Book Launch: Steampunk Novelette

Update: This book is no longer available to buy as a standalone title. It can be downloaded for free from Patreon.

I have a new ebook out in the world – a steampunk novelette called “By Means of Clockwork Selection”. As a launch promotion, the book is available free on Amazon from 28th August to 1st September (2013). Full book details, and links to all the sellers, can be found on the official book page. Ramblings about the book can be found below.

 

Book Details

The gears on the cover come from an old clock, which I dismantled. There were other neat things in the clock, like a mechanical music movement, which may be coming to a cover near you soon.

And the book description:

Connie survived the plague that devastated plants, animals and clockwork alike. Her life has settled into the relative peace of farming clockwork ponies and marriage to her childhood sweetheart, Bess. But the threat of plague is never far away. Mutated oaks are spreading over the ruins of London and stories of outbreaks abound. She fears the worst when a pony collapses, but the true cause is far more surprising. It might be the key to rebuilding the world.

 

Cupcakes and Plans

Originally, I planned to make cupcakes for big releases only. When I told the family my next book was a steampunk novelette, the response was, “Steampunk cupcakes!” So it looks like I’m making cupcakes for short story releases too. Gears were a challenge as I couldn’t find any cutters locally, so I cut circles and fashioned them into gears.

There are standard gears and sky metal gears (also seen on the cover). The filler cakes have nothing to do with the story, as they were mostly an excuse for adding fudge pieces.

The next thing out will be an urban fantasy novel. Until then, I hope you enjoy this book*!

 

* If you’re of a social media persuasion, you might want to add it to Goodreads or LibraryThing.

Steampunk at Waterstones

A local Waterstones added a steampunk shelf a little while back. It started out as a few books on a special stand, and has slowly mushroomed into a much bigger stand and a table. Last week when we brought a steampunk book*, one of the staff said they’d be launching the steampunk section this week.

No one in the family had any goggles, but we head out anyway. We had to edge past the evil elves** in Santa’s grotto, but made it to the bookstore unharmed. The event was attended by the Hastings Steampunk Society in steampunk costumes, and there were displays of steampunk gadgetry. The itinerary said they’d be tea duelling*** later, though I wasn’t around for that part.

The only thing I do wish is the bookstore had spread it out a bit. They could have cleared one of the display tables for a few hours, to spread the steampunkiness around (which would have make it easier to browse the steampunk books).

Just to prove steampunk really did invade the bookshop, here are some pictures:

Evil Elf

One of the Krampus’s minions. Note the pickaxe.

Gadgets: A brass mask, steampunk books and other gadgets

Steampunk stuff with some of the books on display.

An unknown mechanical metal device

Mechanical closeup. I don’t know what it does either.

Steampunk Fashions: A polystyrene head with a mini hat, goggles made from clock faces and other clock jewellery

Goggle fashions. I’m not quite sure how you see wearing those, but they’re nifty.

Two people from Hastings Steampunk Society

Steampunks from the Hastings Steampunk Society.

One thing I’ve been asked is what books they’re stocking. I took photos this time, and have created a masterlist! (I may have missed some, and some books that were there in the last few weeks had been sold, but it’s a snapshot in time. Or something like that.) Though it’s not a bad list for finding steampunky books, I’d note some series didn’t have all the books present (probably because they’d sold some). Some may be more Victorian fantasy than steampunk, but don’t shoot the messenger… they were on the shelf****.

Novels

  • Captain Nemo – Kevin J. Anderson
  • The Martian Ambassador – Alan K. Baker
  • Phoenix Rising – Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris
  • Blameless – Gail Carriger
  • Heartless – Gail Carriger
  • The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters – G. W. Dahlquist
  • The Difference Engine – William Gibson and Bruce Sterling
  • Anno Frankenstein (Pax Britannia) – Jonathan Green
  • Native Star – M. K. Hobson
  • The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man – Mark Hodder
  • The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack – Mark Hodder
  • Johannes Cabal the Necromancer – Jonathan L. Howard
  • Johannes Cabal the Detective – Jonathan L. Howard
  • The Court of the Air – Stephen Hunt
  • The Kingdom Beyond the Waves – Stephen Hunt
  • The Rise of the Iron Moon – Stephen Hunt
  • Secrets of the Fire Sea – Stephen Hunt
  • Morlock Night – K. W. Jeter
  • The Osiris Ritual – George Mann
  • The Immorality Engine – George Mann
  • Ghosts of War – George Mann
  • The City and The City – China Mieville
  • Anno Dracula – Kim Newman
  • Whitechapel Gods – S. M. Peters
  • The Anubis Gates – Tim Powers
  • Boneshaker – Cherie Priest
  • Dreadnought – Cherie Priest
  • Ganymede – Cherie Priest
  • Necrophenia – Robert Rankin
  • The Mechanical Messiah and Other Marvels of the Modern Age – Robert Rankin
  • Retromancer – Robert Rankin
  • By Light Alone – Adam Roberts
  • Swiftly – Adam Roberts
  • Heart of Iron – Ekaterina Sedia
  • The Alchemy of Stone – Ekaterina Sedia
  • The Diamond Age – Neal Stephenson
  • The Bookman – Lavie Tidhar
  • The Time Machine – H. G. Wells
  • Retribution Falls – Chris Wooding
  • The Black Lung Captain – Chris Wooding
  • The Iron Jackal – Chris Wooding

Other Fiction

  • Steampunk! – Edited by Kelly Link and Gavin J. Grant
  • Boilerplate: History’s Mechanical Marvel – Paul Guinan and Anina Bennett
  • The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (Volume 1) – Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill
  • The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (Volume 2) – Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill
  • Grandville – Bryan Talbot

Non-Fiction

  • The Emperor’s Will – Compiled by John Blanche (Warhammer 40,000 art book)
  • Steampunk Style Jewelry – Jean Campbell
  • Steampunk: The Art of Victorian Futurism – Jay Strongman
  • Steampunk Sourcebook (Dover Pictorial Archives) – M. C. Waldrep

* I say ‘we’, but one of my other family members brought it. I plan to steal it. So it’s both our book in a way.

** They were probably minions of the Krampus! (Oddly on Twitter, the people in #steampunkchat didn’t appear to know about the Krampus. Whereas in Second Life’s steampunk communities, he’s a regular feature of the winter season. The subcultures have subcultures!)

*** I’ve never tea duelled, but my understanding is contestants dunk biscuits in tea and try to eat them without them falling apart.

**** I also find it best to stay well back from genre classification arguments, as they can be scary, scary places. I know at least one of the books I’d call steampunk, the author created a brand new genre for their book. It didn’t catch on.

Steam-Powered: Lesbian Steampunk Stories – JoSelle Vanderhooft (editor)

Steam-Powered CoverSeries: Steam-Powered, #1
First Published: January, 2011
Genre: Steampunk / Short Story Anthology
Authors: Mike Allen; Rachel Manija Brown; Georgina Bruce; Amal El-Mohtar; Sara M. Harvey; Meredith Holmes; N.K. Jemisin; Mikki Kendall; Matthew Kressel; Shira Lipkin; D.L. MacInnes; Shweta Narayan; Tara Sommers; Beth Wodzinski; Teresa Wymore
Available: Amazon.com | Amazon UK

There were a few stories I particularly liked. “To Follow The Waves” by Amal El-Mohtar was one, set in Syria with dream crafting technology. The post-apocalyptic Western “Suffer Water” by Beth Wodzinski was also a fun story. Overall though, a lot of the stories didn’t really hold my attention.

The Kindle edition has no formatting, making it harder to read. If you’re going to buy it, the print edition is probably a better bet.

Music Videos: Steampunk

It’s time for more music videos with speculative stuff*. This time, I’m dedicating it to steampunk taking over the world! The ones I’ve selected range from classic steampunk to modern. It’ll make sense once you see the videos (hopefully).

‘Eye of the Storm’ – Lovett

Eye of the Storm

Music Genre: Alternative / Rock

Video Genre: Fantasy Steampunk

About the Band: Lovett is an independent band, fronted by Ben Lovett. Ben also works as a film score composer.

About the Video: A mysterious man goes on a journey in his steampunk airship. The cinematic feel is most likely due to how it was created: Ben had friends in the film industry, who worked on the project for free.

The mix of computer animation and live action creates a unique effect. Also, a dragon! Well worth watching.

YouTube Links:

Eye of the Storm
The Making of the Video

‘Westward Backwards’ – [ME]

Westward Backwards

Music Genre: Alternative

Video Genre: Steampunk

About the Band: [ME] (also listed as ME) is a new band.

About the Video: A classic steampunk tale of a mad scientist. No steampunk collection is complete without a mad scientist. The video has a jerky style, which gives the impression of old film.

YouTube Links:

Westward Backwards

‘Airship Pirate’ – Abney Park

Airship Pirate

Music Genre: Pop / Sea Shanty

Video Genre: Steampunk Subculture

About the Band: Abney Park is a steampunk band, featuring steampunky lyrics and steampunk subculture costumes. These are the sort of people you’d find wandering around steampunk conventions.

About the Video: This one doesn’t tell a story. It’s a performance video with the band singing in a club. Yay for airship pirates!

YouTube Links:

Airship Pirate

‘Doncamatic’ – Gorillaz featuring Daley

Doncamatic

Music Genre: Pop

Video Genre: Modern Steampunkish

About the Band/Singer: Gorillaz are a band known for only appearing as cartoons. Daley is a British singer.

About the Video: Daley pilots a submarine through dangerous waters. He receives transmissions of the Gorillaz singing, shown on a screen in his sub.

Modernised steampunk is one of those debatable things. There aren’t gears and steam here, but there is a focus on manual controls, do-it-yourself construction and a brass submarine. As far as I’m concerned, it has a steampunky vibe to it… and even if you disagree, it’s still a fun video.

YouTube Links:

Doncamatic

* The first post like this was back in 2008 (you can read it here: Music Mondays). I called it Music Mondays then, but Mashable has a feature called that apparently. And I didn’t post on Monday anyway. So now, it’s just music videos. Humbug on other people loving alliterations too!

Steampunk in Bards and Sages Quarterly

I have a piece of flash fiction out in Bards and Sages Quarterly (October 2010). ‘Clockwork Fly’ has a steampunk vibe, which probably isn’t a surprise from the name.

It’s not a free-to-read publication, but if you’re a subscriber (or want to check it out), here are the details:

Main Website – The e-versions are probably best price-wise for most people (Kindle or PDF), though it is also available as a physical book.

In random tangent notes, one of the other authors in this issue is a Blake. You’d think this’d come up more often, as Blake is a pretty common surname, but it seems there aren’t very many writing fantasy and science fiction. Either that are they’re all using pen names.