I think it’s time to update my Frequently Asked Questions vis-a-vis the Clockwork Century books. Why? Because Dreadnought has been out nearly a month, and the questions are beginning to accumulate – both in my email inbox, and in the search terms leading to my website. To wit:
Is Dreadnought suitable for young adults? I think so, yeah – but obviously this will vary from young person to young person. There’s no sex in Dreadnought and the language is kept to a minimum*, but there’s some violence and gruesomeness. Judge the constitution of your young person accordingly.
But wasn’t Boneshaker a young adult book? Technically no, but that didn’t stop it from getting a great deal of very awesome young adult crossover, for which I am immensely grateful. There is, however, a (specifically) young adult book called The Boneshaker (note article) which came out right around the same time. It’s by a really neat woman named Kate Milford, it’s 100% fantastic, and no, there are no hard feelings about the title overlap.
Is Dreadnought the sequel to Boneshaker? More or less. It happens after Boneshaker, and some of the same characters swing by. (You’ll find out what happened to Briar and Ezekiel, if that’s what you’re wondering.) Of course, by this rationale Clementine is a sequel too, because it also happens after Boneshaker and features some of the same characters. (In that one, you’ll learn what happened to Croggon Hainey and the crew of the Free Crow.)
Do I have to read these books in order? No, I don’t think so. It’s probably helpful if you read Boneshaker first – but it’s not a deal-breaker. And yes, I’m aware that Clementine is hard to come by these days. You definitely don’t have to read it before reading either of the other two books. It was deliberately written as an independent one-off.
What’s the deal with Clementine, anyway? Why is it short/out of print/with a different publisher? Subterranean Press wanted to produce a one-off set in the Clockwork Century universe, and I wanted to let them. However, I have a first-refusal clause in my contract with Tor – which stipulates that Tor gets first look/first pass on anything over X amount of words. Therefore, I had to keep Clementine under that word count, in order to make sure that no noses were tweaked.
Clementine initially came out in a hardback limited edition, which sold out very quickly. This is why it has become rather difficult to track down. However, it will be released in trade paperback sometime in the fall of 2011, and it is in the process of becoming available in ebook form as well. Kindle is already cleared and ready for take-off – offering Clementine at the whopping great price of $2.99.
Bonus Clementine update: Audible has picked up the rights, so Clementine will also be released as an audiobook one of these days. I’ll keep you posted!
Will there be any more books set in this universe? Yes. At least two – Ganymede (scheduled for next year), and a second title that we’re still fiddling with a bit. Tentatively, we’re talking Inexplicable in 2012.
Are there any other Clockwork Century stories of which we should be made aware? Yes, there are two others at the moment: the novelette Tanglefoot (which has been reprinted in Steampunk II: Steampunk Reloaded), and the short story “Reluctance” (which can be found in The Living Dead II anthology). “Tanglefoot” ties loosely into Clementine, and “Reluctance” ties loosely into Dreadnought.
Did you really once say that “Steampunk is what happens when goths discover brown”? Yes, but only because I was quoting my friend Jess Nevins, who said it first.
* And, like Boneshaker, this minimal swearing is relegated to variations on the word “damn” and the occasional four-letter word for poo, because let’s be honest, that word has been in use for a really, really long time (as have other, more ire-raising words, but those do not appear).