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alternate history

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan is a thoroughly delightful Young Adult novel, the first in a series based on an alternate history World War I. In this history Charles Darwin discovered the genetic basis for evolution, and how to manipulate it. As a result the United Kingdom and its allies have a society based on biotechnology, an example of which is the airship Leviathan, a huge beast (or colony of organisms) based on whale DNA and much more. By contrast the Germans, Austrians, and their allies, called Clankers, use steampunk-flavored machinery: airplanes and zeppelins, but also great walking land war machines.