My short story, Burying the Coin, is now available as a podcast!
Steampunk is about costumes and intricacy, alternate histories, inventions and boundless exploration that characterized the Victorian era. The costumes lead to gatherings, gatherings to shops and music, and finally to conventions and a revival in literature. Learning to write for this subgenre has been a fascinating challenge. I’ve learned about airships, 19th and early 20th century artillery, and a bit about how modern empires rise and fall.
This last part, the cracking apart of empire, resonated with me much more than the gorgeous clothes and sumptuous feasts. As lovely as those aesthetics are, it begs the question: who made this? What kind of world produced this, and at what cost? I’ve always been fascinated by the why of things, and what lies beneath the mask — how did a person come to be the way they are, and what are they hiding?
Enter Karelia Nayar.
If this story’s world could be said to have a swath of people similar to the variety found in southern India, Karelia would be one of them. The world Karelia lives in is a kind of earth after the fall and rebirth of humanity — a far future, rather than a recent past. This might preclude the story’s classification as steampunk, but I’ll leave that up to you guys. Racism and sexism pop up occasionally; but they are absolutely dwarfed by the classism which is the beating heart of empire. There are other problems as well, but we’ll save those for the novel. That said, keep an eye out for the First Family of the Skies. They’ll be back in a big way.
I spoke a little about Karelia here, and in an interview with Fiona Skye. I wanted to write a swashbuckling, womanizing captain, who was also a woman. When I asked Karelia (or Kar to her friends) why she was so carefree, she told me it was because she never wanted to feel anything ever again. That led to this short story, Burying the Coin, where we learn how Kar earned her own ship, who taught her to fight and sail, and the events that made her close her heart forever.
This short story is available in Podcast form, which you can either stream online or download from iTunes. Head over to Podcastle.org to hear it and the work of many other brilliant and insightful authors.
“You can’t truly hate a man without loving him first, and there’s always a trace of that love left over.”
— Joe Abercrombie