Title: Monster Stalker (Darquepunk Novel #1)
Author: Elizabeth Watasin
Anticipated Publish Date: September 21, 2015
Publisher: A-Girl Studio
Genres: Cyberpunk, Science Fiction
Thanks to Twisted Book Junkie for the opportunity to share something I'm excited about, and one that ends in "punk." Yes, the suffix "punk" is overused in writing genres. First was cyberpunk, which Merriam-Webster defines as, "science fiction dealing with future urban societies dominated by computer technology." Then there's steampunk (Victorian science fiction), Clockpunk (retro-futuristic Renaissance), and Dieselpunk, for retro-futurism in cultures post-Victorian and up to the 1950s. But you can see what's common among these "punk" genres: technology and alternate history.
I've written Gothic and paranormal steampunk (my Dark Victorian series). But last March (while Wondercon was happening) I'd had a lightning bolt on how to world-build a science fiction story that had been sitting in a drawer for eighteen years (good grief). The premise was "vampires and witches in space." When I figured it out, it became noir speculative fiction, one with a spacefaring and futuristic society of Earth's mythological creatures (paranormals) and celestials.
Darqueworld: a dusk planet located 400 light years from Old Earth in the Merope Nebula. Earth's gods left in their space chariots and sky boats to found a new place in an existing intragalactic society, and Earth's preternaturals followed. The vampires, were folk, faerie, and magic wielders; any Other-beings and humans who found a way to Darqueworld, came.
There, in a futuristic and urban noir setting of dark intentions and crime, Earth's mythological creatures coexisted with biomechanical beings, artificial beings, extra-humans (the magic wielders and psionics) and off-world races. My attempt at science fiction became what I call Darquepunk.
Yep, it's a personal naming, and one that helps me keep the stories within a definition.
I doubt I'm the only writer attempting this sort of storytelling. Jo Walton's Just City has futuristic celestials. But what makes something Darquepunk for me is the noir aspect.
As defined by WorldCat, "noir" is:
Taken from the French word meaning "darkness" or "of the night," noir is a category of modern crime fiction. Used for fiction of crime and detection, often in a grim urban setting, featuring petty, amoral criminals and other down-and-out characters, and permeated by a feeling of disillusionment, pessimism and despair.
In my first Darquepunk novel, Monster Stalker, my hapless young vampire protagonist, Nico Alexikova, drops into Darqueworld, an amnesiac with only her switchblade and teddy bear. She learns right away that this wondrous spacefaring culture has its dark underbelly, one she's somehow familiar with and which seems to hide an enemy that's after her–or she thinks may be after her.
In the tradition of noir, I have the psychological unease, crime, and amoral characters. Yet I break from strict noir to begin the book with hope and end with hope. A noir often ends with a protagonist face down in a gutter. However, my modus operandi, as you may already know from my steampunk books, is to give the reader something to hold on to.
That, and humor is present in my books, which is uncharacteristic of noir.
So here I am defining Darquepunk, which I find great fun to write as it has solved a longtime story problem for me, and I've already broken the rules.
Maybe I'll get it right in my second Darquepunk book. If you've a favorite cyberpunk novel, movie, or artist, or know of something Darquepunk'ish, tell us in the comments. Ideally, I want Darquepunk to be Blade Runner with vampires, but I haven't achieved the cyberpunk quality, yet. That would be very cool to do.
About the Author