Friday, June 12, 2009
Posted by Liane Gentry Skye
I read somewhere recently that insofar as romance editor aquistions are concerned, steampunk is the new black. If this statement proves true, then it's downright serendipitous considering I'm neck deep in two steampunk manuscripts. Not that I knew these stories were steampunk when I started them. It's just that airborne temples, alternate histories, and clock driven hearts started popping up all over the place and then...well, they were kinda just written that way, to paraphrase my favorite bad girl, Jessica Rabbit.
What I didn't know when I started these two stories is that steampunk is reaching beyond its fringe fan base and drawing in mainstream readers by droves. Suddenly, there's a lot of talk among writers about exactly what steampunk is. Same as with urban fantasy when *that* was the new black, I've found as many definitions of steampunk as there are titles representing the genre. While my steampunk stories in progress are quite--well---steamy, that's not what the term is referring to. Quite literally, steampunk refers to the age of steam power, and is often written in a speculative world, heavy on Victorian influences, where Industrial Revolution technologies such as steam engines, clocks and Jules Verne type contraptions reign supreme--but not necessarily so. :) Got it? Yeah, I know, it's about as clear as mud.
So, think Alice In Wonderland meets Frankenstein, and yeah, that would be steampunk. Or Jules Verne meets Sherlock Holmes in a world where the the surprise air raid at Pearl Harbor forced America to surrender. What if Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid had staged their raids on air ships to fund an uprising in the midst of a feudal land war?
Still confused? Yeah, me, too. But I'm learning enough about the genre to know that entire cons are now dedicated to the Age of Steam, and yes, I'm chafing at the bit to get myself out to Steamcon. With all this information jamming the works in my brain, is any wonder that the yet-to-be-released manuscript I've heard the most groundswell buzz about, is indeed, a steampunk title? From what I've read, the upcoming title, The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker wraps everything I love about steampunk into a breathtaking bundle, and in my opinion, represents one of the freshest offerings I've seen come down the pipes for a long while. And let's face it. When authors such as C. L. Wilson sing the praises of a yet to be released manuscript from a little known author, a girl pays attention and hits the pre-order button pronto.
If you're anything like me, a picture's indeed worth a thousand words. So if you're still scratching your head wondering what the blazes steampunk is, I introduce to you the book trailer for LeAnna Renee Hibbard's upcoming release, The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker. Yes, I am dying to read this book . So LeAnna, if you're out there, just want you to know that I'm probably going to be in jail for stalking the UPS guy the day after your book is released. I want it *that* badly!
Hopefully, someday soon we can get LeAnna to the blog to tell us her bordering-on-grueling sale story. As for our readers, tell me your take on steampunk. Are you interested, uninterested, or is today the first you've heard of the genre? My future sales are depending on what you tell me here, though I feel pretty certain the steam-powered train I've stowed a ride on isn't going to stop anytime soon for something so trivial as my ability to actually sell my steampunks...