Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Angels and Automatons, a New Zealand Kickstarter anthology

Steam Press is very pleased to announce that its New Zealand steampunk anthology Angels and Automatons is now live on Kickstarter at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/stephenminchin/angels-and-automatons-a-shared-world-steampunk-ant

This book will be a shared-world anthology set on New Zealand's rugged West Coast in the 1860s. The team of authors contributing to the project includes established names as well as those at the early stages of their careers, with folks from New Zealand and around the world. They will all be collaborating on the creation of a shared world in which their interconnected stories will be set – all of the authors will play an equal role, and the world will be unique to this anthology. The resulting book will tell a thrilling and distinctly New Zealand tale of exploration, invention, and destruction.

The anthology’s story will begin in the winter of 1862, when Swedish explorer Alvar Larsen was walking up a valley in the Southern Alps and found an enormous gold nugget that was shaped uncannily like an angel with outstretched wings. He purchased the land and reported his find in Hokitika, thirty miles away on the coast. Within eighteen months a town by the name of Angelston had been established and had grown to 12,000 souls, thanks to the area’s significant deposits of gold.

The town flourished, but the hottest rumours of the summer of 1864 were not of new strikes, huge nuggets being unearthed, or, indeed, of gold at all – the town was overrun with gossip about a new arrival. For the past year there had been a constant stream of men into the town but this arrival was different. A fleet of six carriages rattled up the muddy and rutted track from Hokitika, and an inventor was on board, they said. When the inventor disembarked it was revealed that this man of science was, in fact, a woman.

This inventor, one Elsie Muller, quickly set to work on the most significant project of her career – the creation of a clockwork and steam powered policeman that could protect the world’s less fortunate from those who would take advantage of them. She toiled night and day, and was making significant progress when disaster (and, some claim, villainous saboteurs) struck. The automatons went berserk, with devastating and deadly consequences.

The story that follows will be told by a collection of authors each writing from a different perspective, creating an anthology of interlocking and interdependent stories which together illuminate the terrible story of Angelston’s growth and eventual destruction.

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