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bear by san

March 2017



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writing karen memory

i feel like walking the world, walking the world

The Kirkus review for Karen Memory is in, and they loved it enough to make my name a terrible pun.


Steampunk: Something of a new venture for Bear, whose previous output (Steles of the Sky, 2014, etc.) has ranged from heroic fantasy to science fiction, often with an embedded murder mystery.

By the late 19th century, airships ply the trade and passenger routes, optimistic miners head in droves for the Alaskan gold fields, and steam-powered robots invented by licensed Mad Scientists do much of the heavy (and sometimes delicate) work. In Rapid City on the U.S. northwest coast, Madame Damnable operates the Hôtel Mon Cherie, a high-class bordello, paying a hefty “sewing machine tax” for the privilege. Here, orphaned horse-breaker and narrator Karen Memery (Bear doesn’t tell us why the book’s title is spelled differently) works among similarly lively, engaging and resourceful girls. One night, Priya, a malnourished but tough young woman, arrives at the door carrying the badly wounded Merry Lee, who escaped from one of the grim brothels operated by brutal gangster Peter Bantle and has since made a career of rescuing other indentured girls from Bantle’s clutches. Madame Damnable’s steam-powered mechanical surgeon saves Merry’s life—but not before Bantle himself shows up, wearing, Karen notes, a peculiar glove that somehow can compel others to obey his commands. Worse, the following night the girls discover the body of a murdered prostitute nearby. U.S. Deputy Marshal Bass Reeves arrives with his Comanche sidekick, Tomoatooah; they’re tracking a serial killer who seems to have made his way to Rapid City. The story swiftly knots itself into steampunk-ishly surreal complications, with dauntless (and, by this point, love-stricken) Karen in the thick of the action.

Supplies all the Bear necessities: strong female characters, existential threats, intriguing developments and a touch of the light fantastic.


I'm just gonna put that Cynthia Sheppard cover on everything from now on. I love it so very, very much.

Now I have to update my website with reviews and art, and then go write 2000 words.


I keep petting it and fanning myself.
Great review! The book looks interesting and will immediately go onto my Books To Buy list.
Hunh. About the cover quote from WIRED: isn't that a little sexist?
I suspect it's meant as in hot commodity, not as one of the sexiest writers around.
yes I am aware of that it was intended as a joke...
*eyebrow* *g*

I don't think they meant it THAT way.
Odd question, because it will niggle at me otherwise - is Bass Reeves' name meant to be pronounced as in 'smallmouth bass' or as in 'bass guitar'? (That's a great review, and I'm looking forward to my copy of the book.)

Dunno, honestly. I say Bass like the fish, but I might be wrong.
Fair enough - thanks.



I think they like you :)
Dude. That pun is amazing. =D I love it.
Wow. Nice.

Although I would disagree with the first line, all things considered; New Amsterdam and its relations are definitely at least gaslamp fantasies (As well as alternate histories), which is the broader range in which Steampunk lives....


I Love it!

Re: :)

You look pretty good in that dress.
OK. Love the pun, the cover is top notch (bustle with a rustle = win) and I would have pronounced "Bass" like the fish. I went to school with a pair of brothers with that surname and that's how they pronounced it. I'm so used to it as a surname, I hadn't thought of it as a first name, but I like it. Is it February yet?