Steampunk on Mars. How cool is that? In her novella, Dreampunk, Hartshorn mashes the two genres together creating a wonderfully new world for the reader to explore. And on top of that we get a great action-packed story that pulls us along until the end. I highly recommend it!
Why the exclamation point? Because this is an indie-published novella. Several times this month I’ve mentioned how I’ve been generally disappointed with indie fiction. In many cases, the writing just isn’t up to scratch, but Hartshorn provides us with a well written story that shows us that traditional publishing isn’t the arbiter of good writing.
As well as being an SF/mystery/thriller, there’s a touch of romance, with the two protagonists playing cat and mouse with each other right up to the end. On top of the richly developed new world, with so many plot elements in the novella, the story could have become overwrought and cluttered, but Hartshorn layers the elements carefully so that they mesh together seamlessly.
One of the reasons the story works so well is Hartshorn’s attention to detail. Apart from her writing skills, she obviously has a science background. The science doesn’t exist just to look cool or give us a random setting. It’s part and parcel of the main character’s life. In fact without it there’s no character, or story and that, to me, is what makes great science fiction. Hartshorn also applies the same attention to detail to the non-science parts creating an equal interest in the thriller and romance layers of the story.
Seriously, who knew you could pack so much into a novella and pull it off well? Although this is one of Hartshorn’s first indie-published efforts, I expect to see a lot more of her in the future, both in the indie and traditional publishing worlds.
So, if you’re a fan of science fiction, steampunk, spy thrillers or romance, Hartshorn’s Dreampunk will satisfy your itch for something unique.