The Greatest "Fiction, Steampunk" Books of All Time

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This list represents a comprehensive and trusted collection of the greatest books. Developed through a specialized algorithm, it brings together 315 'best of' book lists to form a definitive guide to the world's most acclaimed books. For those interested in how these books are chosen, additional details can be found on the rankings page.

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Steampunk as a literary genre is a fascinating blend of historical fiction, science fiction, and speculative fantasy, characterized by its distinctive setting in an alternate history where steam power remains the dominant technological force. Typically set in the Victorian era or a world resembling it, Steampunk novels weave intricate narratives that explore themes of invention, exploration, and industrial revolution, often infused with elements of adventure and rebellion against oppressive societal norms. The genre is renowned for its richly detailed and imaginative world-building, featuring anachronistic technologies, airships, clockwork devices, and intricate machinery, all powered by steam. Steampunk literature not only captivates with its inventive storytelling and aesthetic but also delves into complex questions about technology, progress, and humanity's relationship with both, making it a compelling and thought-provoking category of books.

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  1. 1. I Am Legend by Richard Matheson

    The novel is a post-apocalyptic horror story that centers around a solitary man who may be the last human alive on earth after a pandemic has turned the rest of humanity into vampire-like creatures. He spends his days fortifying his home, hunting for food, and killing these creatures while they sleep. At night, he is tormented by their attempts to break into his home and kill him. His isolation drives him to the brink of insanity, and the novel explores themes of loneliness, survival, and the human capacity for hope in the face of utter despair.

    The 612th Greatest Book of All Time
  2. 2. The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers

    "The Anubis Gates" is a thrilling time-travel adventure set in 19th-century London. When a wealthy industrialist organizes a trip back in time to witness a famous poet's lecture, the journey takes an unexpected turn. The protagonist, Brendan Doyle, finds himself trapped in the past, caught in a web of magic, Egyptian mythology, and a secret society. As he navigates through dangerous encounters and encounters historical figures, Doyle must unravel the mysteries of time travel and find a way back to his own time before it's too late.

    The 2609th Greatest Book of All Time
  3. 3. Perdido Street Station by China Mieville

    In a sprawling steampunk metropolis teeming with bizarre creatures and arcane technologies, a gifted scientist unwittingly unleashes a nightmare upon the city. When his experiment with a rare caterpillar goes awry, monstrous, dream-eating moths are set loose, preying upon the citizens' minds and plunging the city into terror. As the scientist grapples with the consequences of his actions, a motley group of individuals, including a renegade artist, a wingless bird-man, and other outcasts, come together in a desperate attempt to save their city from the eldritch horrors that now haunt its shadowy streets. Their journey takes them through the city's various layers, from the opulent heights to the grimy depths, revealing the complex tapestry of cultures and conflicts that define this urban labyrinth.

    The 4768th Greatest Book of All Time
  4. 4. The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison

    "The Goblin Emperor" is a fantasy novel set in a world where goblins are considered lower-class citizens. When the half-goblin, half-elf Maia unexpectedly becomes emperor, he must navigate court politics, assassination attempts, and the challenges of ruling a kingdom filled with treachery and deceit. With his kind heart and determination to bring justice, Maia strives to prove himself as a capable leader while uncovering the truth behind his father's mysterious death.

    The 7845th Greatest Book of All Time
  5. 5. The Difference Engine by William Gibson, Bruce Sterling

    "The Difference Engine" is an alternative history novel set in Victorian England, where Charles Babbage successfully builds his Analytical Engine, a revolutionary steam-powered computer. The story follows two protagonists, one a paleontologist and the other a detective, as they become embroiled in a conspiracy involving political intrigue, technological advancements, and a dangerous secret society. With a blend of historical accuracy and speculative fiction, the book explores themes of power, progress, and the consequences of technological innovation.

    The 8897th Greatest Book of All Time
  6. 6. The Shadow Of The Torturer by Gene Wolfe

    In this science fiction novel set in a far-future Earth, the protagonist, an apprentice in the guild of torturers, is exiled for showing mercy to a prisoner. His journey outside the walls of his guild leads him through a world rich with dying technologies and ancient rituals. Along the way, he encounters a variety of characters and becomes embroiled in events that hint at his larger destiny. The novel is known for its dense prose, complex themes, and the unreliable narration of its protagonist, which challenges readers to piece together the truth of his world and history.

    The 8918th Greatest Book of All Time
  7. 7. Quicksilver by Neal Stephenson

    "Quicksilver" by Neal Stephenson is the first book in "The Baroque Cycle" trilogy, set in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. The story follows the life of Daniel Waterhouse, a member of the Royal Society, as he navigates through a world of scientific discoveries, political intrigue, and personal relationships. From the coffeehouses of London to the court of Louis XIV in Versailles, the novel weaves together historical events and fictional characters to create a sprawling epic that explores the birth of modern science and the clash between old and new worldviews.

    The 9489th Greatest Book of All Time
  8. 8. A Master of Djinn by P. Djèlí Clark

    Set in an alternate Cairo at the turn of the 20th century, where magic and steampunk technology infuse the air, the story follows Fatma el-Sha’arawi, the youngest woman working for the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities. When someone claiming to be al-Jahiz, the famed Sufi mystic who opened the veil to the magical realm forty years prior, returns to wreak havoc in the form of a murderous cult, Fatma must unravel the mystery behind this imposter. With the help of her new partner, a clever ministry bureaucrat, and her girlfriend, an enigmatic lounge singer, Fatma delves into a world of djinn and gods to prevent the imposter's diabolical plot from unleashing chaos upon the world.

    The 10507th Greatest Book of All Time
  9. 9. The Obelisk Gate by N. K. Jemisin

    In the second installment of a groundbreaking fantasy trilogy, the world grapples with an apocalyptic season of catastrophic climate change known as the Fifth Season. The narrative follows a mother searching for her missing daughter while coming to terms with her own seismic powers that could either save humanity or hasten its end. As communes and factions struggle for survival and dominance, the story delves into themes of oppression, resistance, and the complex nature of human relationships, all set against a backdrop of geological and magical upheaval. The protagonist must navigate a landscape of political intrigue and ancient mysteries to unlock the potential of obelisks, powerful artifacts that could be the key to the world's salvation or destruction.

    The 10929th Greatest Book of All Time
  10. 10. Boneshaker by Cherie Priest

    Set in an alternate 1880s Seattle, the novel unfolds in a world where a devastating mining invention has unleashed a toxic gas, turning many of the living into ravenous undead creatures. Amidst this chaos, a determined mother ventures into the walled-off, zombie-infested city to clear her husband's name from the creation of the catastrophic machine and to rescue her son, who has ventured into the dangerous quarantined zone. As she navigates the steampunk dystopia filled with airships, pirates, and a relentless will to survive, she uncovers dark secrets and faces the horrors that have taken over the once-thriving city.

    The 10950th Greatest Book of All Time
  11. 11. Iron Council by China Miéville

    "Iron Council" by China Miéville is a captivating novel set in the fantastical world of Bas-Lag. The story follows a group of rebels and outcasts who form the Iron Council, a revolutionary movement fighting against an oppressive regime. As they navigate through treacherous landscapes and encounter various creatures, the Iron Council seeks to overthrow the government and create a utopian society. The book explores themes of revolution, loyalty, and the power of collective action, offering a thrilling and thought-provoking journey through a richly imagined universe.

    The 10950th Greatest Book of All Time
  12. 12. The Knight Of The Swords by Michael Moorcock

    This novel introduces readers to a fantastical world where the central character, a noble yet troubled warrior, embarks on a perilous journey through a landscape filled with magic, mythical creatures, and ancient gods. Tasked with a quest that intertwines his fate with the cosmic balance of Law and Chaos, he must navigate treacherous paths and confront his deepest fears. Along the way, he encounters a cast of characters that challenge his perceptions of loyalty, honor, and the nature of his quest. Set against a backdrop of richly imagined realms, the story weaves together elements of adventure, mythology, and the eternal struggle between opposing forces, marking the beginning of an epic saga that explores the complexities of power, destiny, and the human spirit.

    The 11379th Greatest Book of All Time
  13. 13. The King Of The Swords by Michael Moorcock

    This novel concludes a high-fantasy trilogy, where the narrative reaches its climax in an epic battle between the forces of Law and Chaos. The protagonist, armed with a powerful, sentient sword, faces off against a pantheon of gods and their minions in a quest to restore balance to the multiverse. Alongside a diverse cast of allies, including sorcerers, warriors, and otherworldly entities, the hero navigates a series of challenges and moral dilemmas. The story combines elements of sword and sorcery with cosmic scale battles, exploring themes of destiny, power, and the nature of good and evil. Through its intricate plot and richly imagined worlds, the book delivers a compelling finale to a beloved fantasy saga.

    The 11379th Greatest Book of All Time
  14. 14. Metro 2033 by Dmitri Glukhovsky

    This novel is set in a post-apocalyptic Moscow, where the remnants of humanity have taken refuge in the underground metro system after a devastating nuclear war. The story follows Artyom, a young man who embarks on a perilous journey through the dark, mutant-infested tunnels of the metro to seek help against a new, mysterious threat that endangers the fragile existence of the metro's survivors. Along the way, he encounters various factions vying for power and control, confronts his deepest fears, and questions his beliefs and the nature of reality itself. The narrative weaves together themes of survival, hope, and the enduring human spirit in the face of overwhelming darkness.

    The 11579th Greatest Book of All Time

Reading Statistics

Click the button below to see how many of these books you've read!


If you're interested in downloading this list as a CSV file for use in a spreadsheet application, you can easily do so by clicking the button below. Please note that to ensure a manageable file size and faster download, the CSV will include details for only the first 500 books.