Fantasy, Steampunk || Flying straight from the pages of the Gideon Smith steampunk novels is airship pilot Rowena Fanshawe, who in this tale pre-dating the books discovers that heroes do not necessarily always behave with honor.
Alternate History, Steampunk || Young Gideon Smith has seen things that no green lad of Her Majesty's dominion should ever experience. Through a series of incredible events Gideon has become the newest Hero of the Empire. But Gideon is a man with a mission, for the dreaded Texas pirate Louis Cockayne has stolen the mechanical clockwork girl Maria, along with a most fantastical weapona great brass dragon that was unearthed beneath ancient Egyptian soil. Maria is the only one who can pilot the beast, so Cockayne has taken girl and dragon off to points east.
Flying straight from the pages of the Gideon Smith steampunk novels is airship pilot Rowena Fanshawe, who in this tale pre-dating the books discovers that heroes do not necessarily always behave with honor.
This short story was acquired and edited for Tor.com by senior editor Claire Eddy.
I didn’t have to wait very long for the—as the Tor.com guidelines for the That Was Awesome series phrase it—“small and/or crystallizing moment that [I] absolutely loved in a fellow author’s book or story” in Kameron Hurley’s God’s War.
It came on the very first line.
In case you haven’t read it yet, here it is: “Nyx sold her womb somewhere between Punjai and Faleen, on the edge of the desert.”
Nineteenth century London is the center of a vast British Empire, a teeming metropolis where steam-power is king and airships ply the skies, and where Queen Victoria presides over three quarters of the known world—including the east coast of America, following the failed revolution of 1775.
Young Gideon Smith has seen things that no green lad of Her Majesty’s dominion should ever experience. Through a series of incredible events Gideon has become the newest Hero of the Empire. But Gideon is a man with a mission, for the dreaded Texas pirate Louis Cockayne has stolen the mechanical clockwork girl Maria, along with a most fantastical weapon—a great brass dragon that was unearthed beneath ancient Egyptian soil. Maria is the only one who can pilot the beast, so Cockayne has taken girl and dragon off to points east.
Gideon and his intrepid band take to the skies and travel to the American colonies hot on Cockayne’s trail. Not only does Gideon want the machine back, he has fallen in love with Maria. Their journey will take them to the wilds of the lawless lands south of the American colonies—to free Texas, where the mad King of Steamtown rules with an iron fist (literally), where life is cheap and honor even cheaper.
David Barnett’s Gideon Smith and the Brass Dragon is a fantastical steampunk fable set against an alternate historical backdrop. Get it September 16th from Tor Books!
When you put two authors together, interesting things are bound to happen. Such was the case when David Barnett, award-winning journalist and author of Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl, got to talk with Ben Peek about his latest novel, The Godless. Peek tells the story of a world built upon the bodies of dying gods, a young apprentice with powerful new abilities, and a war that threatens to tear everything apart.
Tor has followed The Godless from its cover reveal to a sneak peek at the first five chapters, and now we get to know the man behind the mythical realm. Check below the cut for walkabouts in the outback, what’s next for Ben Peek, and psychedelic koalas!
Spring, 1890, and England needs a hero. Gideon Smith is yet to step up to the role as public protector of the Empire, but in the background and the shadows, Mr Walsingham pulls strings to keep the often outlandish threats to Britain and her interests at bay. It is a role that lies heavy on his shoulders, and here we find him composing his end-of-year report to Queen Victoria. “Business As Usual” is a standalone novelette that takes place some months before the events of the forthcoming steampunk/Victoriana novel from Tor Books (Snowbooks in the UK), Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl, which is published in September.
This novelette was acquired and edited for Tor.com by Senior Editor Claire Eddy.
“Work Sets You Free,” by David Barnett, is an original short story featuring the protagonist of the forthcoming novel Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl (Tor Books [US] and Snowbooks [UK], September 2013). Gideon is a young fisherman in Yorkshire, England, in an alternate 1890, who embarks on a journey to find Captain Lucian Trigger, the famed Hero of the Empire, to deal with a mystery plaguing his home village. This story takes place as the naive Gideon sets off for London, but on the way encounters a very dark side to the British Empire's insatiable hunger for resources….
This original novelette was acquired and edited for Tor.com by senior editor Claire Eddy.
Nineteenth century London is the center of a vast British Empire. Airships ply the skies and Queen Victoria presides over three-quarters of the known world—including the East Coast of America, following the failed revolution of 1775.
London might as well be a world away from Sandsend, a tiny village on the Yorkshire coast. Gideon Smith dreams of the adventure promised him by the lurid tales of Captain Lucian Trigger, the Hero of the Empire, told in Gideon’s favorite “penny dreadful.” When Gideon’s father is lost at sea in highly mysterious circumstances Gideon is convinced that supernatural forces are at work. Deciding only Captain Lucian Trigger himself can aid him, Gideon sets off for London. On the way he rescues the mysterious mechanical girl Maria from a tumbledown house of shadows and iniquities. Together they make for London, where Gideon finally meets Captain Trigger…
Author Ben Aaronovitch’s hugely successful series of urban fantasy/police procedural novels featuring a copper who becomes a trainee wizard with the Met is to become a TV series in the UK.
Aaronovitch—brother to journalist David—confirmed today that his Peter Grant series of novels is heading for the small screen courtesy of Feel Films, the production company behind the forthcoming TV adaptation of Susannah Clarke’s Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell.
Being a) a wishy-washy liberal, b) British and c) made of flesh and blood, I’ve never really had much truck with guns in my fantasy fiction—I even used to get a bit twitchy whenever Batman picked up a firearm, and the Punisher just made me downright queasy.
But monkeys with guns, that’s a different matter altogether. Who doesn’t like a shooter-sporting simian? There’s something reassuringly fantastical about an ape with a weapon, yet something horribly possible. And fans of gun-toting gorillas have never been more spoiled for choice.
Just shy of half a century since the young Michael Moorcock took the editorial helm of a long-running magazine called New Worlds and ushered in a new age of avant-garde science fiction, it appears that we might be in the throes of the birth of a new New Wave.
The original New Wave moved away from shiny futures and bug-eyed monsters and offered more experimental literature, both in technique and subject matter, perhaps best exemplified a couple of years later in 1967 when Harlan Ellison released his Dangerous Visions anthology, bringing new voices, new ideas and a new way of telling stories to take over from the rocket-ships and square-jawed heroes that had gone before. New Wave also brought to the fore many more female writers, such as Joanna Russ and James Tiptree, Jr.
But does the emergence of a new aesthetic in (largely) contemporary British SF signal a similar movement nearly 50 years on?
There is some corner of England that will forever be a foreign field—creepily familiar but horrifyingly other. Welcome to Scarfolk; you might even survive the experience.
Scarfolk is the latest stop on a psychogeographical tour of the United Kingdom that probably starts on the Summerisle of the original Wicker Man movie and chugs off—watched by silent villagers in animal masks—towards the Royston Vasey of the League Of Gentlemen TV series.
Some years ago I was lucky enough to meet Ray Harryhausen in Bradford, West Yorkshire, when he visited the city’s National Media Museum to unveil a permanent exhibition of his private collection of models, drawings and designs for some of the most famous monsters in film-land.
A crowd-funding appeal to create a life-sized bronze bust of weird fiction writer HP Lovecraft, to be installed in the author’s hometown of Providence, Rhode Island, has hit its target after only two days.
The name of Lovecraft, who died in Providence in 1937 aged 46, has become synonymous with the cosmic horror presented in such tales as The Shadow over Innsmouth, the Colour Out Of Space and, perhaps most famously, The Call of Cthulhu.
Could a book with wooden covers and bound together with string and brown paper actually be the future shape of how we digest literature in the digital age? A new project involving Neil Gaiman and Nick Harkaway suggests it might.