Inspired by two of the most beloved works by literary masters, "All Men of Genius "takes place in an alternate Steampunk Victorian London, where science makes the impossible possible.
Violet Adams wants to attend Illyria College, a widely renowned school for the most brilliant up-and-coming scientific minds, founded by the late Duke Illyria, the greatest scientist of the Victorian Age. The school is run by his son, Ernest, who has held to his father's policy that the small, exclusive college remain male-only. Violet sees her opportunity when her father departs for America. She disguises herself as her twin brother, Ashton, and gains entry.
But keeping the secret of her sex won't be easy, not with her friend Jack's constant habit of pulling pranks, and especially not when the duke's young ward, Cecily, starts to develop feelings for Violet's alter ego, "Ashton." Not to mention blackmail, mysterious killer automata, and the way Violet's pulse quickens whenever the young duke, Ernest (who has a secret past of his own), speaks to her. She soon realizes that it's not just keeping her secret until the end of the year faire she has to worry about: it's surviving that long.
Purchase All Men of Genius at:
Guest Post from Lev AC Rosen
When I’m working on a book, I often try to describe the shape of it to people through strange, but hopefully true, comparisons. This book is in the shape of a person drowning and then coming back up, gasping for air, I’ll say (of something dark), or this one is like a chain-link fence. For All Men of Genius, I’d say the shape is a Rube Goldberg machine.
The comedy of errors style plot blends perfectly with mad science because of the Rube Goldberg machine. One thing triggers another, which triggers another, and by the end something terribly simple has happened (perhaps those lovers you knew would end up together from page one finally get together) but it’s been a lot of fun to watch; dominoes fell down, balloons exploded, bowling balls knocked down tea-kettles and what have you! The end result may have been simple, but oh the pleasure and silliness that happened to get you there! So, a comedy of errors is a lot like a Rube Goldberg. And a Rube Goldberg is a lot like mad science, with its strange contraptions that link one thing to another, to another. The two seem perfectly mated.
I confess, there’s more to it than Rube Goldberg machines. When I first began writing All Men of Genius, steampunk was only just starting to come back, but nothing new had been published yet. What I knew of steampunk was The Difference Engine and Homunculous, and I loved them, but I knew they weren’t quite my steampunk. My steampunk would be the steampunk of Wilde; because that’s how I thought of the Victorian Era. The steampunk I was reading was brilliant, but it was a bit gloomy for me. I needed something sillier.
I wanted mad science that was ridiculous. I wanted swearing rabbits and invisible cats, and all the other strange side effects that you never read about in H.G. Wells. After all, the mad in mad science can be dangerous and frightening, but it can also be absurd. And I knew that if my science was going to be absurd, my plot had to be, too. So I thought of the dandies of the scientific world; the ones who would use science to create unnatural art; I thought of Wilde’s green carnation. How could that be enhanced? A miniature peacock, perhaps, that sang like a nightingale? A miniature elephant which was really a cat, and so swatted at its nose with its feet? What about that swearing rabbit? So who were the people that would create such things? And why? What sort of world was it, I wondered, where science had been embraced by the dandies? And the truth is, it was our world. Oscar Wilde himself said that “on the slavery of the machine the future of the world depends.” We look back on Victorian London as trains and smokestacks and electricity, but it was art, too. It was finding the perfect shade of dye and mechanical dancing girls. Rube Goldberg was born in 1883. He saw it all around him. That’s what I wanted to see, too.
So I decided to write it. And about a hundred pages in, I looked up and said to no one in particular “I’m writing the literary equivalent of a Rube Goldberg Machine.” And then I smiled and I went back to writing.
Thanks to Lev for the great post. I loved his take on Steampunk.
Connect with Lev at his website
I have one paperback copy of All Men of Genius to give away, courtesy of Tor Publishing.
- Must be 13+ years of age to enter.
- Must be have a US or Can mailing address.
- Must fill out the Rafflecopter form.