Saturday, February 9, 2013

Great Steampunk Romance Airship Tour

Automaton & Steampunk Cyborg Lovers
 

A number of steampunk romances feature characters that have been mechanically modified in some way. Usually the transformation occurs through the use of prosthetics or other artificial parts. Steampunk cyborgs, as it were.

The primitive nature of the prosthetic devices is particularly compelling. It’s simultaneously fascinating and scary to contemplate having a prosthetic that’s ahead of its time but falls short in terms of modern technology. Many of the prosthetics depicted in steampunk romances wouldn’t work in real life, but their fantastical nature is fun to imagine.

Characters with artificial limbs sometimes face prejudice and scorn during the course of the story. As a result, they must decide on how to cope with the resulting feelings of shame or inadequacy. Readers of these stories are invited to question their assumptions about the nature of humanity. A related theme is how powerfully love can validate one’s self-worth and become a conduit for healing and trust building.


Here are some steampunk romances featuring characters with prosthetics:

Far From Broken – J.K. Coi (heroine has prosthetic limbs and organs)
Skies of Steel – Zoe Archer (“Man O’ War” heroes have “telumium” implants)
Island of Icarus – Christine Danse (hero has prosthetic arm)
Nights of Steel – Nico Rosso (hero has prosthetic arm)
A variety of characters have prosthetic limbs in Meljean Brook’s The Iron Seas series
Wild Cards and Iron Horses – Sheryl Nantus (hero wears a prosthetic device on his arm)

Now let’s talk automatons!

Automatons are a big staple of the steampunk genre. Their roots are in real life automata, which are “non-electronic moving machines.” In fact, automata date back to the ancient Greeks.

Automata in steampunk romances have a variety of forms, but what I’d like to focus on is the idea of steampunk automatons fashioned after the human body. The idea of Victorian-era androids driven by steam or clockwork power (or other sources, depending on the story) is a very powerful idea with loads of creative possibilities. Fantastical? Yes. Intriguing and thought-provoking? Definitely.

In some steampunk romances, automatons are secondary characters while in others, they may be the hero or heroine. However, these stories aren’t necessarily about kinky sex with a mechanical lover or weird for the sake of being weird. Romances involving automaton lovers are rich in themes: what it means to be human, diversity and acceptance, identity and self-worth, and our relationship with technology, among others.

There’s often a big mystery element in these stories as well. What will happen when the automaton’s true nature is discovered? That kind of secret can build tension like no other.

Stories featuring automaton lovers:

This Winter Heart – P. G. Forte
Far Too Human – Anitra Lynn McLeod
The Watchmaker’s Lady – Heather Massey

Steampunk romance stories featuring automatons as secondary characters:

Steamrolled – Pauline Baird Jones
Like Clockwork – Bonnie Dee
Miss Minnie and the Brass Pluggit – Sahara Kelly
Iron Guns, Blazing Hearts – Heather Massey

Automaton lovers and steampunk cyborgs are one way steampunk romance offers variety and diversity to readers. These characters entertain with their unusual nature while also providing another perspective about love and romance.

Giveaway time!

Leave a comment for this post and you’ll be entered for a chance to win one of the following ebooks:

Winner’s choice: A digital copy of Christine Danse’s Island of Icarus (ePub, PDF, or .mobi) OR Beauty in the Beast (ePub or PDF)
 

 
 


















 The Watchmaker’s Lady – Heather Massey (ePub, PDF, or .mobi)


And there’s more! Everyone who leaves a comment at any of the stops on The Great Steampunk Romance Airship Tour will be entered for a chance to win the Grand Prize:

$100 e-gift card (winner’s choice Amazon or B&N)

75$ e-gift certificate to Clockwork Couture



1 digital copy of IRON GUNS, BLAZING HEARTS (winner’s choice PDF, ePub, or .mobi)


Please include your email address. The deadline to enter all of the giveaways will be midnight PST on February 14. On Friday, February 15, check back here to see if you’ve won an ebook prize.

The grand prize winner will be announced on February 15 at The Galaxy Express.

About the author

Heather Massey is a lifelong fan of science fiction romance. She searches for sci-fi romance adventures aboard her blog, The Galaxy Express. She’s also an author in the subgenre. To learn more about her published work, visit heathermassey.com.

Iron Guns, Blazing Hearts
(February 2013; Lyrical Press)


The West just got a whole lot wilder.


A woman on a mission… Scientific achievement isn’t enough for Violet Whitcomb. Life working alongside her renowned scientist father is filled with intellectual challenges, but what she truly craves is love and adventure. She’s resigned to a fate of academic pursuits–until a fateful trip across the American frontier changes everything. A rogue inventor known as the Iron Scorpion kidnaps Violet’s father and she alone is left to plan his rescue.

A man with a secret… Logan McCoy knows firsthand going up against the Iron Scorpion is suicide, but he can’t let Violet waltz into the villain’s lair alone. She may be a stranger, but she’s also the most compelling woman he’s ever known.

A perilous quest… Their attraction is undeniable, but their alliance turns contentious when Violet insists on including a third partner on their mission: her father’s latest invention and the world’s most advanced automaton, Arthur. The reason for Logan’s resistance isn’t clear until Violet comes face-to-face with the Iron Scorpion’s diabolical devices, and by then, it’s far too late.

18 comments:

Barbara Elsborg said...

I'm slacking. I've only read one steampunk and I have to admit, I didn't like it. Not because of the subject matter but because the plot was so tedious. There's a lot to choose from here that sound so much more appealing than the one I could hardly finish!

Heather Massey said...

Hi Barbara! No subgenre hits it out of the park every time, that's for sure. I appreciate your willingness to give steampunk romance another try.

If you'd like a personalized steampunk romance recommendation, feel free to email me--sfrgalaxy "at" gmail.com.

StoryCottage said...

I have enjoyed most of the steampunk books I have read so far. I look forward to hopefully expanding a bit into the romance section of the genre.

Let's here it for TikTok from the original Oz books for being the first, clockwork automata!

StoryCottage said...

(I meant "automaton" - oops. And my email is storycottage (at symbol) gmail (dot) com)

kellyethan said...

Have to admit I am addicted to Meljean Brooks and Bec McMaster. Love my steampunk. In fact I am heading to a conference and one night is themed and I'm going as an airship pirate. Have my goggles, aviator hat and corset at the ready ;P

Kelly Ethan

Pamk said...

love the costumes and outfits of the steampunk genre. Went to dragoncon last year and it was very big actually last two years it was very popular
scrtsbpal at yahoo dot ocm

Heather Massey said...

@StoryCottage You know it!

@Kelly That sounds awesome--have fun!

@Pamk Steampunk cosplay has really taken off. The outfits are to die for.

Anonymous said...

Automatons as lovers and secondary characters. How fascinating.

I'm enjoying being exposed to all of the different, great websites on the tour.

strive4bst(At) yahoo(Dot) com

Liz S. said...

Love the automatons in these stories. They can be anything, villains, lovers, heroes... They just make the story that much more fascinating! Enjoying this blog tour very much. I have read quite a few of the books you have mentioned and now have more to add to my TBR pile. Thanks for the contest.

lizsemkiu@gmail.com

Laurel Wanrow said...

I hadn't read a SP in which the automaton was a hero! Thanks for giving such a great selection of titles to find the different features. Now I have to go back and read your other posts in the hop.

Pippa Jay said...

I haven't read a lot of steampunk (The Watchmaker's Lady being one) and I'm still trying to understand the elements that really make steampunk. I'm writing something that make qualify but I think it's a bit borderline really.

Donna Barnard said...

I've always enjoyed SciFi and moved to fantasy and now getting into Steam Punk. Some of my fav authors seem to do the same - OM Grey, Philippa Ballentine. This posting provided more background Steam Punk and shows there are lots of possibilities for stories that I look forward to exploring.

Donna S. Frelick said...

OOOH, Pippa, are you seeing all the pretty covers? I do enjoy a well-done steampunk romance--it's the element of genre mashup, I guess. Or maybe it's just the echoes of The Wild, Wild West. Either way, it's fun. Thanks for including us on the tour, Heather!

Pippa Jay said...

Lol, yep Donna I am. And Wild, Wild West is probably my first encounter with steampunk.

Laurie A. Green said...

I've never tried my hand at a Steampunk, but they do look intriguing!

LisaC said...

I need to try one of these automaton couple books.
Lisacordes (at) yah00 (d0t) c0m

bn100 said...

These sound intriguing.

bn100candg(at)hotmail(dot)com

Heather Massey said...

The winner of an ebook from Christine Danse is

Barbara Elsborg

Congratulations! I contacted the author and she'll be in touch with you soon.

The winner of The Watchmaker's Lady is

LisaC

Congratulations!

Lisa, I sent you an email.