Everfair, by Nisi Shawl, is a steampunk alternate history of how things might have been better.
Specifically, it examines the Belgian Congo (which in the modern day is the Democratic Republic of the Congo). It asks “what if” — what if a group of idealistic colonists, former American slaves, and many groups of indigenous people fought against the brutalities of Belgian King Leopold’s government, and formed their own country? What if there was a little more technology and a little more magic?
The book is a bit closer to an anthology than a novel, with the action spread across continents and decades. The contents are a well-researched alternate history, from the limb-chopping atrocities of the Belgian forces to the wealth of natural resources they came for.
Well, this is a book I read. It was mostly fun, I suppose, but I didn’t like it as much as the critics apparently did. The main storyline was fine, but the exploration of the world left something to be desired.
The Court of the Air, by Stephen Hunt, is described as a Dickensian steampunk fantasy novel.
And… it pretty much is, but it’s not really a good thing.
The Aeronaut’s Windlass is a new book from Jim Butcher (the author behind The Dresden Files) and it is nifty.
It’s also the first book in a planned nine-book series (called The Cinder Spires). My plan is to buckle in for a wild ride.
Also: not too many spoilers here, so go right on ahead.