Steampunkapalooza is here!!!
First off, I’d like to announce the winners of our Steampunkapalooza kickoff giveaway of five copies of Rise of the Iron Moon.
And the winners are…
Please contact me at suzannelazear (@) hotmail to collect your prize.
Today to officially kick off Steampunkapalooza 2011, I am very excited to introduce Caitlin Kittredge. I also have a copy of her new YA Steampunk The Iron Thorn to giveaway to one lucky commenter.
Caitlin Kittredge writes the Iron Codex novels, steampunk fantasy for young adults. She also writes urban fantasy and horror for adult audiences. She lives in Massachusetts with comic books, cats and far too many vintage dresses.
Why Steampunk Fantasy
by Caitlin Kittredge
I get the question a lot: Why steampunk fantasy? Why choose to set a story about Lovecraftian monsters, evil faeries and blood-drinking nightstalkers in an alternate 1950s where steam power runs the world and the atomic age never came to be? Couldn’t I just as easily have set my novel in modern-day Akron, Ohio?
No offense to the lovely city of Akron, but yes and no. I love steampunk—I was a genre fan long before I decided to take a crack at writing it. More than steampunk, though, I love genre remixes—two unexpected story elements juxtaposed so they prop each other up, rather than conflicting. One thing that always surprised me, though, was the rigidity of some steampunk proponents. It must be set in the Victorian era. It must only have a science fiction basis, no magic, monsters or otherworldly creatures mucking it up. Not to say that you can’t choose what steampunk is your steampunk—you absolutely can, and should.
My steampunk happens to have tentacle monsters.
Steampunk called out to the type of story I wanted to write—one not just about a girl trying to save her brother from the machinations of the faerie court, but one about a totilitarian government who keeps its citizens “safe” with its great machines, but also uses those same machines to grind dissidents under its heel. Take away the vast winds of change swept in by the Manhattan Project, and you’ve got a government that won World War II with the help of steam, a government that demanded total obedience from its people, lest they lose faith in science and reason and allow the unthinkable to happen—to allow in the magic that, though science might try to stamp it out, is evident in every corner of the world I created.
Steampunk usually features at least some alternate history, and I love it. I love asking what if, so when I decided to write my alternate history, big steam powered cities and fleets of dirigibles slotted themselves in pretty naturally. I also think it’s a genre that suits itself wonderfully to combining with others. The rigidity doesn’t need to be your steampunk. I don’t necessarily follow the “steampunk can be anything you want” school of thought—goggles and gears don’t make a story, movie, or whatever steampunk on their own—but I do think it cries out for fresh blood, for new elements, be they fantasy, mystery, horror, what have you.
So that’s why steampunk fantasy, on my end. I’d love to keep combining, keep remixing. I get so excited when I authors or creators doing things like noir steampunk, 1920s grit and darkness fused with automatons and ray guns, or Imperial Japanese steampunk, set during the conflicts of Meiji Japan. (Steam-powered samurai, anyone?)
Those are my remixes. I’d love to hear some of yours!
Contest ends Sunday, April 10th at 11:59 PST. Open internationally.