Friday, September 24, 2010

A blog book tour event with Art Slade, the author of The Hunchback Assignments Series with a Giveaway!

Not long ago I heard about a young adult series called the Hunchback Assignments. There are now two books in the series: The Hunchback Assignments and The Dark Deeps: The Hunchback Assignments 2. The stories are set in a steam punk world, and the star of the series is Mondo, a hunchback  who "is gentle, intelligent, trained for battle, yet a bookworm; ugly and beautiful, tough and idealistic." Curious to find out what steampunk is, I asked author Art Slade for a definition. This is what he had say:

Behold! I am about to do the impossible! I will define steampunk (as far as literature is concerned, that is). It will not be the Oxfordian definition. Nor will it be the Urban Dictionary definition. My definition is this: steampunk is science fiction that is inspired by the Victorian age. Oh, wait, does that cover it? Hmmm. Maybe I should add something about clockwork and steam. Okay, here it is: steampunk literature is steamy science fiction that is inspired by the Victorian age and often contains clockwork and cockneyisms. Ah, that still doesn’t cover it. Zounds and snap to! It may be beyond definition.

Here in no particular order are my favorite Victorian-era novels that influenced steampunk:

1)   20,0000 Leagues Under The Sea by Jules Verne The book that is the touchstone of steampunk (with a nod to the Disney Movie’s design of the Nautilus)
The Hunchback Assignments2)   Oliver Twist: The Attack of the Clockwork Demons by Charles Dickens. Did I mention that this list includes books I wish had been written? Why didn’t Dickens do just one steampunk book? It could have gone like this: Oliver tentatively approached the Clockwork Magistrate and asked, “More, Please.”
3)   The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson This novel is the one I blame for 1/3rd of all the mad doctors in steampunk. 
4)   The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells I blame this novel for another 1/3rd of the mad doctors in steampunk. The general rule in steampunk is: “Don’t drink that potion!”
The Dark Deeps: The Hunchback Assignments 25)   Sherlock Holmes: The Mechanical Hounds of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle Really, Sherlock should have been investigating steampunk crimes. And if Watson had mechanical wings Sherlock would never have fallen from Reichenbach Falls.
6)   Frankenstein by Mary Shelley The blame for the final 1/3rd of the mad “steampunk” doctors is directly laid at Mary Shelley’s dainty feet. Yet another mad doctor who somehow animates the dead.
7)   Dracula by Bram Stoker Though more supernatural than scientific, the mood of this novel has influenced our modern-day moody steampunk novels.
8)   Pride and Prejudice and Razor Billed Peacocks by Jane Austen. If this was the title, boys would finally read these books.
9)   Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne Good ol’ JV needs his due as the grandfather of Steampunk. Could add Journey to the Center of the Earth and From the Earth to the Moon too.
10)  Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland Forget the talking animals. Actually forget Alice, too. It’s really Jabberwocky that is the first steam powered monster: “And, as in uffish thought he stood,/The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,/Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,/And burbled as it came!” Burbling? Flame? Whiffling? That’s so steampunk!

The Hunchback Assignments  is definitely a series that will suit young adults. Another series that would suit this age range are the Cecilia and Kate series. Younger readers in the 9 to 12 age range might like to have their own literary steampunk experience. The Larklight Trilogy by Philip Reeve is a delightful series that I found quite enthralling, and highly amusing as well. Also, here is a Barnes and Nobles list of steampunk titles. 

The publisher has very kindly given us several copies of the two books in this series to GIVE AWAY! Please send me an email if you would like a set of the books.

Please visit the other stops on this blog book tour. 

Friday, September 17 -
Saturday September 18 - Cynsations
Sunday, September 19 - Free the Princess
Monday, September 20 – Steamed!
Tuesday, September 21st - Steampunk Tribune
Wednesday, September 22 - Suvudu
Thursday, September 23 - Steampunk Scholar

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