Are there more fantastical World War I novels?
October 17, 2009 11:08 AM   Subscribe

I just finished reading Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld, and really enjoyed it. I'd love to read other World War I novels with fantasy/science-fiction/steampunk twists. Are there any?

I'd also take fantasy/sci-fi/steampunk novels about other wars, like the American Civil War, the Crimean War, the Napoleonic Wars, or possibly imaginary wars set in Victorian/Edwardian times. I've pretty much had my fill of Occult Nazis, though, so unless it's truly amazing, refrain from suggesting World War II novels.

I'd also take movies and games and other media, with the same restrictions, and with the caveat that I've already played Shadow Hearts and the sequel. I've also I've read War of the Worlds and Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell.
posted by Caduceus to Writing & Language (17 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Harry turtledove's Darkness series
posted by Rubbstone at 11:45 AM on October 17, 2009

Naomi Novik's Temeraire books are more of the fantasy twist than steampunk. It's set during the Napoleonic Wars, except dragons exist and are used as an air force.
posted by weathergal at 12:19 PM on October 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

I came here to suggest the Temeraire books as well. I've only read the first one as it was offered as a Kindle freebie, but was really surprised at how enjoyable it was and intend to read more of the series.
posted by peacheater at 12:20 PM on October 17, 2009

Anno Dracula is about a Victorian Britain where Dracula is Queen Victoria's consort. Bloody Red Baron is the World War I immediately following the events of the previous book, where mortals fight during the day, and Vampires fight at night.

For Napoleonic fantasy, do check out His Majesty's Dragon. Great stuff.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 12:22 PM on October 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

Not world war 1, but you made me think of Mortal Engines. Cities have treads and travel the muddy wasteland of Europe eating each other for raw materials. Airships! Anachro-tech! Municipal Darwinism!

They're childrens/young adult books, but if you ever read Harry Potter you'll do fine. Mortal Engines has sequels, but it didn't need them and they're nowhere near as good.
posted by Lorc at 12:23 PM on October 17, 2009

Temeraire books. Yes! Patrick O'Brian meets Anne McCaffrey. Like many others, I read the first one because it was a free Kindle download. Then I bought the others. They are Totally Fun. They are Way Better than they sound. Read them now, before Peter Jackson starts filming them* and they get reissued with "Soon To Be A Major Motion Picture!" covers.

*totally unsubstantiated rumor, though slathered in awesome sauce
posted by BitterOldPunk at 12:55 PM on October 17, 2009

Tim Powers' Declare brings the occult into WWII.
posted by spasm at 1:03 PM on October 17, 2009

Actually not occult in any way, yet still managing to be sciency-fiction, you might check out Cryptonomicon, which is WWII, but is pretty fascinating, by Neal Stephenson. It's set both in modern day and WWII, about the creators and users of encryption. It's absurdly long, and does meander, but it's worth the read, I'd say.
posted by Ghidorah at 2:02 PM on October 17, 2009

You absolutely must read The Difference Engine.
posted by Meatbomb at 2:25 PM on October 17, 2009

Cherie Priest's Boneshaker sounds like it might work for you.
posted by No-sword at 3:30 PM on October 17, 2009

Response by poster: These all sound great, everyone. Keep them coming, and thanks so much!
posted by Caduceus at 5:46 PM on October 17, 2009

I fancied Turtledove's The Two Georges, written with Richard Dreyfuss of all people. It's not WWI — as I recall, it's late 20th century — but it's steamy and zeppeliny and Imperial.

Also maybe L.E. Modesitt's Ghosts of Columbia, or Elizabeth Bear's New Amsterdam?
posted by mumkin at 7:09 PM on October 17, 2009

Try 1632 The Assiti Shards.The premise is that a modern West Virginia town gets sent back to the middle of the Thirty Years War in Germany. Recommended by a friend of mine.
posted by mearls at 8:02 AM on October 18, 2009

Nthing The Bloody Red Baron, which is awesome.
posted by Artw at 8:45 PM on October 18, 2009

If you include comic books in "other media", I'll suggest the comic Arrowsmith by Kurt Busiek and Carlos Pachecho. It's an alternate WW1 fought with magic, dragons, etc.
posted by roosterboy at 4:46 PM on October 19, 2009

Oh, and it's not out yet but Catalyst Game Labs (makers of BattleTech and Shadowrun) has been previewing rules and fiction for their new game Leviathans, which is about flying battleships in the Edwardian era. Might be up your alley, though there's not a whole lot available yet.
posted by roosterboy at 4:50 PM on October 19, 2009

For comics I'd highly recommend Charlie's War - it's had no fantastic elements added and yet still manages to be quite weird and fantastical at times, as well as utterly heartbreaking.
posted by Artw at 4:55 PM on October 19, 2009

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