September 21, 2015
Horror follows vampire Nico to a new world, and an old horror within her responds; kill it before it kills her. Nico jeopardises everything on a lone, redemptive path rescuing victims of the underworld and hunting the nightmare that created her—a monster only Nico knows is there.A paranormal sci-fi noir. Darquepunk science fiction for the gothic, different, and queer. Gen X, gender fluidity. Polyaphroditic. Cyberpunk.Some sexual content; Mild language; Violence; sexual violence.
I created it! Darquepunk defines my new stories, which are paranormal science fiction noir for the Gothic, different, and queer. I wanted to write sci-fi but have a world---Darqueworld---which is a planet 400 light years from Old Earth in the Merope cluster, filled with preternaturals and celestials. The ancient gods of Old Earth left in their space chariots and sky boats to found a new world in an existing intragalactic society, and Earth's preternaturals followed, like the vampires, were folk, faerie, magic wielders, and so on. For it to be Darquepunk, it's mythological science fiction, like how steampunk is Victorian science fiction, clockpunk is retro-futuristic Renaissance, and so on.
The idea of Darquepunk has been around as long as March, 2015. I had this lightning strike, right when everyone was at Wondercon (which I'd ended up not exhibiting at). I had suddenly figured out how to do "vampires and witches in space", a manuscript I'd had in a drawer since 1997. Boom, it finally made sense. So I missed out on Wondercon, but that very weekend, I figured out the science fiction I wanted to write.
Darquepunk is noir speculative fiction about the space-faring and futuristic world of mythological creatures (paranormals) and celestials.
Wow, sounds cool! I'm guessing this is eventually going to start trending!
It is now! I'm sure there are many other authors doing a variation on futuristic celestials, like Jo Walton's Just City, which I haven't read yet. I'm trying not to pay attention to what others are doing so I can focus on mine. But I think what makes it Darquepunk is not only the presence of 'darker' creatures in a futuristic world but the noir settings. Noir fiction, as defined by WorldCat, 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."
With my first Darquepunk novel, MONSTER STALKER, I do have the noir setting, psychological terror, crime, and dark characters, but I break from the strict noir to begin the book with hope and also end on hope. A noir should end with a protagonist face down in a gutter, but my modus operandi, as you already know from reading my steampunk books, is to give the reader something to hold on to.
That, and I continue to have humour present in my books, which noir does not have.
In your opinion, why do you think this is going to catch on?
For me, it's Blade Runner with vampires. That's what it is. Darqueworld has celestial beings, biomechanical beings, artificial beings, Extra-Humans---humans like the magic wielders and psionics---and the preternaturals, co-existing with humans who are chrono-immigrants or chrono-refugees and who had figured out where the ancient gods had gone. They all have to play nice with native or First creatures and First bio-life of the planet, plus the space-faring off-worlders, their new intragalactic contacts. Of course dark intentions and crime make the Darqueworld society we're dropped into even more interesting. MONSTER STALKER deals with trafficking, among other things.
You referenced darquepunk with your steampunk works. Are there similarities?
I'd say that steampunk is Darquepunk's past---I do have characters from my Dark Victorian series chrono-travel to Darqueworld. So that was a big spoiler I just gave you!
I'm certain I'm not the only storyteller who has supernatural beings, magic, and so forth, happening in my steampunk. Darquepunk is only different from steampunk in that it's science fiction set in the future, not the past. Or at least a mash-up of the future. People and entities aren't the only chrono-travellers; parts of cities make the transfer too. The setting for MONSTER STALKER is Again New York, and there's a New London, Second Memphis (the one from ancient Egypt), Sister Orleans, Tokyo2, and so on.
Thank you, Elizabeth, for introducing us to darquepunk. I'm not one for futuristic novels, but I have to admit, I am very curious about this.
Elizabeth Watasin is the author of the Gothic steampunk series The Dark Victorian, The Elle Black Penny Dreads, the sci-fi noir Darquepunk series, and the creator/artist of the indie comics series Charm School, which was nominated for a Gaylactic Spectrum Award. A twenty year veteran of animation and comics, she lives in Los Angeles with her black cat named Draw, busy bringing readers uncanny heroines in adventuress tales.
Follow the news of her latest projects at A-Girl Studio.
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