Revelry! Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl by David Barnett

Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl by David BarnettWhen I sat down to write the novel that would become Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl, I didn’t intend to write a steampunk story.

I didn’t intend to not write a steampunk story, either. I’m not really into the idea of writing to a specific sub-genre, whether that’s steampunk or urban fantasy or epic fantasy or space opera or whatever.

I just wanted to write a novel.

You’ll see Gideon Smith described as steampunk. You’ll also see it as, variously, Victoriana, or alternate-history, or historical fantasy. I’m happy with any or all of these descriptors, but really Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl is just a novel.

“Ah,” you say. “But it has airships! And automatons! And derring do! And didn’t I see Rowena Fanshawe with a pair of brass goggles hanging around her neck?”

That you did. So I suppose, if these are the signposts your happy with, then it’s steampunk.  I’m aware that there are a lot of steampunk fans out there. I want them all to read Gideon Smith and its forthcoming sequels. I want them all to enjoy the books.

I’m equally aware that there are people out there who profess to hate steampunk. Are you one of those people? Guess what. I wrote the book for you, too. And I wrote it for you precisely because you hate steampunk. You hate steampunk because it’s mired in unsightly Victorian values, because it’s institutionally racist and sexist, because there’s random technology that makes no sense and serves no purpose, because it’s largely full of rich white men with double-barrelled surnames who dash off across the world on unlikely adventures.

I wanted to write a book that you might wish to call steampunk that didn’t subscribe to those notions.

Gideon Smith & The mEchanical Girl UKSo yes, Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl is set in Britain in 1890. Let’s be clear about this, it wasn’t a great place to be poor, non-white or a woman. But this is the framework I chose to work in, so the only way to address those issues which steampunk haters has is to try to subvert them, however gently, from the inside.

As for the unlikely adventures… well, hands up, sorry. Yeah, it’s all pretty unlikely. But hopefully quite a bit of fun.

So call Gideon Smith steampunk, call it alt-history, call it what you like. I hope you read it, though, and if you’ve got any preconceptions about what you think it might be, I hope they’re blown away.

Me, I just call it a novel.

* Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl is published in the US by Tor Books on September 10, and in the UK by Snowbooks.

Visit David’s Website

 

PRIZE UPDATE: David’s publisher has offer up to three copies of the book to US/Canadian addresses only.  So post a comment below and good luck!

Congratulations to Rhyss D, Dana siegel, and Kai W.  David’s publisher will get your prizes to you in the mail! 

  1. Lauren M. September 10, 2013

    This book sounds quite interesting. I have already put it on my books to read list.

    0 Likes

  2. Denysé Bridger September 10, 2013

    I tell myself I want to write Steampunk, because I love the whole idea so much, and what I’ve read I’ve enjoyed – this one sounds wonderful, by the way. I just can’t seem to get my head to the right place for writing this genre. I admire the hell out of authors who can do it.

    MUCH success with this book, David!!
    Denyse

    0 Likes

  3. Darlene Rose September 10, 2013

    Am looking forward to reading this!!!

    0 Likes

  4. Dana siegel September 10, 2013

    love steampunk, can’t wait to read this

    0 Likes

  5. Toni Whitmire September 10, 2013

    This seems like a very interesting book bibbiesparks@yahoo.com

    0 Likes

  6. Rhyss D. September 10, 2013

    Ah…”random technology that makes no sense and serves no purpose ” ..the bane of my existence! This seems like a must read to me.

    0 Likes

  7. Lisa G September 10, 2013

    I love Steampunk! This book looks awesome and I can’t wait to get a copy to read! Thx

    0 Likes

  8. Aimee September 10, 2013

    This book sounds great. I am really excited about the resurgence of Steampunk. I can’t wait to read more.

    0 Likes

  9. Liz S September 10, 2013

    Your book looks interesting. Adding it to my TBR pile.

    0 Likes

  10. Denise Golinowski September 10, 2013

    This sounds excellent! Thanks for sharing. The genre of Steampunk is so amorphos that I think you need not protest but so much. The truth in the pudding is that you write a good story and it sounds like you did! I’m looking forward to checking it out and have you marked in my Wish List.

    0 Likes

  11. Stephanie September 10, 2013

    Love the blurb of the story. My favorite books feature the unlikely hero. The concept you’ve created is intriguing. A not quite steampunk novel. Can’t wait to read it.

    0 Likes

  12. Tina September 10, 2013

    I enjoy books of most any genre. Your “Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl” sounds like a grand adventure of boundary breaking fun and something I could recommend to most of my friends regardless of their favorite genre!!! I look forward to finding on my bookshelf soon!

    0 Likes

  13. Barbara E. September 10, 2013

    What a wonderful post, and since I love steampunk I’ll go with that label, but I’d read the book even without any such label, because it sounds like a fantastic story. 😀

    0 Likes

  14. Raquel Vega-Grieder September 10, 2013

    I have never actually read a Steampunk novel but just hearing you describe it as one that isn’t actually one makes me want to read it. Thanks for the chance to win one….^_^.

    0 Likes

  15. Denise Z September 10, 2013

    I really like that your priority was to write a story / book that was from you and that you were not worried about putting it in a given peg! Kudos for achieving what looks like a wonderful read.

    0 Likes

  16. Phyllis September 10, 2013

    I love steampunk and this one is going on my ‘to read’ list; would love to win a copy!

    0 Likes

  17. Shannon Donnelly September 10, 2013

    It’s interesting to me that we once only had novels–fiction and non-fiction. I don’t think we started chopping up categories until the 1980’s, when the market expanded rapidly that all of a sudden marketing folks saw opportunities to segment the “novel” market into genres, and the sub-genres, and I think we now have cross-sub-genres!

    This sounds like a really good read–that’s about the best you can ask of any book!

    Shannon

    0 Likes

  18. bn100 September 10, 2013

    Nice covers

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

    0 Likes

  19. Jillian Ivy September 10, 2013

    I’m a steampunk fan, but I know what you mean about the dark side of the Victorian era. Can’t wait to see how you handle them in the book!

    0 Likes

  20. felicia sidoma September 10, 2013

    I know the local librarian and when he comes across a new book that he thinks i might like. He suggest I read Bec McMaster Kiss of Steel. Who knew I love it Steampunk I could not get enough. So as soon as I finished a had to read the next book Heart of Iron. Now I am trying to read and find any and all books and the writers who write them. You are on the top of my TRL.

    0 Likes

  21. Kai W. September 10, 2013

    Steampunk is a new genre that I started about a couple of months ago. I need to read a little more just to get a feel for the book.

    1 Likes

  22. David Barnett September 11, 2013

    Thank you for all your lovely comments. I do hope that if any of you get the chance to read the book, you have as much fun reading it as I had writing it. And good luck to those entering the giveaway!*

    *By the way, hope I don’t win by leaving this comment!

    0 Likes

  23. Carol September 11, 2013

    I”ve been reading steampunk for a few years now and am always looking for novels of interest in the genre. I”ll keep a look out for this one.

    0 Likes

  24. Diane September 11, 2013

    Would love to win this unique book!

    0 Likes

  1. Kai W. September 10, 2013

    Steampunk is a new genre that I started about a couple of months ago. I need to read a little more just to get a feel for the book.

    1 Likes

  2. Lauren M. September 10, 2013

    This book sounds quite interesting. I have already put it on my books to read list.

    0 Likes

  3. Denysé Bridger September 10, 2013

    I tell myself I want to write Steampunk, because I love the whole idea so much, and what I’ve read I’ve enjoyed – this one sounds wonderful, by the way. I just can’t seem to get my head to the right place for writing this genre. I admire the hell out of authors who can do it.

    MUCH success with this book, David!!
    Denyse

    0 Likes

  4. Darlene Rose September 10, 2013

    Am looking forward to reading this!!!

    0 Likes

  5. Dana siegel September 10, 2013

    love steampunk, can’t wait to read this

    0 Likes

  6. Toni Whitmire September 10, 2013

    This seems like a very interesting book bibbiesparks@yahoo.com

    0 Likes

  7. Rhyss D. September 10, 2013

    Ah…”random technology that makes no sense and serves no purpose ” ..the bane of my existence! This seems like a must read to me.

    0 Likes

  8. Lisa G September 10, 2013

    I love Steampunk! This book looks awesome and I can’t wait to get a copy to read! Thx

    0 Likes

  9. Aimee September 10, 2013

    This book sounds great. I am really excited about the resurgence of Steampunk. I can’t wait to read more.

    0 Likes

  10. Liz S September 10, 2013

    Your book looks interesting. Adding it to my TBR pile.

    0 Likes

  11. Denise Golinowski September 10, 2013

    This sounds excellent! Thanks for sharing. The genre of Steampunk is so amorphos that I think you need not protest but so much. The truth in the pudding is that you write a good story and it sounds like you did! I’m looking forward to checking it out and have you marked in my Wish List.

    0 Likes

  12. Stephanie September 10, 2013

    Love the blurb of the story. My favorite books feature the unlikely hero. The concept you’ve created is intriguing. A not quite steampunk novel. Can’t wait to read it.

    0 Likes

  13. Tina September 10, 2013

    I enjoy books of most any genre. Your “Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl” sounds like a grand adventure of boundary breaking fun and something I could recommend to most of my friends regardless of their favorite genre!!! I look forward to finding on my bookshelf soon!

    0 Likes

  14. Barbara E. September 10, 2013

    What a wonderful post, and since I love steampunk I’ll go with that label, but I’d read the book even without any such label, because it sounds like a fantastic story. 😀

    0 Likes

  15. Raquel Vega-Grieder September 10, 2013

    I have never actually read a Steampunk novel but just hearing you describe it as one that isn’t actually one makes me want to read it. Thanks for the chance to win one….^_^.

    0 Likes

  16. Denise Z September 10, 2013

    I really like that your priority was to write a story / book that was from you and that you were not worried about putting it in a given peg! Kudos for achieving what looks like a wonderful read.

    0 Likes

  17. Phyllis September 10, 2013

    I love steampunk and this one is going on my ‘to read’ list; would love to win a copy!

    0 Likes

  18. Shannon Donnelly September 10, 2013

    It’s interesting to me that we once only had novels–fiction and non-fiction. I don’t think we started chopping up categories until the 1980’s, when the market expanded rapidly that all of a sudden marketing folks saw opportunities to segment the “novel” market into genres, and the sub-genres, and I think we now have cross-sub-genres!

    This sounds like a really good read–that’s about the best you can ask of any book!

    Shannon

    0 Likes

  19. bn100 September 10, 2013

    Nice covers

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

    0 Likes

  20. Jillian Ivy September 10, 2013

    I’m a steampunk fan, but I know what you mean about the dark side of the Victorian era. Can’t wait to see how you handle them in the book!

    0 Likes

  21. felicia sidoma September 10, 2013

    I know the local librarian and when he comes across a new book that he thinks i might like. He suggest I read Bec McMaster Kiss of Steel. Who knew I love it Steampunk I could not get enough. So as soon as I finished a had to read the next book Heart of Iron. Now I am trying to read and find any and all books and the writers who write them. You are on the top of my TRL.

    0 Likes

  22. David Barnett September 11, 2013

    Thank you for all your lovely comments. I do hope that if any of you get the chance to read the book, you have as much fun reading it as I had writing it. And good luck to those entering the giveaway!*

    *By the way, hope I don’t win by leaving this comment!

    0 Likes

  23. Carol September 11, 2013

    I”ve been reading steampunk for a few years now and am always looking for novels of interest in the genre. I”ll keep a look out for this one.

    0 Likes

  24. Diane September 11, 2013

    Would love to win this unique book!

    0 Likes

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