Sunday, 22 July 2012

Guest post: Punk Appeal by C.A. Lang + Giveaway

Punk Appeal
by C.A. Lang

Steampunk is pretty popular right now. Dieselpunk, my own genre, isn't there yet, but it could be on the way.

What's the appeal of these? I think it depends on what's going on at the time. Think of the 90s zeitgeist and cyberpunk . . . To me both embody a high point in our cynicism.

So what's going on with steampunk? I find most of it in young adult novels, myself. This could tell you a couple of things. One--that kids are becoming more sophisticated. Two--because they are more sophisticated, the Victorian thing naturally lends itself to kids' books because it's adventurous, naive in many ways, and geared towards exploring and adventure. I just finished presenting a week of workshops to kids and one group had read more steampunk than I have. Although of course they'd never heard of Arthur Conan Doyle or Jules Verne, and personally I get more inspiration from that than contemporary writers. But they were quick to point out a couple examples of darker steampunk, meaning that I wasn't totally right when I explained to them the mood and tone of that genre.

Punk genres often end up with manifestos and so on. They're the closest thing we have now to the old school artistic movements that had clear definitions and goals. And in steam and dieselpunk circles, it seems more optimistic than dark. But like the kids said, there are dark examples. So the punk genre can be used either as a criticism or to advance positive aspects of the movement.

Whatever the case, I think the appeal is rooted in an exhausting of the postmodern rut. Why else look back towards periods of more certainty? It's a dialectic process turning over itself, and the way we're cherry-picking concepts from the past at a whim could very well be the point of postmodernism contributing to its own demise. People are starting to tire of cynicism, and steampunk/dieselpunk is a good place to go for it.

This is all just speculation on my part, though. What do steampunk readers think is the reason for the genre's rise in popularity? Let me know!

C. A. Lang is a product of Nelson, British Columbia, and it shows. Growing up around Victorian architecture likely had something to do with his appreciation of steampunk, although we’re not quite sure why he felt the need to ditch the steam engines and go all internal-combustion on the genre. He has settled in Kelowna, B.C., where sometimes he can be found abusing a gigantic jazz guitar in public, hanging around certain wineries, and running obscene distances. 

Reach Clayton at his blog / Facebook / Goodreads

Genre: Fantasy, Dieselpunk

In a world rebuilding after global mechanized war, chaos and ethnic tensions rule. City-states like Blightcross prosper under dictatorships built upon oil production. Refugees flock to the city-state to find work in the massive oil refineries. The black blood of Blightcross is replacing vihs-draaf, the magic of the Ehzeri people, but magic hasn't entirely disappeared...yet.

For fugitive soldier and thief Capra Jorassian, Blightcross is an opportunity to earn enough money for her freedom. Stealing an enchanted painting from the dictator's collection is nothing new. But the simple heist gets complicated quickly when Capra's childhood friend shows up, bent on bringing her back for court martial. Then her eccentric employer, the creator of the painting, is kidnapped, throwing Capra into a struggle for the survival of Blightcross, with only her enemies as allies.

Till Sevari, the mad dictator of Blightcross, wants the secrets of the painting, and he'll do anything to get them. But when the deadly forces within the painting spiral out of his control, Capra is the only one who can defeat them - by finding a power just as deadly, hidden beneath the lies of her own culture...

Blightcross breaks the boundaries of steampunk, using fantasy to explore the world of post-colonialism and the greed of oil dependent cultures.


Tyche Books has generously offered an ebook copy of Blightcross to a lucky commenter!

All you need to do is leave a comment answering Clayton's question: What do steampunk readers think is the reason for the genre's rise in popularity? 

Giveaway is open worldwide and ends on 31 July 2012!

Good luck!

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