When Cherie Priest entered the steampunk scene years ago, she stumbled upon some comments on a message board declaring that American steampunk wasn’treally steampunk, since it had to be based in Victorian England. Priest, who had one more book under contract with Tor Books at the time, saw this as a challenge. Thus, Boneshaker, the first in her Clockwork Century series, was born.
Who knew that an attempt to squish some internet forum posturing would end up as a three book (and one novella) ongoing series, with nods for both the Hugo and the Nebula and wins from the PNBA and Locus Magazine for Best Science Fiction Novel? Not to mention that many consider Boneshaker to be the watershed novel marking the popular rise of the steampunk subgenre in SFF.
What is it about Priest’s Clockwork Century series that makes it stand out? Well, you can start by reading the reviews on Tor.com: Boneshaker, Dreadnought, Ganymede, and Clementine (the novella). After the jump, I’ll get more in-depth about various aspects that keep me reading. And to note: as with all versions (or re-imaginings) of history, it’s not perfect. Don’t get me wrong, I highly enjoy the Clockwork Century books and I’ll continue to follow them. But this is an appreciation, and one can’t truly appreciate anything without acknowledging both its strengths and its weaknesses.