Monday, August 15, 2011

"Steampunk is what happens when Goths discover brown..."

This is a photo of author Cherie Priest. Just as I try not to judge a book by it's cover (but I do anyway), I try not to judge an author by her author photo (so I will anyway). This photo is just too much fun. Let's see if we can pin her down.

1) She has blue hair!
2) She is wearing aviator goggles
3) Fingerless gloves. Check.
4) She appears to be posing
in some sort of a steamship/factory/military base

Now, if we add all of these elements together and factor in the major clue in the word "steamship", we can make an educated guess that Cherie Priest is a steampunk fan. The best description of steampunk that I've heard so far is "polite punk", or technology meets romance. For a lengthier definition, see here:

Priest is probably best known for her award-winning steampunk novel, Boneshaker. Dreadnought was written after Boneshaker and has some of the same characters, but it's not necessary to read the books in sequence. So, because Boneshaker was on backorder with the publisher, I decided that to give Dreadnought a go.

Dreadnought is marvellously pulpy, with a remarkable, strong, female character who makes her male counterparts sit up and take notice, thank you very much. Mercy Lynch is whip-smart, sassy and funny. Here's a little sample of her awesomeness:

"It's funny what they say about men in uniform - how people think women just can't resist 'em. Fact is, I think we're just pleased to see a man groomed, bathed, and wearing clothes that fit him."

She knows how to defend herself, is not afraid to travel alone, and is shrewd enough to unravel the mystery at the heart of his story, largely on her own.

Dreadnought takes place during the Civil War (or Priest's version of) and begins with the heroine of the novel, Nurse Mercy Lynch , receiving a telegram informing her that her estranged father is gravely ill. She leaves her post at the hospital and begins the long, dangerous trip across the country, first by zeppelin and them by train. Zeppelin crashes, armoured battle trains, wild-west type ambushes and zombies figure prominently in the a high-energy tale that ensues.

Dreadnought reminded me of everything that was good and smart and fun about Joss "Buffy" Whedon's wild-west television series Firefly. I loved this book and anxiously await the the arrival of Boneshaker!


Anonymous said...

I really liked the article, and the very cool blog

Clare said...

I look forward to reading this one!


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