If you aren’t familiar with the term “Steampunk,” it refers to a genre of fiction (and fashion and art) that combines elements of historical fiction, science fiction, fantasy, and even westerns. Steampunk worlds are archaic in some ways – they often feature Victorian or American western dress, architecture and social mores – but advanced in others – time travel, magic, and elaborate mechanical technology may all be utilized. These stories blend genres and provide something new from the normal trappings of fantasy, science fiction, and speculative historical fiction. GPL acquired several exciting new steampunk novels and story collections in 2014. If one of these catches your eye, head on in and check it out!
The Clockwork Dagger by Beth Cato (Fic Cato). I had the privilege of interviewing Beth Cato for this journal back in November after being enchanted by her wonderful debut novel. If you haven’t had a chance yet to read the interview yet, it’s a great way to get to know this talented new author. Dagger tells the story of Octavia Leander, a gifted magical healer who is being pursued by sinister forces and who must use her wits and talents to save not only her own life, but the lives of several new friends. In the above interview, Cato had this to say about the heroine of her novel:
“For me, it was important to create a heroine who is still very much a woman of her time period and one who is both strong and resourceful. I wanted her physical strength to be a more prominent trait than beauty. There is a lot more feminist fantasy being written these days, and it’s wonderful. It’s empowering. It’s hard for me to read some of the classics where the woman is simply a pretty thing in need of rescuing. I’d much rather go with the Princess Leia type and follow a character who might be captive, but that by no means is a sign of weakness.”
You’ll want to read this book soon – the sequel, titled The Clockwork Crown, comes out in June and will be available at GPL.
The Shotgun Arcana by R. S. Belcher (Fic Belcher). Arcana is set in the fictional Nevada town of Golgotha in 1870, a town populated by a motley assortment of characters both mortal and immortal – a fallen angel, a pirate queen, a mad scientist, a sheriff with coyote blood in him. As if this wasn’t a fraught enough situation as is, a band of outlaws, including murderers and cannibals, descends upon the town to find a powerful ancient relic. This dark steampunk western is full of action, suspense, absurdist horror and a host a unique characters.
The Mammoth Book of Steampunk Adventures edited by Wallace Sean (Fic Sean). This book contains stories from over two dozen up-and-coming science fiction and fantasy writers. This collection, edited by established fantasy author Sean, presses all the right buttons (retro, mechanical buttons, of course) and will delight long-time fans of the genre as well as the newcomers just starting to explore this world of zeppelins, speculative technology, and clockwork wonders.
The Time Roads by Beth Bernobich (Fic Bernobich). Set in the mythical empire of Éire, Bernobich’s book looks at a forgotten region of the empire known as The Anglian Dependencies. In this series of interlocking stories, Bernobich reveals a world that is Europe, but a Europe in which scientists have learned not only how to bend the basic laws of the universe but even how to bend time itself.
The Forever Engine by Frank Chadwick (Fic Chadwick). Jack Fargo must save the world, and he has traveled through time to do so. A former special forces commando who saw action in Afghanistan, Fargo is sent back in time (or across dimensions?) to a world of airships and magic, a world that may soon come to an end if the Old Man of the Mountains succeeds in completing his Forever Engine. Aided by a Scottish physicist, a French spy, and a British officer, it’s up to Fargo to figure out how to prevent catastrophe.
These and many other steampunk fiction titles can be found at Greenville Public Library.