That’s the name of the heroine of my novel KILLER OF ENEMIES. And while my novel is post-apocalyptic steampunk, her name is historic.
It’s that of a famous Chiricahua Apache woman warrior from the late nineteenth century. When steam trains were criss-crossing the west and Apache resistance fighters were trying to create an alternative history to the one that saw the end of their way of life, their entire nation sent into exile in Florida. . .on board those same steam locomotives.
And while the plot of my story takes place in some not-that-distant future, when electro-tech has been extinguished by the arrival of a mysterious cloud from outer space, many of the events—and the monsters my future Lozen has to fight—parallel those found in the ancient stories of the Apache peoples. Stories that tell of how the hero named Killer of Enemies in some traditions and Child of Water in others, had to destroy Monster Birds, Cannibal Giants, and other deadly enemies of a struggling humanity.
Like most of the stories I’ve written that fall into the category of sci-fi or fantasy, such books as my modern American Indian werewolf novel WOLF MARK, it’s hard to say exactly what led me to write this book. (Well, a contract from my publisher did help!) Except I always love this one question: “What if?”
What if, for example, the gap between the super-rich and most people keeps expanding. What if those planetary elites, who become absolute rulers, keep modifying themselves into something like cyborgs in an attempt to become near-immortals? And what if the science that supports them, is built into their bodies, suddenly fails? And the future becomes more like the past in terms of available tech?
Not all that new an idea, I suppose. But having my main character be a very tough Native American woman and building in that background I mentioned in my first two paragraphs is sort of unique. Eh? Plus her sense of humor, which is very American Indian. Plus, because I like action myself and have decades of martial arts experience, a lot of pretty realistic (if we willingly suspend disbelief long enough to accept the enemies Lozen must kill or be killed by as real) combat.
Also there are guns. And a few other things that go bang. Or boom. Or BOOM. I do love seeing things blow up real good.
A further note here on realism. Realism in speculative fiction and fantasy. I am very big on realism. It annoys the heck out of me when I am reading a book and the author blows it big time by describing something that is totally wrong or implausible, anachronistic (in a story where time travel plays no part) or way out of character. If I bring in a gun, a rocket launcher, a knife, you can bet it is real and used in a real way. Ditto for fighting techniques—ones I have used or seen used in real life. No kung-fu fun on wires (which I do dig in films).
Thinking of realism, there’s the character of Hally in this story. Not exactly his name, but that is what Lozen calls him. Not too many books I know contain a pedantic Sasquatch with ESP. But he and his people are in the traditions of every Native American nation and it was not hard at all for me to imagine them surviving into the tenuous future of my story. And he is both realistic and necessary within the context of the tale.
There’s no steam yet in this steampunk tale, though Lozen does sport a neat pair of goggles, which are quite practical in the sand-stormy southwest. But just as firearms work quite efficiently in the universe of KILLER OF ENEMIES, so, too, does steam. And while Lozen states her fear that the future of her future world may hold in it a rebirth of mechanized war vehicles sans electricity, I’m looking forward to it in future stories I plan to write about her time and place. I does love to make life tougher for my protagonists.
PRIZE ALERT: Joseph will custom make a pair of earrings for one winner who can choose from metal feathers, turquoise bears and various colored beads! Plus, we will be giving away a $10 gift certificate for one winner. All you have to do is post a comment. Say hello, tell us where you are at, whatever (wink)
PRIZE UPDATE: Congratulations to Katy who is the winner of the earrings. Congratulations to Alana who is the winner of the $10 gift certificate!
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Seventeen year old Apache hunter Lozen lived in a world of haves and have-nots. There were the Ones–people so augmented with technology and genetic engineering that they were barely human–and there was everyone else who served them.
Then the Cloud came and everything changed. Electric tech stopped working. The world was plunged back into a new steam age. The Ones’ pets–genetically modified monsters–turned on them and are now loose on the world. And Lozen has been thrown into a new role–that of a monster slayer.