Tag Archives: steampunk

HPL Patrons Can Borrow These LGBTQ Fiction Ebooks Right Now!

22 Mar

At the end of February the miniseries When We Rise premiered, which chronicled the evolution and trials of the LGBT Civil Rights movement.  It is poignant to think back on all that has occurred in the last few decades.  I can remember when it was groundbreaking that Ellen came out back in the 90’s; fast forward to today when there are gay characters in many of shows I watch.  Recently I read three ebooks set during different time periods and I was struck by how the lives of different characters varied with the time of the books’ settings.  Two of these ebooks you can click over and borrow right now on Hoopla Digital if you are a HPL or other BCCLS library card holder and another is available on the tablets and ereaders for loan to Hoboken Resident Library Card Holders.

The Death of a Much-Travelled Woman and Other Adventures with Cassandra Reilly by Barbara Wilson

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The Death of a Much-Travelled Woman is the third in Wilson’s Cassandra Reilly series, which were written and set in the 1990’s.  Cassandra is a translator of Spanish Fiction and her work brings her to many different locations around the world.  Unlike the other three books in the collection, which are novels, this is a collection of short stories.  Wilson often weaves issues of the day into her fiction and it frequently has a feminist perspective, which was refreshing since many of the cozy mysteries I read seem to exist in a reality outside of our contemporary issues.  Cassandra travels all over the world in the stories including Mexico, the English Moors, and Iceland.  My favorites of the stories are one that is set in Maui which revolves around artwork Georgia O’Keefe created while visiting the island, and the other is the last story in the collection which has a very meta twist.  The first Cassandra Reilly novel Gaudi Afternoon was adapted into a movie by the same name starring Judy Davis, Marcia Gay Harden, Lili Taylor, and Juliette Lewis; it can be borrowed from BCCLS libraries.  Barbara Wilson is the pen name of Barbara Sjoholm, who besides translating works in Norwegian and Danish has also written a memoir and several travel books.

Looking for Group by Alexis Hall

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You may remember I previously wrote about Alexis Hall’s terrific Kate Kane mystery series which had been previously available on Hoopla.  Unlike that series which was in the paranormal mystery genre, Looking for Group would be best described as Contemporary New Adult Fiction.  In the story Drew, a college student in England, begins playing an online game (which Hall admits is an homage to World of Warcraft) with a new group of players and feels drawn to one of them who lives nearby.  When he learns that Kit is male and not female like he expected it causes him to do some soul searching about his attraction, but in a way which reflects the fluidity that sexuality is often accepted with today.  The novel also deals with the very modern issue of friends that you spend time with in person versus online friends and the validity of both.  One of my husband’s friends from high school met his girlfriend of 10 years playing World of Warcraft but people who don’t participate in online gaming or take part in online communities can often not understand the dynamics so I liked seeing Hall handled this situation in fiction.  Even being married to a gamer, I found some of the gaming jargon a little confusing at first, but there is a glossary at the back of the story you can jump to if you need help.

Romancing the Inventor: A Supernatural Society Novella by Gail Carriger

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Image via Amazon

I am a huge fan of Carriger’s work and have written about some of her novels in previous posts.  Romancing the Inventor is part of a series of standalone LGBTQ romance novellas that she is self-publishing that are set in the same Steampunk universe as the Parasol Protectorate and Finishing School series.  The first of these, Romancing the Inventor features fan favorite cross dressing inventor Genevieve Lefoux.  However the protagonist in the novel is not Genevieve, but her love interest Imogene who leaves her home to become a maid for a household of vampires, the only place Imogene believes her lesbianism might be accepted.  Too often Steampunk takes the trappings of the Victorian era like corsets and airships but has the social milieu be that of our own era.  Part of what I enjoyed about this work was that despite the inclusion of vampires and werewolves it looked at some of the class issues that were experienced during that time in history in a way that seemed more compelling and authentic than other Steampunk fiction.  Hoboken resident library card holders can check out the story on one of our ereaders or tablets we have to lend at the reference desk.  If you have never experienced an ebook before this a great opportunity to check out some different styles of ereaders and to see if the device is something you’d be interested in investing in.

Read any great LGBTQ fiction recently?  Let us know in the comment section.

-Written by Aimee Harris, Head of Reference

Light Up Your Summer Nights With Some Great Gaslight Fantasies: The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec and The Eterna Files

22 Aug

The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec

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The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec is a French film based on the graphic novels of the same name by Jacques Tardi.  Adèle Blanc-Sec is an adventurous Victorian-era Parisian reporter who seems a fusion of Nellie Bly and Indiana Jones.  She is played by Louise Bourgoin who manages to seem proper and intelligent even in the film’s more comedic moments.  Adèle goes to Egypt hoping to find Ramses II’s physician who she believes when revived will be able to heal her sister who is currently in a comatose state due to a tragic hatpin related accident.  But upon returning home she finds that the professor she had counted on to bring back the mummy is on death row since he was practicing his telepathic technique by hatching a pterodactyl egg; the pterodactyl is now soaring around Paris causing mayhem.  There is also a romantic subplot and lots of humor in this fun French Action Adventure from Luc Besson, the man behind The Fifth Element.  If you are a steampunk fan you should love this film as much as I did.  You can borrow the DVD of the film and the first volume of the graphic novels it is based on from BCCLS Libraries.

The Eterna Files by Leanna Renee Hieber

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The Eterna Files is the first novel I had read by Hieber, but I had enjoyed her story, Charged, in the short collection Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells: A Collection of Gaslamp Fantasy I wrote about in a previous post.  I had the opportunity to see Hieber read at the Steampunk’s World’s Fair and with her background as a trained actress, she truly brought the characters to life.  You can see her reading samples of her work on her YouTube channel and for those in the area come see her do a special presentation about the Ghosts of New York right in time for Halloween on October 29.  The Eterna Files focuses on two teams of scientists and mystics, one in the United States attempting to create immortality and the other in England investigating supernatural events and attempting to stop the Americans from creating an eternal leader.  The Eterna Files is set during the Victorian period and the clothes and locations are vividly described.  There are a lot of characters to keep of track of but I enjoyed the interweaving of the two teams’ narratives.  A few characters are also featured in her other works and I’m interested to check them out as well, but did not feel that I was at a disadvantage having not read them before The Eterna Files.  The Eterna Files and several of Hieber’s other novels are available from BCCLS libraries.

Bonus Book:
Insider’s Guide to Steampunk Fashion by Hannah Rothstein

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For those inspired by these titles and wanting to get in to some Neovictorian fun, check out Hanna Rothstein’s Insider’s Guide to Steampunk Fashion available to Hoboken and other BCCLS card holders through Hoopla.  This short nonfiction work will give you a brief overview of steampunk’s inspiration and the different types of outfits that Steampunk cosplayers (fans that dress up in costume) wear to conventions and meetups.  Included are full color photographs and hyperlinks to resources for further information.  Some of her prose is a bit on the florid side with concoctions of mixed metaphors, but due to the nature of the topic that seems apt.  The publisher Hyperink specializes in creating ebooks based on popular online blogs.  Rothstein has a background in fashion studies and art and has written copy for popular hipster retro fashion site Modcloth.

-Written by Aimee Harris, Head of Reference

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