Tuesday, June 8, 2010

SteamPink: coach car - Mattie

Meet: Mattie
Occupation: Automaton and Alchemist
Location: Ayona
Genre: Steampunk, Romance, Scifi

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by author, Ekaterina Sedia
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If you were to take a train last Sunday, for example, or possibly Saturday, and to travel from your current place of habitation to the city of Ayona (don't bother with the maps, there – you just need to go to the train station and pick the right-looking train, preferably a locomotive breathing out great clouds of steam) – suppose you had such a fancy! – then you would eventually arrive to an unassuming train station. It would be little more than a platform next to a quaint building, all red-thatched steep roof and small windows like embrasures in its thick stone walls. It's a lovely place, if a little unsettling. You would decide to go back with the train as soon as possible – but for now you might as well take a little walk while waiting.

You would also notice the traces of recent turmoil – while the worst is gone, covered up, hastily hidden, the overall feel of the square next to the train station is that of a bar floor carpeted with sawdust to hide the smell of stale beer and possibly vomit. Only here, it's blood, and the smells of warm iron and gunpowder would tickle your nostrils if you were to draw a deep breath, spurred perhaps by the brisk pace of your walk.

And yes, I know you would rather be on the train – after all, you only exited here to stretch your legs, and the train is whistling, one, two, and you're afraid that it'll leave without you. But you cannot help it, drawn by the peculiar mix of desperation and fearful joy in the air. This is a place that is brand new, that has been cleansed and changed, and doesn't yet know what it wants to be. The people here seem to be the same way – they slide from under your curious gaze, twist away from you smile, and hurry along, disappearing before you would ever be able to catch a glimpse of their faces.

Except this one. You would be struck by her pallor at first, by a strange way she moves – just a little off, insect-like, clicking. And only when her blue eyes would extend from her sockets on long, bronzed stalks to take a closer look at you, only then would you realize that the woman was not human – a relief, all things considered.

She would study you until you start wondering if she can talk, if she's mute or indeed sentient – maybe she's just like on of those person-sized toys, with nothing but a simple programming – and all the while you look over her black dress with a high lace collar, her shoes (feet?) that appear to be wooden and high-heeled. Her wide skirts, the foam of petticoats splattered with mud.

"You're new here," she finally says.

You would nod then, wordless. Her voice is so melodic, so human, so finely modulated. And there would be a thousand questions you would want to ask this mechanical person – who is she? What happened in this city? Why is there a shadow, a winged wraith that seems to be lurking at the edges of your vision every time your gaze sweeps over the skyline? But already you would turn away, beckoned by the mournful whistling of the train, and you would run, hoping that somehow, some day, you would come back and your questions would be answered.


Train thoughts by Ekaterina Sedia
Based on The Alchemy Of Stone. © 2010. All rights reserved.

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by author, Ekaterina Sedia
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The Alchemy Of Stone
by Ekaterina Sedia
Published: 2008

Romance steam gauge: light

Description from the amazon:
Mattie, an intelligent automaton skilled in the use of alchemy, finds herself caught in the middle of a conflict between gargoyles, the Mechanics, and the Alchemists.

With the old order quickly giving way to the new, Mattie discovers powerful and dangerous secrets - secrets that can completely alter the balance of power in the city of Ayona.

However, this doesn't sit well with Loharri, the Mechanic who created Mattie and still has the key to her heart - literally!

I like this cover too ;-D

A steampunk novel of romance, political intrigue, and alchemy.

*** steampunk book giveaway - courtesy of author ***

Sign up on one of the SteamPink giveaways to own a copy of this book.

* image source silhouette

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