These features as a way for the Ministry to highlight artists, musicians, writers, and makers of all variety. With so many talented individuals to choose from, we know it is a challenge to feature every clever creative worthy of note, but perhaps we might endeavour to introduce to you a new name in our community of steam and cog, or perhaps remind you of one artisan’s successful efforts to bring the past that never was to the here and now.
This week’s Æther Feature we talk about a recent book release from an award-winning and charming author.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is Elizabeth Bear. Quite the novelist, she is, having won a score of nominations and accolades including the hallowed Nebula, Hugo, and Campbell awards. She is also a friend of the Ministry and so you can imagine our delight when she announced this week the release of her latest steampunk adventure, Karen Memory.
“You ain’t gonna like what I have to tell you, but I’m gonna tell you anyway. See, my name is Karen Memery, like memory only spelt with an e, and I’m one of the girls what works in the Hôtel Mon Cherie on Amity Street. Hôtel has a little hat over the o like that. It’s French, so Beatrice tells me.”
Set in the late 19th century—when the city we now call Seattle Underground was the whole town (and still on the surface), when airships plied the trade routes, would-be gold miners were heading to the gold fields of Alaska, and steam-powered mechanicals stalked the waterfront, Karen is a young woman on her own, is making the best of her orphaned state by working in Madame Damnable’s high-quality bordello. Through Karen’s eyes we get to know the other girls in the house—a resourceful group—and the poor and the powerful of the town. Trouble erupts one night when a badly injured girl arrives at their door, beggin sanctuary, followed by the man who holds her indenture, and who has a machine that can take over anyone’s mind and control their actions. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, the next night brings a body dumped in their rubbish heap—a streetwalker who has been brutally murdered.
This sounds like quite the ripping yarn, I must say, and you can have a sampling of what’s in store for Karen by visiting Tor.com for an excerpt from the novel. The Ministry also encourages you to visit Miss Bear’s website and Tumblr for more on this wild, weird western adventure in the America’s Pacific Northwest and her own adventures in a writer’s life. Do have a care when visiting her site as she is a serious author with serious aims and serious perspectives.
Our journalists should know…
Well done, Elizabeth! We at the Ministry salute you and the release of your steampunk spectacular, sporting a cover that is—most assuredly—Eliza D. Braun-approved!