In this series, I ask various publishing professionals (including authors, bloggers, editors, agents etc.) to recommend 2-3 authors or books they feel haven’t received the recognition they deserve.
Today’s recommendations are by David Barnett. David Barnett is a journalist and author based in the north of England. His latest novel is Gideon Smith and the Brass Dragon, out now from Tor in the US and Snowbooks in the UK, which is the second in his series of steampunk/alt-history adventures which began last year with Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl.
David Barnett is an award-winning journalist, currently multimedia content manager of the Telegraph & Argus, cultural reviewer for The Guardian and the Independent on Sunday, and he has done features for The Independent and Wired. He is the author of Angelglass (described by The Guardian as “stunning”), Hinterland, and popCULT!. Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl is out now from Tor Books in the US and Snowbooks in the UK. His website can be found at davidbarnett.wordpress.com.
On Being a “Sci-Fi” Writer
by David Barnett
Hello, my name is David and I’m a sci-fi writer.
That may well be raising hackles among some readers right now. But I don’t apologise; in fact it’s deliberate.
I. Write. Sci-fi.
Sci-fi as a genre label has been out of favour for a long time, in preference to the more streamlined SF. When you ally it to its genre-sister fantasy we get SFF, or SF/F, and bringing in the slightly weird cousin horror into the speculative fiction family fold gives us, somewhat clunkily, SF/F/H.
It’s something I confess I haven’t thought too deeply about until recently. I always preferred SF as a signifier, because that’s what everyone else within fandom or the industry seemed to say. Indeed, the name of this august website is, of course, SF Signal. And everyone knows instantly what it means.
Here is the book trailer for David Barnett’s alternate history steampunk thriller, Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl, described thusly:
Nineteenth century London is the center of a vast British Empire. Airships ply the skies and Queen Victoria presides over three-quarters of the known world—including the East Coast of America, following the failed revolution of 1775.
London might as well be a world away from Sandsend, a tiny village on the Yorkshire coast. Gideon Smith dreams of the adventure promised him by the lurid tales of Captain Lucian Trigger, the Hero of the Empire, told in Gideon’s favorite “penny dreadful.” When Gideon’s father is lost at sea in highly mysterious circumstances Gideon is convinced that supernatural forces are at work. Deciding only Captain Lucian Trigger himself can aid him, Gideon sets off for London. On the way he rescues the mysterious mechanical girl Maria from a tumbledown house of shadows and iniquities. Together they make for London, where Gideon finally meets Captain Trigger.
But Trigger is little more than an aging fraud, providing cover for the covert activities of his lover, Dr. John Reed, a privateer and sometime agent of the British Crown. Looking for heroes but finding only frauds and crooks, it falls to Gideon to step up to the plate and attempt to save the day…but can a humble fisherman really become the true Hero of the Empire?
David Barnett’s Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl is a fantastical steampunk fable set against an alternate historical backdrop: the ultimate Victoriana/steampunk mash-up!
And now, the trailer…
Author David Barnett has posted the cover art and synopsis for his upcoming novel Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl.
Here’s the synopsis: