Priest’s “Clockwork Century” series is a classic of the steampunk genre. The first title in that series, Boneshaker, is available in a new, dramatized edition from Graphic Audio. See the review.
Boneshaker was first released as an audiobook in 2010. Why come out with a new one now?
Well, the Graphic Audio people came knocking—and what they do is a lot more elaborate than your regular audiobook production. Rather than a performed reading, this is more of a full-scale dramatic presentation with a variety of actors and special effects. In short, though I’m very fond of the original audiobook and its readers, this is a different kind of audio storytelling—something my readers haven’t heard before (with regard to my material, at least).
Did the decision to offer a new audio version of Boneshaker have anything to do with the upcoming movie adaptation? Can you tell us a little about your involvement with the film and how it compares to your involvement with the audio work?
At this point, I’d be pretty surprised if the once-proposed movie adaptation ever happened; I believe the option has lapsed by now. That said, I had exactly zero involvement in the script that was initially developed or anything else related to the movie-that-didn’t-happen. Likewise, I didn’t have anything to do with the Graphic Audio production process, either. Once you sell a certain set of rights on a project, the author’s involvement typically ends before the ink on the contract dries.
And that’s fine, really. I don’t know anything about making movies or writing movie scripts, and I surely wouldn’t have been any help to the Graphic Audio folks, either. Those guys know what they’re doing. I would just be in the way.
What do you think steampunk is able to offer readers and listeners that’s better than other genres? Why do you like it for your storytelling?
I think that at its best, steampunk offers a way for readers to find their own inroads into history. For many of us, there’s often a disappointing sense that the past only had one kind of person participating in it—and that’s just not the case. Women, people of color, people of different gender identities or sexual orientations, and so forth and so on…none of us is a 21st-century invention. We all had a role to play “back then.” We were all there, and it’s worth talking about. It’s worth playing with. And I like to play with it.