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As much as I love steampunk, as much as I revel in the aesthetic and ogle the gadgets, there's always been a little bit of disconnect between the actual subculture and the supporting materials for me. I knew it had to do with more than goggles, gears, lots of leather belts, and brass.

But where was it? Nothing I had read or watched had really held up to the aesthetic, but clearly the zeitgeist was ripe for it. Cherie is energetic and lovely, but she's also extremely smart she knows more about Daniel Boone than anyone I've ever spoken with. Her passion for steampunk is apparent not just in her clothing which is fabulous but also in her contributions to the conversation at large and, of course, in her new book, Boneshaker.

Simply put, Boneshaker is about family, zombies, and steampunk technology, set in an alternative version of s Seattle. And in many ways its creation grew out of the author's own desire to put the pieces of the subculture together. Cherie says, "I wanted a very good reason why I might wear goggles or a gas mask. Basically I tried to reverse-engineer something to account for the things that the tend to attach to it as a sub-genre, because there's not really a solid base of tropes from which to draw.

Right now steampunk has no solid center, only a look—and that's not enough to give it sticking power. It needs archetypes. It needs icons. It needs a mythology if it's going to get its legs under it. For Cherie, writing Boneshaker wasn't just about creating a new myth, but also drawing from the past. Those familiar with her other work, including the Eden Moore trilogy, know that the Civil War features prominently in her work, and Boneshaker is no exception.

In the book, the Civil War is still raging. So I thought, well… what if the war went a lot longer? And although virtually nothing of the Late Unpleasantness had anything to do with the Pacific Northwest, where the story is set, such long-standing war would still have had an amazing impact on the tech in use all over the continent. Beyond the airships and war-machines, however, beats the heart of Boneshaker : family. But when he vanishes over the wall into the zombie-infested center of Seattle, Briar has to take matters into her own hands and, reluctantly, start to make peace with the demons of her past in the process.

Briar is every inch a mother, but flawed, too. She finds strength in surprising places and champions on, in spite of the mounting fear and horrors that surround her.

Not so with Boneshaker. Cherie has put together a website in addition to her own called The Clockwork Century —the setting in which Boneshaker is written. She is also currently blogging for Tor. Boneshaker is available on Amazon. Armchair Geek cherie priest People Sci-fi Steampunk.

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B riar Wilkes's father may be something of a saint to the criminal underclass living in this steampunk version of s Seattle, but she can never escape the fact that her late husband is the man who brought the deadly Blight to the city, leading to it being sealed away from the rest of the world by a ft-high wall. Fifteen years before this story is set, Dr Leviticus Blue built his Incredible Bone-Shaking Drill Engine to exploit the veins of gold buried deep beneath the rock and ice. Instead of mining for gold, he dug through the foundations of four of Seattle's gold-rich banks, intent on robbery, and unwittingly released a deadly gas that devastated the city. Now, Briar and Blue's year-old son Zeke has run away to the walled city, bent on uncovering the truth behind the rumours that have gathered around his family. The only person who cares enough to rescue him is his mother, but to do so, she must confront both the horrors of the ruined city and the demons of her past, which she does with gusto in this gloriously vivid romp.


Reverse-Engineering the Steampunk Novel with Style: Cherie Priest and Boneshaker

Quite a lot has been said about the Hugo nominated Boneshaker , which got my interest piqued especially after the io9 review many moons ago. Read on to find out! In Boneshaker , Cherie Priest paints a picture of Seattle viewed through steampunk goggles. For some reason I kept imagining it in San Francisco, which I could picture in my head having been there twice and so the slopes and hills and streets of Seattle got transformed to those in San Francisco, which rather helped in me imagining the desperate flight of the characters.

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