Printed Literature

The rise of the popularity of steampunk can be directly traced to its most famous literature and its authors: Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, William Gibson and Bruce Sterling.

The Difference Engine: The Book That Started It All Gear

Despite the influences that Jules Verne and H.G. Wells had on the steampunk movement, there is one book that is often cited for kicking off the entire movement: The Difference Engine. Written by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling and published in 1990, the book imagines a world where nineteenth-century British inventor Charles Babbage not just outlined the concept of a computer but created one, spurring rapid technological development, changing the nature of Britain’s politics overnight, and changing the world not necessarily for the better.

1855: The Industrial Revolution is in full swing, powered by steam-driven cybernetic Engines. Charles Babbage perfects his Analytical Engine, and the computer age arrives a century ahead of its time. Three extraordinary characters race toward a rendezvous with the future: Sybil Gerard—fallen woman, politician’s tart, daughter of a Luddite agitator; Edward “Leviathan” Mallory—explorer and paleontologist; Laurence Oliphant—diplomat, mystic, and spy. Their adventure begins with the discovery of a box of punched Engine cards of unknown origin and purpose. Cards someone wants badly enough to kill for.

The summary on the back of the book, according to Amazon's product listing.

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea Gear

One of Jules Verne's most famous tales, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, part of a series titled Voyages extraordinaires, deals with the underwater adventure of a professor named Pierre Aronnax captured by a submarine shaped like a sea creature named Nautilus and details his adventurous escape with Captain Nemo. It was adapted into a Walt Disney film in 1954, and when it came time for the Navy to name the first ever submarine powered by nuclear energy, it was named Nautilus.

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea is a classic science fiction novel by French writer Jules Verne published in 1870. It tells the story of Captain Nemo and his submarine Nautilus, as seen from the perspective of Professor Pierre Aronnax after he, his servant Conseil, and Canadian whaler Ned Land wash up on their ship. On the Nautilus, the three embark on a journey which has them going all around the world, under the sea.

The summary of the book on Amazon.

The Time Machine Gear

H.G. Wells's The Time Machine features a time-traveller using steampunk-styled time machine to send him to the year 802701, finding that the world has been reduced to the bourgeoisie and proletariat to a comical degree, named Morlocks and Eloi respectively.

The Time Machine is a science fiction novella by H. G. Wells, published in 1895 and written as a frame narrative. The work is generally credited with the popularization of the concept of time travel by using a vehicle that allows an operator to travel purposely and selectively forwards or backwards in time. The term "time machine", coined by H.G. Wells, is now almost universally used to refer to such a vehicle. The Time Machine has been adapted into three feature films of the same name, as well as two television versions, and a large number of comic book adaptations. It has also indirectly inspired many more works of fiction in many media productions.

The book's summary provided by Amazon.

The War of the Worlds Gear

H.G. Wells's The War of the Worlds details a Martian invasion on Earth where humans attempted to handle the situation diplomatically, and was reworked into a famous radio broadcast by Orson Welles in 1938 which sent listeners into mass hysteria and even caused riots and deaths at a Ecuadorian radio station imitating Welles’s broadcast.

The War of the Worlds is a science fiction novel by English author H. G. Wells. It first appeared in serialized form in 1897, published simultaneously in Pearson's Magazine in the UK and Cosmopolitan magazine in the US. The first appearance in book form was published by William Heinemann of London in 1898. It is the first-person narrative of an unnamed protagonist in Surrey and that of his younger brother in London as Earth is invaded by Martians. Written between 1895 and 1897, it is one of the earliest stories that detail a conflict between mankind and an extraterrestrial race. The novel is one of the most commented-on works in the science fiction canon. The War of the Worlds has two parts, Book One: The Coming of the Martians and Book Two: The Earth under the Martians. The narrator, a philosophically inclined author, struggles to return to his wife while seeing the Martians lay waste to the southern country outside London. Book One also imparts the experience of his brother, also unnamed, who describes events as they deteriorate in the capital, forcing him to escape the Martian onslaught by boarding a paddle steamer near Tillingham, on the Essex coast.

Amazon's summary of the book.
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