Tag Archives: speculative fiction

Guest Post Third Daughter: Multicultural Steampunk by Susan Kaye Quinn

10 Mar
The Third Daughter of the Queen wants to marry for love, but rumors of a new flying weapon force her to accept a barbarian princeís proposal of a peace-brokering marriage.

Third Daughter: Multicultural Steampunk
by Susan Kaye Quinn

What is steampunk? Most people have a vague idea that steampunk stories, as a genre, “have steam power in them” and, as an aesthetic, steampunk looks something like 19th century Victorian England. From brass goggles to buttoned-up costumes, movies like Sherlock Holmes, books like Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan, and costumes from the tinkers and crafters DIY culture, all give us a feel for this British-centric steampunk.

But a closer look at the many cool steampunk books coming out today reveals stories and characters moving “Beyond Victoriana” into cultures that existed outside Britain in the 19th century… or even cultures that are entirely fantasy analogues of the ones existing at that time.

When I set out to write Third Daughter (set in an analog east-India that I call Steampunk Goes to Bollywood), I didn’t intend to write multicultural steampunk. I started with a princess named Aniri sneaking out to meet her lover Devesh in the fantasy country of Dharia. As I developed the characters and the plot, I quickly realized that all my characters were east-Indian, and that the three countries tangled up in political intrigues and saber-rattling were actually analogs for the East-West conflicts that can be found in modern India today, as well as the cultural conflicts felt by Indians who live outside of the subcontinent. Don’t ask me why, but my steampunk was flavored east-Indian from the start!

But as the story evolved, I found rich and deep cultural issues to mine for the conflicts in my novel. In my story, the supposedly “backward” country of Jungali represents the deep cultural identity of traditional India (my main character’s ideas about the backwardness of those traditions change throughout the story, and I hope, reflects the fond sentiments for at least some of those traditions). The second largest country of Samir represents the Western influence – in this case, the technological advancements of steampunk technology. And finally, the largest country, Dharia, is a picture of modern India – an, at times, uneasy integration of both the Western (steampunk) and Eastern (traditional) influences.

In Third Daughter, I took all these cultural influences, turned them upside down by creating a matriarchical ruling structure (where lineage goes through the Daughters of the Queen), and crafted a story that’s both romance and adventure. And I hope something fresh and new.

Steampunk is nothing if not wildly creative, and I love exploring this genre with a multicultural twist – so much so that I plan on writing at least two more novels in The Dharian Affairs Trilogy (Second Daughter and First Daughter). I hope you’ll give them a try!

Susan Kaye Quinn is the author of the bestselling Mindjack Trilogy, which is young adult science fiction. Her latest release is Third Daughter (The Dharian Affairs #1) which is her excuse to dress up in corsets and fight with swords. She also has a dark-and-gritty SF serial called The Debt Collector and a middle grade fantasy called Faery Swap. It’s possible she’s easily distracted. She always has more speculative fiction fun in the works. You can find out what she’s up to by subscribing to her newsletter (hint: new subscribers get a free short story!) or by stopping by her blog (www.susankayequinn.com).

Third Daughter (The Dharian Affairs #1)
Kindle | Nook | Print


Jericho Solus Virtual Book Tour

4 May

It is with great pleasure I host my dear friend and partner in literary crimes Jeffrey Moore’s virtual book tour for his 4th novel, JERICHO SOLUS. I’m one of the fortunate people to have read Jericho’s story while Jeff wrote it and I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed it. I’m shy when it comes to writing reviews, but Jericho Solus so deserves it. Jeff writes speculative fiction, taking his readers to worlds beyond imagination, alien creatures and intriguing plots.

The closest I’ve ever been to a different planet / world is… my own lala land where I escape reality.

That changed after I read Jericho Solus. Although human, Jericho Solus is unlike other humans. He’s been around since the beginning of humanity, living through wonderful tales of bravery, betrayal, and love. Even though Jericho Solus’ journey is fascinating, Jeff’s signature is incontestable. He portrays a multidimensional hero, an absolute must for such a novel.

Leaving aside the fact that Jeff has been my critique partner and friend for a long time now, Jericho Solus is the best piece he’s ever written. Jeff’s ability to take the reader into alien worlds is an art, an innate talent that comes to him so effortless. His novels are not your average novels, but rather for people with an understanding and a vision of other worlds. Deep, analytical, intriguing. Prepare to embark on the journey of a lifetime, spanning over centuries and artfully brought back to present time. Prepare to root for a hero so out of the ordinary, he will jump out at you from the first page until the last. Prepare to unlock the world’s secrets and find clues about its history. Prepare to discover a universe no money or spacecraft would take you. Untold tales of untouched places.

5+ stars for Jericho Solus.