Karin Lowachee: The Gaslight Dogs cover

The Gaslight Dogs
Karin Lowachee


I kept checking and FINALLY, The Gaslight Dogs by Karin Lowachee (out March 2010 from Orbit) is available for preorder on Amazon !!  I want this book. I’m a big fan of this author’s science fiction trilogy (Warchild, Burndive, Cagebird, although I still need to read that last book), but this new series is going to be steampunk.

Here’s the blurb:
At the edge of the known world, an ancient nomadic tribe faces a new enemy-an Empire fueled by technology and war.

A young spiritwalker of the Aniw and a captain in the Ciracusan army find themselves unexpectedly thrown together. The Aniw girl, taken prisoner from her people, must teach the reluctant soldier a forbidden talent – one that may turn the tide of the war and will surely forever brand him an outcast.

From the rippling curtains of light in an Arctic sky, to the gaslit cobbled streets of the city, war is coming to the frozen north. Two people have a choice that will decide the fates of nations – and may cast them into a darkness that threatens to bring destruction to both their peoples.

Steampunk – the Next Big Thing?

Above artwork is “Steampunk” by John Coulthart

Is Steampunk the new trend in the fantasy genre? I’m beginning to see it everywhere I look. But what is it? The image above has tongue-in-cheek a formula Jeff VanderMeer came up with: Mad Scientist Inventor [invention (steam x airship or metal man / baroque stylings) x (pseudo) Victorian setting] + progressive or reactionary politics x adventure plot = Steampunk.

Some books to look out for:

  • I just read and reviewed (LJ / vox / wordpress) Dru Pagliassotti’s Clockwork Heart. She’s busy working on the second book tentatively titled Obstruction Currents. She has also been working on a third novel with the working title King’s Monster, but I don’t know if that is also steampunk.
  • Karin Lowachee is working on The Gaslight Dogs (she’s the author of an amazing science fiction trilogy Warchild, Burndive, and Cagebird). I haven’t seen much about this one so it may be coming out later from orbit books:
    “Very different from her previous military science fiction novels, this is a Victorian era steampunk novel in the style of Philip Pullman taking us from the Arctic North to steeped rooftops of civilization and the savages to the east. (Fall/Winter 2009)”
  • Liz Maverick is working on Crimson and Steam, which should be out January 2010 and which is set in her Crimson city universe.
The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy ParkerSteamed by Katie MacAlisterSoulless by Gail Carriger

  • Katie MacAlister is working on a Steampunk series that will have it’s first book out in 2010. Her website has this announcement: “I’ve just received the cover to Steamed, the first in a new series of Steampunk romances, which will be out February 2010. The cover isn’t quite finished (you can view a large version of it here), but you can get a sneak peek at it and the back cover copy to see what all the fuss is about. Fluff up your bustle, polish your pocket watch, adjust your goggles, and crank up the Abney Park! It’s steam time, ladies and gentlemen! ”
  • The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker by Leanna Renee Hieber is coming out from Dorchester on 09/09/09 and has a lovely cover. The author calls it a “ghostly, gothic Victorian fantasy”. Looks promising. Link to the book trailer. The cover blurb:
    “What fortune awaited sweet, timid Percy Parker at Athens Academy? Considering how few of Queen Victoria’s Londoners knew of it, the great Romanesque fortress was dreadfully imposing, and little could Percy guess what lay inside. She had never met the powerful and mysterious Professor Alexi Rychman, knew nothing of the growing shadow, the Ripper and other supernatural terrors against which his coterie stood guard. She knew simply that she was different, haunted, with her snow-white hair, pearlescent skin and uncanny gifts. But this arched stone doorway offered a portal to a new life, an education far from the convent—and an invitation to an intimate yet dangerous dance at the threshold of life and death….”
  • Gail Carriger has a book out September from Orbit: Soulless (The Parasol Protectorate):Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations. First, she has no soul. Second, she’s a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette. Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire — and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate. With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London’s high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?SOULLESS is a comedy of manners set in Victorian London: full of werewolves, vampires, dirigibles, and tea-drinking.”
  • Meljean Brook has twittered about a steampunk book with pirates. Research reveals she’s got a new series in the works called the Iron Seas

The books coming out should be interesting. I see both authors with a background in romance and science fiction/fantasy coming into the same genre. I’m really looking forward to the results.

The Galaxy Express: Steampunk Romance Watch

Burndive by Karin Lowachee

Karin Lowachee

Ug, I'm sick and at home feeling like mud, so may as well take the time to catch up with my reviews.

Burndive has been on my TBR pile for about a year and I liked the first book of the series so much (Warchild), that I am not sure why this book was there for so long. Too many books is the likely reason!

Each of the three books of this space opera triology has a different protagonist in the same universe. In this case the story focuses on Ryan Azarcon, a blond, blue eyed celebrity with famous parents. He's very different from Jos Musey, the main character in Warchild – he's more sheltered and protected by his connections, but even those aren't enough for him to stay unaffected by war. While Ryan is on EarthHub, he witnesses a bombing, which affects so deeply the only way Ryan knows how to cope is through self-medication – drugs. And things don't get better when he goes home to Austro, he witnesses more violence in the form of shooting at a nightclub. With his mother the top PR person on Austro and his father an infamous starship captain (who was introduced in Warchild), life is complicated for Ryan, and only seems to get worse. Even the friendship Ryan has with his bodyguard Sid has complications.

This book seemed to start a little before Warchild ended, on a parallel storyline, and then continued where it left off. We meet characters in Warchild like Jos and Warboy, but they are secondary ones. Compared to Jos, I thought that Ryan was 'softer' than him, because he's been lucky enough to be kept apart from the horrors of war by his parents, but Ryan had other skills because of his fame. It was interesting to see Jos and his father through Ryan's eyes though – his upbringing taught him about reading others.

Overall: I recommend these books if you like well written world-building and character driven development. The writing is top-notch, and despite the background in space, it focusses on individuals. I really like the way the characters interacted, especially Ryan and his father and Sid. I wish Lowachee would write a book about how Cairo Azercon was adopted by his parents, I was curious about his background, though some of it was revealed throughout Burndive.

Cagebird is the third and perhaps last of the series. I went to check the author's website and didn't see anything about further books, but I did see news about a new trilogy starting Fall/Winter 2009 which orbit books described as "Victorian era steampunk…in the style of Philip Pullman taking us from the Arctic North to steeped rooftops of civilization and the savages to the east." The first book is The Gaslight Dogs.

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