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Set in the late nineteenth century-in a city a lot like what we now call Seattle Underground-when airships plied the trade routes, would-be gold miners were heading to the gold fields of Alaska, and steam-powered mechanicals stalked the waterfront. Karen is a young woman on her own, making the best of her orphaned state by working in Madame Damnable's high-quality bordello. Through Karen's eyes we get to know the other girls in the house-a resourceful group-and the poor and the powerful of the town.
Elizabeth Bear was the recipient of the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer in 2005. She has won two Hugo Awards for her short fiction, a Sturgeon Award, and the Locus Award for Best First Novel. Bear lives in Brookfield, Massachusetts.
"Karen Memory is a book that gets going right away and never stops. Surreally captivating, Bear's latest melds the genres of steampunk, fantasy, adventure and dime-store western together perfectly, thanks mostly to the charming voice of the protagonist. Karen's rough edges and obviously wicked intelligence are highlighted by nuanced details that establish her already likable voice as even more relatable; her charming (self-taught) misuse of phrases and terminology, and reflexive bravery and morality are just a few examples in this fantastic read." --RT Book Reviews, 4 1/2 stars, Top Pick! "Bear pumps fresh energy in the steampunk genre with a light touch on the gadgetry and a vivid sense of place. Karen has a voice that is folksy but true, and the entire cast of heroic women doing the best they can in an age that was not kind to their gender is a delight.... Karen and the ladies kick ass." --Library Journal, starred review "Bear's rollicking, suspenseful, and sentimental steampunk novel introduces Karen Memery.... Bear gives Karen a colorful voice, sharp eyes, and the spunk and skills necessary to scuffle with bad types as well as to win over people whose help she needs. Her story is a timeless one: a woman doing what is needed to get by while dreaming and fighting for great things to come." --Publishers Weekly "Fans of the steampunk aesthetic will appreciate Bear's affectionate treatment of the style. Weapons, gadgets, and their places in the characters' lives put together a charmingly inventive fictional Seattle--especially for those readers bringing along some knowledge of the city's nascent history." --Booklist