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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Steampunk Explained

We are pleased to have Gail Dayton as our guest PAN blogger as she explains to us one of the latest trends.

Steampunk is one of the new trends in science fiction/fantasy, and in
paranormal romance, but there are still a lot of people out there who aren¹t
quite sure what it is. My latest release from Tor Paranormal Romance, NEW
BLOOD, is a Victorian steampunk fantasy romance, so I thought I¹d take my
guest slot here at the FF&P blog to explain steampunk.

The word itself is fairly new. It comes from the word ³cyberpunk² which
refers to science fiction based on the Internet, or computers. Steampunk, in
its most basic form, refers to historical science fiction or fantasy. Jules
Verne¹s books could be considered steampunk, had they been written today.

He has fantastical machines and science, but based on the technology of the
Victorian era. Naomi Novik¹s Napoleonic-Wars-with-dragons novels are
fantasy, rather than science fiction, but they are generally considered to
fall into the steampunk category. It¹s speculative fiction, taking place in
³real² historical eras.

In terms of film or television, the movies "League of Extraordinary
Gentlemen" and "Wild, Wild West" are both steampunk stories. They both take
place in historical, steam-driven eras, and use machines and science that
were not possible in that time. Even fantasy, since LXG has a vampire in it.

My book, NEW BLOOD, takes place in Victorian-era Europe in a world where
magic is commonplace. (Do not let the cover of the book scare you. There are
no rivers of blood in this book. Just a few tiny drops.) Most people have
the ability to work simple spells for eliminating mustiness, for example, or
warding away ghosts, but some have the talent to do more, to become
virtuosos of magic. But during the witch-burnings of the 17th century, the
last blood sorceress was killed, women were banned from practicing magic,
and the blood magic of sorcery was lost.

Jax, blood servant of the last sorceress, has been searching for a new
sorceress, and finally finds her in the Carpathian wilderness. Amanusa turns
away from blood magic at first, fearing its evil, but she wants justice on
those who¹ve ruined her life. When she sets the magic loose, she must flee
for her life across a ravaged Europe, with Jax who is bound to her by blood
and magic.

The story is a quest and a romance, the beginning of a series which will
continue in February 2010 with a murder mystery on London¹s dark East End

Have I cleared up any confusion? Have I whetted any appetites for steampunk
stories? (Like mine, hint, hint--) I sure hope so! :)


Deborah Schneider said...

Hi Gail,
I just spent the weekend reading "New Blood" and loved it. I'm so glad there will be a sequel.
I'm going to try a steampunk, since I write in the Victorian era anyway and am a closet "science geek" it seems the best way to combine so many wonderful pieces.

Lisa said...

"New Blood" sounds very interesting, but I don't understand why it's Steampunk? What's the technology in the story? Wild Wild West had all sort of gadgets, for instance. There's definitely room for Fantasy elements, such as the vampire in LXG that you mentioned, but it happens alongside steampunk tech like clockworks. At least that's how I've understood it.