Steamed by Katie MacAlister Jack is a computer-ish engineer in the modern era, at work a bit tired from going to a concert by the steampunk* band Airship Pirates the night before. His sister Hallie drops by to inform him that she’s auctioned off a date with him and manages to do something very bad with the materials in his lab. Shortly thereafter, Captain Octavia Pye is quite shocked when her first mate reports two apparently unconscious people in the hold of her airship. Naturally, there is instant attraction between Jack and Captain Pye. There is shock on her part and on that of her crew that he is wearing a shirt that proclaims him to be a pirate. There is disappointment on the part of Jack that, despite the beautifully tailored uniform, Captain Pye insists on wearing her corset underneath her blouse. There are a good number of explosions, chases and escapes relating to Octavia’s secret involvement in an organization trying to overthrow the Empire, all of which is somewhat trying to Jack’s Quaker beliefs. The point of view alternates between Jack and Octavia, Jack speaking in rather foul-mouthed modern vernacular and Octavia in formal Victorian-era language. This is a humorous and light, yet steamy romance, suitable for fans of steam of both the romantic and, um, punk variety.
*But why is it called steampunk? I have read a number of books now that could be classified as steampunk – Kenneth Oppel’s Airborn and Garth Nix’s Keys to the Kingdom series come to mind – but while the steam-operated machinery is obvious, I don’t see anything to make it punk in any way resembling that of, say, cyberpunk.