Back in November, I attended a youth services forum that featured a program on Steampunk. I was unable to sit in on that session, but I knew that I'd have to follow up. After all, I didn't even know what Steampunk was! Now I'm finally (somewhat) up to speed on this genre.
In her session materials, presenter Sharon Rawlins defined Steampunk as "a sub-genre of fantasy and science fiction often set in the steam-powered Victorian and Edwardian eras. It imitates the speculative fiction of H.G. Wells & Jules Verne and features anachronistic technologies such as dirigibles and computers."
Modo, a deformed hunchback, is rescued from a gypsy's travelling sideshow by a benevolent, but cool and distant benefactor, Mr. Socrates. Raised in isolation and trained for varied and dangerous eventualities, Modo finally learns the true reason for his rescue. He begins a series of increasingly dangerous missions against an increasingly malevolent and murderous foe that threatens the very fabric of English society.
The publisher's book trailer and a link to Chapter 1 are below; however, I must note that I don't feel as if the trailer does the book justice. The trailer adds a bit of comic lightheartedness that is missing in this compelling adventure story. Jayne Entwhistle's presentation in the audiobook version has the perfect tone for this dangerously gloomy adventure story. I found it to be somewhat like The Golden Compass in mood.
A convincing story that makes it easy to suspend disbelief. Modo is a flawed hero who is easy to admire, and his female interest, Octavia, is a perfect foil.
Slade, Arthur. 2009. The Hunchback Assignments, Book 1. Read by Jayne Entwhistle. Listening Library.
Read Chapter 1 online.
The Hunchback Assignments (Book Trailer) from Arthur Slade on Vimeo.
Interested in reading some Steampunk yourself? You may find a list of titles from Sharon Rawlins' presentation here.