Tag Archives: biopunk

Poe Launch Update

Merely This and Nothing More launched successfully. It’s been an exciting few days but the ride is not over yet!

Poe Launch Party Banner

We’re getting geared up for our online release party.  Starting on June 4th at 7:00 a.m. (PDT) some very talented authors, editors, and designers will be gathering to meet readers, play games, and discuss the anthology.  The Ultimate Release Festival may be an online event, but you can score some real, hold-in-your-hand prizes.  We’ll have games and giveaways throughout the two day event.

Why two days? Because we have a lot to celebrate!

Lia and Nils in the Pavilion Gardens.
Lia and Nils in the Pavilion Gardens.
Two members, Nils Nisse Visser and Lia Rees, put together our first ever face-to-face book launch at The Yellow Book, a steampunk pub in Brighton.
In addition to selling several copies, the festivities were attended by Peter Fawn, founder of the Edgar Allan Poe Society of Prague. He not only purchased a copy for himself, but also one for Susan Tane of the Baltimore Poe Society.  We are beyond excited that copies of Merely This and a poster designed by Lia Rees will be added to two of the largest Poe memorabilia collections in the world.
Copes of Poe Goes Punk at the UK Launch.
Copes of Poe Goes Punk at the UK Launch.

“The Poe Society of Prague has at it’s core, over 15,000 items relating to Mr. Poe, including first editions and rare articles, but the main part of the collection focuses on the influences that Poe has had across all aspects of 20th Century popular culture.” (Edgar Allan Poe Society of Prague homepage)

Source: edgarapoe.com
Source: edgarapoe.com
That’s not all! In the days following the release, several reviews from readers appeared on Amazon and Goodreads.  From the UK to Spokane (and several stops in between), copies of Poe Goes Punk are finding homes. Check out some photos of some of our contributors, the book, and some Poe swag.
Author Holly Gonzalez in full decopunk cosplay and signing copies of Poe Goes Punk at a convention.
Author Holly Gonzalez in full decopunk cosplay and signing copies of Poe Goes Punk at a convention.


Cards advertising the launch passed out by Carol Gyzander at a steampunk event.
Loaded onto a Kindle, in good company.
Loaded onto AR DeClerk’s Kindle, in good company.


Andrea Hintz clings to her copy.


Author Virginia Stark's dieselpunk "King Pest" was inspired by Poe tale of the same name.
Author Virginia Stark’s dieselpunk “King Pest” was inspired by Poe tale of the same name.

Reviewers Go Punk: The Leviathan Trilogy by Scott Westerfeld

Science fiction and fantasy author Voss Foster is here to tell us about a young adult series filled with interesting creatures, a wonderful cast, and plenty of bio- and dieselpunk stuff.  Read on to hear his thoughts on The Leviathan Trilogy by Scott Westerfeld.

Leviathan Trilogy
The Leviathan Trilogy by Scott Westerfeld
Reviewed by Voss Foster

I have a confession to make: I read books for kids. I know, shocker. Not just the super popular stuff like Harry Potter and The Hunger Games you need to stay culturally relevant, either. We won’t go into my full reading history, but I want to talk about one series. One that really grabbed me, and one that’s just dripping with punk-ish goodness: The Leviathan Trilogy by Scott Westerfeld.

The Good: It’s hard to pinpoint just one good thing about this series. I know, I know, that’s not terribly helpful. I just wanted to mention it. It’s not often I run across a series that I love as wholeheartedly as I did with these books, and this time without the benefit of any nostalgia from my childhood. For starters, with these books, you get two punks for the price of one! Dieselpunk and Biopunk are both strong influences, representing the two sides of World War I. The Clankers use technology for fighting and easing the difficulties of life, whereas the Darwinists utilize fabricated creatures designed for one purpose or another.

That includes the series namesake, the Leviathan itself. A massive air-whale that can match speed with the fastest Zeppelins in the sky. It’s where we spend most of our time during the series, and we see the other fabricated critters that live there. Hydrogen-sniffers to find leaks, flechette bats that… umm… drop the metal spikes they’ve eaten on the enemy, huge hawks to combat the Clanker ships, and the incredible messenger lizards that can precisely mimic human speech.

The characters are just as wonderful as the worldbuilding, too. Our two protagonists are about as different as it gets. Aleksander, the son of Archduke Ferdinand, and Deryn, a Scottish girl who disguises herself as a young man to get into the Air Service. While she proves herself and ends up on the prestigious Leviathan as a midshipman, Aleksander is just trying to survive and keep moving so he doesn’t get attacked the same way his parents did. The travails of the royal life, I guess. Surprise surprise, her secret doesn’t get kept forever. But it does make it through most of the trilogy intact, whichis a nice change of pace.

There are a slew of side-characters as well, including Nikola Tesla himself, but by far my favorite is Dr. Nora Barlow. The head keeper of the London Zoo (which has a lot more significance in this world, trust me), a renowned creature-fabricator, and Charles Darwin’s granddaughter. She’s your classic mysterious character, far too perceptive for the good of the other characters, and more powerful than her position with the Zoological Society would suggest. She’s the first to be suspicious of Deryn, and the first to figure out who Aleksander actually is.

There’s an awful lot more good, so much I can’t properly cover it, but I’m going to move on to the less than wonderful parts. Just trust me that this is a series worth reading.

The Bad: As tends to happen with books for younger audiences, things are a little different than they would be in fiction for adults. Given the situation they’re in—running for their lives, international spying, etc—the language is a little pleasant at times. But that’s not the biggest stumbling block for me. It’s the punches pulled. Specifically, the romantic punch. There’s a young, budding love between Deryn and Aleksander. And it drags on and on and on. Far longer than it realistically should have. The reader knows they’re bound to get together about halfway through the trilogy, but the characters don’t even get close to it until near the end. It’s aggravating, to say the least.

And while we’re talking endings

The Ugly: Oh, the ending. Now, it’s not bad. If it was, I would have used it in the “Bad” section up above. But it is ugly. It’s blocky and lacks the level of satisfaction I want for a three book commitment. Everything wraps up just a little too nicely, and a little too quickly. One second, the whole things is falling apart, and what seems like the very next second, everything’s taken care of. A huge looming problem is just brushed away instead of handled and, just like with the romance, it’s aggravating. But it certainly doesn’t ruin the books. Not in any sense of the word. It would take a lot more than a bit of an unfortunate ending to do that. I give these books a glowing recommendation, especially if you’re a fan of dieselpunk and/or biopunk. Not the most common punk-genres, so seeing them so well-represented is wonderful.

Voss Foster lives in the middle of the Eastern Washington desert, where he writes science fiction and fantasy from inside a single-wide trailer. He is the author of the Evenstad Media Presents series, The King Jester Trilogy, The Mountains of Good Fortune, and the Immortal Whispers Series. When he can be pried away from his keyboard, he can be found singing, practicing photography, cooking, and belly dancing, though rarely all at the same time.

Somehow, between his writing, singing, photography, cooking, and dancing, Voss still has time to connect with fans and he’d love to hear from you.  You can catch up with him on his website, Facebook, or Twitter. Be sure to swing by Amazon and check out his work.