Mechanica: A Steampunk Cinderella Tale

Mechanica, by Betsy Cornwell, is a young adult steampunk retelling of the Cinderella tale. Mechanica, like other modern fairy tale adaptations (Wicked, Maleficent, Frozen) present a strong female character in Nicolette, who is derisively named “Mechanica” by her stepsisters. Like other versions of the Cinderella tale, the mother dies, the father remarries, and then he dies and Nicolette is left in the hands of her stepmother. The “steps” treat her as a servant and abuse her until she is able to escape and live the life she dreamed about through her long years of misery. There are several innovations in this narrative, including the addition of steampunk creations, that make this a vivid and memorable tale.

Steampunk is More Than its History

In 1987 K.W. Jeter coined the term “steampunk” in a letter to Locus magazine.  Jeter used the term to qualify the neo-Victorian writings that he, James Blaylock, and Tim Powers, produced.  This term played on “cyberpunk,” which was a popular genre in the late 1980s.  Enthusiasts embraced the term “steampunk” for this type of speculative fiction and it was applied […]

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