Colonel Carey (from The Key and Girl Gone Nova) takes a test “flight” through the Garradian time-space portal, but an unexpected impact lands him somewhere and some when. As he attempts to get to Area 51, he crosses paths with Miss Olivia Carstairs, who could be Mary Poppins’ twin sister. Or maybe her cousin. Olivia’s got a steam powered transmogrification machine and a mouth he’d like to kiss like it was his job—unless she shoots him with her derringer.
Make sure you stick around to the end. We’ll be giving away a Tangled in Time inspired gift set.
Steampunk? Um, what?
by Pauline Baird Jones
Steampunk literature first popped into my horizon because of The Galaxy Express. Owner/operator, Heather Massey is a big Steampunk fan. Just like many readers, I went, “Huh?” when I first heard the term. I did a little digging, became curious, and dipped a cautious toe into the mix by trying out Gail Carriger’s Soulless. Looking back, I’d call it Steampunk-lite, since it has more paranormal elements than anachronistic technology, but I was charmed by the Victorian heroine. Of course, how can you not be charmed by a lady who uses her parasol to protect her complexion and her virtue? One who is at the front lines of female emancipation? Or not long to write one—though mine also has a derringer and the heart and mind of a scientist.
So what gives a story its Steampunk vibe? At its core, Steampunk is both Victorian and has some element of anachronistic, steam-driven technology. Other tropes include airships and automatons, and some even have zombies (The Affinity Bridge). There may also be elements of alternate history (Leviathan), alternate reality (Boneshaker), or time travel (my Tangled in Time). Of course, all of it is alternate reality in some form because it’s all fiction. Victorian history didn’t develop steam driven high tech, but it did spawn a lot of imaginative fiction (Jules Verne and HG Wells, for instance) that some now call the first Steampunk fiction.
What I like in my Steampunk (and in others’) is a sense of humor, a bit of whimsy, and I’m always there for a romantic adventure. If you read Tangled in Time, you will also find some science fiction romance because like to mix up the genres a bit. Or a lot.
One advantage of science fiction romance is the freedom to create a variety of cross-genre stories. In your case, you began mixing Steampunk with military SF space opera. At first glance, the mix seems oxymoronic, but I felt that the Steampunk elements in Tangled in Time felt pretty organic to your existing universe.”
I was happy to read this, because I’d tried hard to make all the elements in the story essential — and yes organic — to the story line. I’m not personally fond of any plot element that is only there so the heroine and heroine can meet, though I will confess it took some heavy thinking to make it all “organic.”
Tangled in Time started with a character, that parasol toting, Victorian lady with a scientific bent and then meshed with my need to write a short story for an anthology about Texas Landmarks. I’d already chosen Big Bend National Park—which didn’t exist as a park in the 1890’s when my heroine lived and fought to be who and what she was—so right off I knew it would be a time travel. Big Bend has a very interesting history, including an airfield developed to fight Pancho Via, that also was used to train pilots (who also liked to fish in the Rio Grande) late into the 1940’s. It’s also not far from the mysterious Marfa lights.
My juices began to churn, but I needed a hero for my heroine. It was lucky that I happened to have a guy in need of a girl who been in the supporting case of my two, science fiction romance novels, and I also happened to have an alien artifact that allowed travel through time (though with uncertain results—always good for causing adventures).
With the various pieces spinning inside my head (a place scarier than some Haunted houses), I began writing a story that was supposed to stop at 7,000 words. When I hit 6,000 with a lot of story left to tell, I knew I wasn’t writing a short story anymore. In the end, the story fell short of novel length and will release as a novella this December.
Early reviewer and reader response has been wonderful, thankfully:
“I read this Sci Fi/Steampunk Romance Novella ARC for the author and I couldn’t put it down. It was wonderful with great gentle humor!” Reviews by Martha
“I can’t thank Pauline enough for exposing me to a new genre. I absolutely recommend reading Tangled in Time to science geeks and non-nerds alike. Pauline has the art of subtle romance down, which is something I can now say that I have been missing on my reading list. Tangled in Time is perfectly executed and an absolutely satisfying read!” Http://FirePages.wordpress.com
If you’re like me, and have been looking for some action and adventure without all the detailed bloodletting, I heartily recommend both SFR and Steampunk. Both genres have been growing and flourishing under a lot of readers’ radar. If you’ve read it, please share your favorites in either genre and if you’re looking for something different, post your wish list. It’s the holidays, so wishes ought to come true, don’t you think?
The novella also inspired my wonderful sister-in-law to brew up some lavender soap and other (his and hers) goodies that one lucky commenter can win by leaving a comment below.
Pauline Baird Jones is the award-winning author of nine novels of science fiction romance, action-adventure, suspense, romantic suspense and comedy-mystery. Her latest release and EPIC Book Award finalist, is Girl Gone Nova and she is in the process of re-issuing her back list. Her seventh novel, Out of Time, an action-adventure romance set in World War II, is an EPPIE 2007 winner. Her eighth novel, The Key won an Independent Book Award Bronze Medal (IPPY) for 2008 and is a 2007 Dream Realm Awards Winner. She also has short stories in several anthologies. Originally from Wyoming, she and her family moved from New Orleans to Texas before Katrina.
Want to purchase Pauline’s novels?
The Spy Who Kissed Me (aka Pig in a Park) at Amazon or the Book Depository
Do Wah Diddy Die at Amazon or the Book Depository
A Dangerous Dance at Amazon
Out of Time at Amazon or the Book Depository
The Key at Amazon or the Book Depository
Made Up Mayhem at Amazon or the Book Depository
Girl Gone Nova at Amazon or the Book Depository
Tangled in Time at Amazon
Thank you Pauline for visiting Literary Escapism.
Contest Time! Pauline has graciously offered to give away a Tangled in Time inspired gift set. All you have to do is answer this one question: Have you read any steampunk? What are your thoughts? Or simply ask Marcus a question.
As always, there’s more ways of getting your name in the hat (remember, these aren’t mandatory to enter, just extra entries):
- +1 for each place you post about today’s contest on your blog, social network, or anywhere you can. Digg it, stumble it, twit it, share it with the world. Wherever you share it, make sure you add a link to it along with your answer.
- +1 to any review you comment on, however, comments must be meaningful. Just give me the title of the review and I’ll be able to figure it out from there.
- +1 If you are a follower of Literary Escapism on Facebook and/or Twitter
- +10 Purchase any of Pauline’s novels (listed above) or any novel through LE’s Amazon store or the Book Depository sometime during this contest and send a copy of the receipt VIA email for your purchase to: jackie AT literaryescapism DOT com. Each purchase is worth ten entries.
One thing I do add to my contests…the winner must post a review of the novel someplace. Whether it is on their own blog, Amazon, GoodReads, LibraryThing or wherever, it doesn’t matter. Just help get the word out.