Wednesday, 20 January 2010

DISCUSSION POINT: Steampunk

Last year there was an explosion around the blogs about this fantastic new genre called Steampunk…  but was it new and was it actually an explosion…

…and more importantly what the hell is Steampunk – I remember when I first heard the word, I giggled, yeah I did, just because it’s one of those words that allowed the imagination to run rampant with possibilities…

Me being me – I started my own little search to get to the bottom of this genre in a more malleable form than some of the more convoluted description that I have seen around the net…

 

Steampunk is a subgenre of speculative fiction or science fiction that emphasizes anachronistic technology, usually from the Victorian age. It is also used to refer to a trend in fashion and music.

Wikipedia ©

 

 

I wont get into the many layers of Steampunk – For today’s discussion I am leaning towards Romance/adventure and Steampunk. Last year we had a few book hit the market and another set are earmarked for this year. Steampunk is traditionally regulated to the Sci-fi or Spec fic area of fiction but since more and more fantasy approach is being incorporated - -the possibilities have become endless..

 

 

 

 

 

 

From the pen of Gail Carriger

I tend to think of there as being two main kinds of Steampunk. The first, and most common, envisions a future as the Victorians imagined it. Steampower dominates (usually at the expense of electricity) and Victorian science, morals, and manners reign supreme. The writings of H.G. Wells and Jules Verne are good starting points. In the alternative option, Steampunk is used to depict a far future world that hearkens back to Victorian culture, for example a bustle dress made of Kevlar. There are other temporal "punks" like clockpunk (c. 1500s) and dieselpunk (WWII).

 

I'm fascinated by Steampunk because it allows me to play with all the intriguing and appealing bits of Victorian era, while ignoring the rotten underbelly (bigotry, slavery, destitution). But then again, I also write with a heavily comedic overtone.

As to where it fits into the genre? Officially, it's a sub-genre of science fiction, which is to say all Steampunk should employ a plot wherein science plays a key role. In common with its Victorian heritage, however, that science can be not-so-very  scientific by modern standards, involving anything from alchemy, to magic, to the paranormal in a Jekyll & Hyde kind of way. To confuse matters further, a new wave of Steampunk authors are   busy exploring tropes of other sub-genres, from paranormal romance to post-apocalyptic dystopian horror.

 

For further info

Here's a link to Gail’s Steampunk page, it has images, as well as links to other more in depth articles, and a long list of Steampunk fiction.
http://www.gailcarriger.com/steampunk.php

 

 

 

Not every romance is about getting down and dirty and Steampunk so does not go that route. That said there is however the adventure of a good team, a team that work – that you want something more to come from their association and Nick Valentino does this so well with Thomas and Cynthia in THOMAS RILEY.

 

 

 

From the pen of Nick Valentino

Steampunk is a slightly difficult thing to describe. The reason being is that it’s can mean different things for different people. The best way to think of it is as alternative history. To narrow this down here is a general idea of how the genre breaks down:

 

  • The setting: Victorian times (mostly in London or in this case Europe-ish).
  • The culture: Inventions, science and alchemy dominate the popular culture of the day.
  • The style: Corsets, vests, overcoats, wire framed spectacles, bowler hats, goggles and cloves.
  • The twist: The world has experienced a huge boom in technology based on steam, clockwork mechanics and alchemy.

 

So the difference between Steampunk history and history as we know it is that steam powered inventions dominate the world. Hence dirigibles, steam weaponry, and everything as we know it is now powered by steam.

So anything imaginable existed in the Victorian period, just with steam power and gears instead of fossil fuels and electricity. So take the pioneering and explorative spirit of the era and multiply it by the ability to fly great distances with heavy weaponry. Watch out though, the world is at war and dangerous sky pirates could be lurking in great airships just beyond the horizon.

 

To me, Steampunk is the expression of mankind’s desire to build, explore, and create, while accompanied by high adventure and sometimes romance. It’s the spirit of the Victorian era with machines that resemble those of the present.

 

~Nick Valentino, Author of Thomas Riley - www.sirthomasriley.com

 

 

I am not going to belabour the point of how far or where Steampunk is going, I want to know what you guys think of Steampunk as a genre and if you haven't thought of it -why not?  if you have what are you jonesing for?

Personally I cannot wait for this genre incorporating the fantasy and romance element to hit the market. It's a change, it gets the juices flowing - we have to rethink our whole way of thinking of a book. Cover artist have also been out in their droves enjoying the limelight that this new genre will and has brought to them.

One of my favourite covers of last year is WHITECHAPEL GODS  - S.M. Peters, I was literally blown away by this cover – I loved it, the book itself could have been a little tighter, a little more detailed – but all in all  I didn’t regret reading it…

 

My Favourite Steampunk cover of last year

A thrilling new Steampunk fantasy from a talented debut author
TWO GODS-ONE CHANCE FOR MANKIND
In Victorian London, the Whitechapel section is a mechanized, steam-driven hell, cut off and ruled by two mysterious, mechanical gods-Mama Engine and Grandfather Clock. Some years have passed since the Great Uprising, when humans rose up to fight against the machines, but a few brave veterans of the Uprising have formed their own Resistance-and are gathering for another attack. For now they have a secret weapon that may finally free them-or kill them all...

 

My Favourite Steampunk read of last year.

Flight is freedom--
but death hangs in the skies

Taya soars over Ondinium on metal wings. She is an icarus, a courier privileged to travel freely across city's sectors and mingle indiscriminately among its castes. But even she cannot outfly the web of terrorism, loyalty, murder, and intrigue that snares her after a daring mid-air rescue. Taya finds herself entangled with the Forlore brothers, scions of an upperclass family: handsome, brilliant Alister, who sits on Ondinium's governing council and writes programs for the Great Engine; and awkward, sharp-tongued Cristof, who has exiled himself from his caste and repairs clocks in the lowest sector of the city. Both hide dangerous secrets, in the city that beats to the ticking of a clockwork heart...

Excerpt and Buy Here

 

Upcoming Releases

 

Two books are earmarked for release this year – that have garnered alot of interest. Firstly there is Kate MacAlister  - STEAMED – due for the shelves on Feb 10th..

Blurb:

Jack Fletcher's heart is about to get punked.

Computer technician Jack Fletcher is no hero, despite his unwelcome reputation as one. In fact, he's just been the victim of bizarre circumstances. Like now. His sister happens to disturb one of his nanoelectromechanical system experiments, and now they aren't where they're supposed to be. In fact, they're not sure where they are when…

…they wake up to see a woman with the reddest hair Jack has ever seen-and a gun. Octavia Pye is an Aerocorps captain with a whole lot of secrets, and she's not about to see her maiden voyage ruined by stowaways. But the sparks flying between her and Jack just may cause her airship to combust and ignite a passion that will forever change the world as she knows it…

Read the Excerpt (PDF)

 

 

Then there is Meljean Brook THE IRON DUKE…. I am having fun watching this book come together…  The blurb has barely had Click to jump onto the postthe time to settle and Ilona Andrews has done her magic and created a FAKE COVER – Yes you heard me right the cover to the right for THE IRON DUKE is not real…. But my word – how brilliant is that… and this is what I love about Steampunk.. it’s is so outside of the box….

Blurb:

After the Iron Duke freed England from Horde control, he instantly became a national hero. Now Rhys Trahaearn has built a merchant empire on the power — and fear — of his name. And when a dead body is dropped from an airship onto his doorstep, bringing Detective Inspector Mina Wentworth into his dangerous world, he intends to make her his next possession.

Mina can’t afford his interest, however. Horde blood runs through her veins, and despite the nanotech enhancing her body, she barely scratches out a living in London society. Becoming Rhys’s lover would destroy both her career and her family, yet the investigation prevents her from avoiding him…and the Iron Duke’s ruthless pursuit makes him difficult to resist.

But when Mina uncovers the victim’s identity, she stumbles upon a conspiracy that threatens the lives of everyone in England. To save them, Mina and Rhys must race across zombie-infested wastelands and treacherous oceans — and Mina discovers the danger is not only to her countrymen as she finds herself tempted to give up everything to the Iron Duke.

© Ilona Andrews – THE IRON DUKE COVER IS FAKE…. THIS IS A FAKE COVER

 

There are fun ways to get involved and find out about this cool upcoming genre

There are workshops available for you to get involved in

Click to get to Romance Diva

 

 

image

Or the personal touch like Nick Valentino has set up with his Sky pirate programme…  which is total fun.. I have been a Sky Pirate since last year and you all had better watch out….

 

 

 

11 Speak To Me:

Tam on 20 January 2010 at 20:10 said...

I am not a big fan of steampunk, I don't think. Maybe I haven't read that much as I only read m/m. It has a definite "historical" feel to it so that maybe is what puts me off not being a fan.

This was the definition I used for the FAQs I did for reviewsbyjessewave:

This usually denotes works set in an era or world where steam power is still widely used — usually in a world similar to the 19th century – with prominent elements of either science fiction or fantasy, such as fictional technological inventions or real technological developments like the computer occurring at an earlier date. Some consider Jules Verne to be the forefather of steampunk and some recent movie examples are The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, Steamboy and Wild West. Examples of m/m steampunk books are Wicked Gentlemen by Ginn Hale and The Sursein Judgement by Jet Mykles.

I know Sean Kennedy is working on a steampunk book and I'm sure other offers as well since it's all the rage. So I'm not chomping at the bit for steampunk books but by the right author I will give it a whirl.

Blodeuedd on 20 January 2010 at 20:27 said...

Fun post EH
I was totally lost when it came to steampunk too. And I sure did not knwo there was dieselpunk, I wonder if that movie I watched, 9 was that, hm.

Have only read one novel but want more

Erotic Horizon on 20 January 2010 at 20:31 said...

@Tam..

I can understand your reluctance to get into this genre as it is veering definitaly towards the historical end...

However as you said in the right authors hand - it can be something special... and worth trying, hope one come through for you this year..

I did know of Hale and Mykles book - but not sure what has held me back from reading them... me and my mood reading system...

I have been really lucky that the steampunk books I have read - They were more on the scale of fair to excellent... THOMAS RILEy is actuialyl rated as a YA, and it's brilliant...

...and I am known to run weeping and wailing at the first mention of YA....

Thank for coming by....

P.S.
My personal favourite of Vernes work is Journey to the Centre of The Earth....

Stunning book...

E.H>

Erotic Horizon on 20 January 2010 at 20:33 said...

@Blodeuedd...

You keep tempting me today - I also want more...

I know this wont be to everyone's taste but I do hope readers at least give it a try...

E.H>

Amy C on 20 January 2010 at 21:02 said...

I am fascinated by the Steampunk concept. While it's not new, only reenergized, revived, what have you, we like to read different things, trends and such. I think this is a fun new alternate world to read into from time to time outside of the common paranormals.

I've only read a few Steampunk novels. And only one of them did I like :). But it had nothing to do with the Steampunk, but the writing, or the story itself.

I absolutely LOVED Clockwork Heart and am waiting and waiting to hear news on the second book!

Chris on 20 January 2010 at 22:15 said...

Eh. It's not something I'll search out specifically. I read Sursein Judgment by Jet Mykles and it was ok. Oh, and back in the day (early 1990s), I read The Difference Engine by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling (I was a huge cyberpunk fan for years).

Sassy Brit on 20 January 2010 at 23:42 said...

I love Steampunk and I have a whole list of books to read - and you can find them on my blog's front page, too. I also set up a Steampunk ongoing challenge. Why ongoing? Because it's one of those genres that not as many people know about - or understand (if I may be so bold!) I love it, but sometimes trying to "sell it" to others is much harder, than say an Urban Paranormal Tale. Saying that, if you go to the right places there's nothing BUT steampunk fans! Oh, and I have a whole list of steampunk links to, my favourite blogs and authors...

And you mentioned one of my fav steampunk films - The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen - is great!

Thanks for a brill post. :)

Kris on 20 January 2010 at 23:45 said...

I love the steampunk genre and am so very looking forward to the work that's coming out this year.

I actually first got into the genre not via fiction, but via anime. The theme is a very popular one in anime and my favourite series is Full Metal Alchemist. It is awesome. :)

Heidi V on 21 January 2010 at 03:10 said...

I have never read it but I love the jewelry and I have watched Steam boy and League of Ext. Gentlemen but that is about as far as I have gone. I'm going to check out the White Chapel Gods and watch out for Steamed. I'm also going to swing by Sassy Brit's blog and find some more suggestions I think I would enjoy this genre. Thanks for this post you have me curious!

Donna [F.D. Ramblings] on 21 January 2010 at 03:17 said...

I can't contribute much on the topic of Steampunk other than I haven't read it yet. I kinda have an idea of what it is. There are a couple of books I have under radar for future perusal. Nice topic!

Erotic Horizon on 21 January 2010 at 12:13 said...

@Amy..

I've only read a few Steampunk novels. And only one of them did I like :). But it had nothing to do with the Steampunk, but the writing, or the story itself.

I agree with you - That was the problem with Whitechapels Gods for me as well - I love the concept - just other things let it down...

Clockwork Heart - I am staking her site for new updates - I am so ready for that book...


E.H>