In the darkest reaches of a new, improved, Aeroglass-infused taskbar, my email client of choice: Mozilla Thunderbird. And in Mozilla Thunderbird... a certain inbox.
(My own, as a matter of fact. I'm really a league behind on the emails at the moment; if you're waiting on a reply, I'm hoping to be good and caught up before I'm off on me hols - which is to say Monday. So there's that.)
Anyway. In that inbox, in that email client, pinned to that there taskbar - the very one! - a press release, would you believe. From the UK arm of the publishing monolith Tor, the announcement of a novel due sometime in 2012 from Melbourne-based author Jay Kristoff:
"Stormdancer is a dystopian fantasy set in steampunk feudal Japan and follows Yukiko and her warrior father who are sent on an impossible mission to capture a legendary Thunder Tiger – a griffin. But an accident means Yukiko finds herself stranded: a young woman alone in her country's last wilderness, with only a furious, broken-winged griffin for company. Even though she can hear his thoughts, and even though she saved his life, all she knows for certain is that he’d rather see her dead than help her.
"Meanwhile, the country around them is on the brink of collapse. A toxic poppy-based fuel is slowly killing the land; the omnipotent, metal-clad Guild is publicly burning those that they deem Impure; and the Shogun cares about nothing but his own power.
"In hopes of saving her country – and herself - Yukiko must earn the griffin’s trust to become a symbol to her people; a myth, a legend...
A Scotsman's thoughts, then, conveniently arranged in the order I thought them:
- My, that's a lot of genre buzzwords, isn't it? And all at once like that. Digital crispy bacon to the first person who can name another dystopian steampunk fantasy set in feudal Japan!
- With griffins too, eh? Well then.
- I drawn the line at toxic puppies myself. To think someone would take things a step too far and then somehow harvest fuel from the toxic puppies too. Imagine!
- Wait... poppies? Well, I take it back. Poppies are totally evil within acceptable tolerances.
Obviously there's a long distance to travel yet between here and the day I get to properly go on about toxic puppies, but for all that I might raise an eyebrow at Stormdancer's rather overblown early synopsis, I trust in Julie Crisp, whom you might recall brought us the awesomeness that was Alden Bell's The Reapers Are The Angels last year - only the last rise on a mountain of sumptuous speculative fiction she's acquired on Tor's behalf - and of Stormdancer she has the following to say:
"This is an incredibly imaginative and well-executed fantasy... a wonderful read that everyone in-house fell in love with."
So I'm in.
But what do you guys think?