It’s giveaway season at the Steampunk Librarian! We start with an undersea tale.
Cuttlefish by Dave Freer
It is 1976 and the British Empire is still going full steam, along with the Industrial Revolution and the resulting environmental effects. Much of the world is drowned, including London. Under the canals, however, a rebel society is gaining strength. Meanwhile, a scientist and her young daughter are on the run from the law, due to a new discovery which just might change energy production. As a result, Clara Calland (the daughter) and Tim Barnabas (from the underwater London society) find themselves aboard the Cuttlefish, a coal-powered smuggling submarine. Tim just wants a job, and Clara just wants to know what’s going on.
Cuttlefish, the first in a series of stories from Dave Freer, is a fast-paced sailor yarn in one sense and a steampunk novel in another. Clara is smart, opinionated, and confused by the adults in her life; Tim is quiet and trying to get by in a world where racism is still alive and well. The story is told alternately by the two, showing both sides of the cultural divide in their society.
The biggest character in the story, however, is the Cuttlefish itself. With so many dirigibles in steampunk storylines, it’s refreshing to go back underwater and explore the claustrophobic, silent world of submarine transportation. Mechanical details abound, and the hide-and-seek maneuvers are described excellently as the Cuttlefish does its best to outwit its pursuers and deliver the Callands to safety.
We have two – two! – copies of Cuttlefish to give away. One is an advanced reader copy and one is the final published edition. In order to enter the giveaway, post a comment below and tell us where you would go in a submarine and why. Travel? Exploration? Devious motives? Explain! You can enter until Friday, August 31st; we’ll hold the drawing soon after and post the results.