to build a spaceship in which he and his business partner go to the Moon and encounter the insectoid Selenites.
    • The Invisible Man (1897) A deranged scientist develops a formula that makes him invisible; but his condition turns out to be a decidedly mixed blessing. Oh, and did I mention he's deranged?
    • The Time Machine (1895) The early chapters, in which the Time Traveler expounds upon Time as the Fourth Dimension is a must-read for anyone interested in time travel. The hero travels millions of years into the future, where the civilization he knows lies in dust and where humanity has devolved into the child-like Eloi and the subterranean Morlocks.
    • The War of the Worlds (1898) What if beings from another planet arrived in England and treated us the way we treat inferior beings in our colonies? This book features the squid-like Martians and their iconic tripod fighting machines.


  • The Wild Wild West (1999) Okay, it wasn't nearly as good as the TV series, but it wasn't all that bad and it did feature come cool steam-tech. The scene in which Artie examines the retina's of a dead man's eyes to see the last image to imprint itself on them is an idea right out of Victorian-Era science; and some of the gadgets were kind of cool.
  • The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003) Any film with Sean Connory in it is worth seeing. Yes, Even Highlander 2. And despite the liberties taken with the original comic and some dumb plot points (the Nautilus in the canals of Venice? Wha???), this film has some cool visuals and gadgets. I even liked the "Nemomobile".
  • The Assassination Bureau (1969) A tounge-in-cheek romp across Europe with Diana Rigg as a suffragette reporter who hires an international assassination agency to kill its own chairman. Based on an unfinished Jack London story. Not a whole lot of steamtech, (apart from a dirigible at the end), but still a fun film. And it features Diana Rigg in lacy Edwardian underwear.
  • Those Fantastic Flying Fools (aka Rocket to the Moon) (1967) A British comedy, inspired by equal parts Jules Verne and Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines, which had been released just previously. P.T. Barnum (Burl Ives) organizes a scheme to fire a giant cannon shell to the Moon.
  • Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1954) Arguably the best movie adaptation of a Verne novel ever.
  • Captain Nemo and the Underwater City (1969) Shipwreck survivors are rescued by inhabitants of a submarine Shangri-la built by Captain Nemo. Some of them want to stay in this idyllic community, but others plan to escape…

TV Series

  • The Wild, Wild West (1965-1969) Uber-cool series about a James Bond-type spy translated into the American West. Secret agent James West and his partner travel the West fighting mad scientists and super criminals using an arsenal of Victorian techno-gadgets.
  • The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.
  • The Infinite Worlds of H.G. Wells (2001) A miniseries dramatizing several of Wells' science fiction short stories, framed as being his reminiscences of adventures that actually happened to him.
  • The Secret Diaries of Jules Verne (2000) Young Jules Verne is recruited by super-spy Phileas Fogg as part of a secret conspiracy to defend the British Empire against steam-tech menaces.


  • Nadia: Secret of Blue Water
  • Laputa (aka Castle in the Sky)
  • Steamboy (2004)
  • Spirit of Wonder (1992) and OAV one-shot taken from a manga anthology series. In this story, "The Melancholy of Miss China", is about a young Chinese landlady in a small English village with two deadbeat tenants: one is a young man with a crush on her, and the other is a mad scientist. With the scientist's help, the young man intends to give her the most wonderful gift imaginable…


  • League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (America's Best Comics) The British Government assembles a team of agents culled from some of the great works of Victorian adventure fiction. The second series includes as a backup a gazetteer describing fantastic places all over the world which incorporate and insane number of literary references.
  • The Bozz Chronicles (Marvel Epic) An eccentric 1986 miniseries about an alien stranded on Earth in the Victorian Era who is persuaded by a friendly prostitute to set himself up as a Consulting Detective. Yes. You read that right.
  • Steampunk (Wildstorm/Cliffhanger) A weird, confusing alternate history set in a dystopian Victorian England.
  • Girl Genius Phil and Kara Foglio's web and print epic charting the struggles of Lost Heir Agatha Heterodyne to reclaim her family's legacy in a Europe controlled (and devastated) by steampunk Mad Scientists.


Game and Story Use

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