Boneshaker by Cherie Priest

Down in the laundry room with the bloody- wet floors and the ceiling- high stacks of sheets, wraps, and blankets, Vinita Lynch was elbows- deep in a vat full of dirty pillowcases because she’d promised— she’d sworn on her mother’s life— that she’d find a certain windup pocket watch belonging to Private Hugh Morton before the device was plunged into a tub of simmering soapy water and surely destroyed for good.

Why the private had stashed it in a pillowcase wasn’t much of a mystery: even in an upstanding place like the Robertson Hospital, small and shiny valuables went missing from personal stashes with unsettling regularity. And him forgetting about it was no great leap either: the shot he took in the forehead had been a lucky one because he’d survived it, but it left him addled at times— and this morning at breakfast had been one of those times. At the first bell announcing morning food, against the strict orders of Captain Sally he’d sat up and bolted into the mess hall, which existed only in that bullet- buffeted brain of his. In the time it took for him to be captured and redirected to his cot, where the meal would come to him, thank you very kindly, if only he’d be patient enough to receive it, the junior nursing staff had come through and stripped the bedding of all and sundry.

None of them had noticed the watch, but it would’ve been easy to miss.

Cherie Priest’s Boneshaker, a tale of Steampunk Seattle beset by zombies, is hugely popular, into its seventh printing and collecting nominations for both the Hugo and Nebula Awards for Best Novel. It’s easy, then, to imagine the excitement building for the stand alone follow-up Dreadnought. To sate some of that exicement, Macmillan, the parent company of Tor Books, has posted the first chapter of Dreadnought for free on their website.

  • Kaitlyn May 27, 2010 at 7:34 pm

    Excellent! Started Boneshaker this morning and I can’t put it down, a couple of chapters in and I was already recommending it at work! Glad to know that there’s more from Cherie Priest on the way, and that this chapter is available for when I’m finished Boneshaker.

  • aidan May 27, 2010 at 7:40 pm

    Priest also has a novella, called Clementine, coming out from Subterranean Press, which is also related to Boneshaker. It’s a strong year for Priest fans!

  • Kaitlyn May 27, 2010 at 8:35 pm

    Nice! I’ll have to look out for that one too.

  • -ink May 27, 2010 at 9:37 pm

    Goodness, I was so glad when that terrible mess of a book didn’t win the Nebula. Am I biased because it makes an awful hash of the city where I reside? Yes. Am I biased because the author freely admits to changing around historical dates and ignoring all schematics of the city–but still commits to setting the book there? Nope.

    I had hoped that everyone would just quietly agree that steampunk is finally, officially dead, but that bandwagon just keeps on a’rollin, as the wheels come off and the banjo player catches on fire. :sigh:

  • aidan May 27, 2010 at 9:48 pm

    Steampunk’s dead? It’s only just getting started!

  • -ink May 28, 2010 at 10:04 am

    Well, steampunk is only now hitting the mainstream. But as a genre, a costumey meme and an excuse for putting dirigibles in a book, it has been around for a long time. Seattle has already hosted two SteamCons at the Marriott, and I recall a fashion article on steampunk in the New York Times (of all popular things!) way back from 2008 (, if that shows a sign of its ubiquity.
    I suppose I was just hoping someone would put it down mercifully before it got too mainstream, but that was a vain and silly hope.

    (Actually, sarcasm aside, Jeff Vandermeer’s Steampunk anthology has an excellent essay at its beginning regarding the origins of steampunk and how–in a way–the genre is just as old as sci-fi.)

  • SQT May 30, 2010 at 1:23 am

    I loooooved “Boneshaker.” This is easily my most anticipated book this year. I wonder if it’s a coincidence it comes out on my birthday? ;)

  • […] interested, you can also read an excerpt from Dreadnought. […]