My apologies for promising a Doctor Who series this Christmas, and producing nothing. End of term marking was brutal this year, and then I fell ill and spent my holidays convalescing. I can only hope the next year is better for the blog.
As always, my list is somewhat incomplete, given that I have not read every work of steampunk released in 2012. I no longer purchase steampunk books, for the simple fact that the entirety of the ARC stack remains unread every year. Nevertheless, of the books I chose to read (and even that is a statement about the books that remained unread, is it not?), these are the best and brightest. While this year produced so much excellent steampunk I could easily have made this a top 10 list, I prefer the exclusivity that a top five list provides. This year is an anomaly, in that it contains Brian J. Robb's, Steampunk, which is not a work of fiction, but is, for my money, the best coffee-table book on the history of steampunk.
Alverhuysen and John Creedmore with fresh eyes was a welcome change. Too many series fail for a lack of innovation beyond "the story continues," but that is not the case with Ransom City. In addition to being a strong addition to the Half-made World series, the book is an excellent example of self-reflexive fiction, complete with a somewhat untrustworthy narrator, a frame narrative reminiscent of Cervantes, nested tales, and ruminations on the nature of reality and fiction, which makes Ransom City an excellent choice for steampunk scholars.
Special mention goes to Devon Monk's Dead Iron, which was published in 2011, but I didn't get the chance to read it until this year. It's an excellent page-turner set in a steampunk old-West filled with werewolves and Faeries. Think Holly Black meets Hell on Wheels and you have the right feel. Kudos also go out to Rush for Clockwork Angels, but I only add reads on this list, and while I'd like to bend the rules for Neil Peart's lyrics-as-poetry, I'll have to wait until I've read the accompanying book to judge whether Kevin J. Anderson's novelization belongs on this list or not. I'll be writing full reviews of these books in the weeks to come, now that the dissertation is behind and the blog alone ahead. Happy New Year, everyone!
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