Monday, December 02, 2013

Guest Blog by Michael J. Martinez - Truth in genre labeling: Hard to come by these days - December 2, 2013

Please welcome Michael J. Martinez to The Qwillery. Michael is the author of the Daedalus series. The Gravity of the Affair, an eNovella set in the Daedalus world, will be published on December 6th.

Truth in genre labeling: Hard to come by these days

Explaining the premise behind The Daedalus Incident and its sequels and tie-ins requires a certain degree of finesse. It’s steampunk without the steam, historical fantasy without a lot of magic, a hard SF future crossed with a space-opera past. Alchemy-punk has been used once or twice, but there’s little actual “punk” in it.

My latest novella, The Gravity of the Affair, is a touch simpler, I suppose, though historical-fantasy-space-opera is as close as it gets, really. When you have Horatio Nelson sailing the Void between Europa and Ganymede, in the shadow of Great Jupiter, well…labels seem inadequate.

Fans of science fiction and fantasy love the notion of subgenre. It’s a short-hand for what you might be getting into, but as with most short-hand categories, not everything fits. Myke Cole’s Shadow Ops series can be described as military fantasy…but so can Django Wexler’s The Thousand Names. They’re both fantastic, but they’re very different books.

I think much of The Daedalus Incident, and most assuredly The Gravity of the Affair, falls into the category of historical fantasy – not that it helps a lot. A recent look through the top 100 Amazon historical fantasy bestsellers puts Daedalus in the company of Diana Gabladon’s Outlander time-travel series, Neil Gaiman’s Stardust, Cherie Priest’s Fiddlehead, and Marion Zimmer Bradley’s The Mists of Avalon. It’s certainly fine company, but this ain’t exactly apples-to-apples.

There are always going to be books that are hard to shelve, and the books of the Daedalus series are among them. On the one hand, I do wish there were an easy-to-grasp moniker for the kind of work I’ve done, because it might make it easier for folks to talk about my books and recommend them to others. But with that said, I rather like the fact that I’ve written something that doesn’t fit easily into a category. I straddle a lot of different things in my work, and for me, that’s what makes it fun.

My point in all this is that there are any number of books worth reading that might not fit a reader’s preferred categories at first blush. A fair number of my review on Amazon and Goodreads (and if you wrote one of them, thank you!) start with something like “this isn’t what I first expected,” or “I normally don’t like fantasy but….” That gives me all kinds of writerly warm fuzzies.

One of the reasons I’m putting The Gravity of the Affair out there is to give people a taste of what’s in the Daedalus series. Primarily, it’s a fun story that didn’t really fit in with what happened in The Daedalus Incident. Nor would it have been any good if I shoehorned it into the forthcoming The Enceladus Crisis. Instead, it’s a self-contained novella that can be enjoyed on its own – and give fans of the Daedalus series a little something extra to enjoy.

Plus, I’d like to think it eases folks into my little sub-subgenre of alchemy-infused historical fantasy crossed with space opera and hard SF. Space-alchemy-punk, maybe.

Honestly, I’m still working on it. But in the meantime, forget the labels and try something new, whether it’s mine or anyone else’s. Chances are, you’ll be glad you did, even if you have a tough time describing it to others.


The Gravity of the Affair
Daedalus eNovella
December 6, 2013

Before his victory at the Nile.

Before his scandalous personal life made headlines.

Before he crushed the French and Spanish fleets at Trafalgar.

Before he died a martyr.

Horatio Nelson, England’s greatest naval hero, assumed his first command, the 12-gun brig HMS Badger, at the tender age of 20. History tells us his first voyages as captain were unremarkable. Yet in the Known Worlds, where sailing ships ply the Void and the mystic science of alchemy works wonders, Nelson’s first command goes quite differently. With his brashness and emotions untempered by experience, Nelson’s rash actions as captain of the Badger threaten his heroic destiny.

The Gravity of the Affair is a novella set in the Known Worlds of The Daedalus Incident, with events that tie into the novel (though both works may be enjoyed independently of one another).
Links not yet live: Amazon : Barnes and Noble

The Daedalus Incident
Daedalus 1
Night Shade Books, August 13, 2013
Trade Paperback and eBook, 320 pages
(the eBook was published in May 2013)

Mars is supposed to be dead…...a fact Lt. Shaila Jain of the Joint Space Command is beginning to doubt in a bad way.

Freak quakes are rumbling over the long-dormant tectonic plates of the planet, disrupting its trillion-dollar mining operations and driving scientists past the edges of theory and reason. However, when rocks shake off their ancient dust and begin to roll—seemingly of their own volition—carving canals as they converge to form a towering structure amid the ruddy terrain, Lt. Jain and her JSC team realize that their realize that their routine geological survey of a Martian cave system is anything but. The only clues they have stem from the emissions of a mysterious blue radiation, and a 300-year-old journal that is writing itself.

Lt. Thomas Weatherby of His Majesty’s Royal Navy is an honest 18th-century man of modest beginnings, doing his part for King and Country aboard the HMS Daedalus, a frigate sailing the high seas between continents…and the immense Void between the Known Worlds. Across the Solar System and among its colonies—rife with plunder and alien slave trade—through dire battles fraught with strange alchemy, nothing much can shake his resolve. But events are transpiring to change all that.

With the aid of his fierce captain, a drug-addled alchemist, and a servant girl with a remarkable past, Weatherby must track a great and powerful mystic, who has embarked upon a sinister quest to upset the balance of the planets—the consequences of which may reach far beyond the Solar System, threatening the very fabric of space itself.

Set sail among the stars with this uncanny tale, where adventure awaits, and dimensions collide!

Forthcoming in 2014:

The Enceladus Crisis
Daedalus 2
Night Shade Books,  April 1, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook, 320 pages

May not be final cover!
Two dimensions collided on the rust-red deserts of Mars—and are destined to become entangled once more in this sequel to the critically acclaimed The Daedalus Incident.

Lieutenant Commander Shaila Jain has been given the assignment of her dreams: the first manned mission to Saturn. But there’s competition and complications when she arrives aboard the survey ship Armstrong. The Chinese are vying for control of the critical moon Titan, and the moon Enceladus may harbor secrets deep under its icy crust. And back on Earth, Project DAEDALUS now seeks to defend against other dimensional incursions. But there are other players interested in opening the door between worlds . . . and they’re getting impatient.

For Thomas Weatherby, it’s been nineteen years since he was second lieutenant aboard HMS Daedalus. Now captain of the seventy-four-gun Fortitude, Weatherby helps destroy the French fleet at the Nile and must chase an escaped French ship from Egypt to Saturn, home of the enigmatic and increasingly unstable aliens who call themselves the Xan. Meanwhile, in Egypt, alchemist Andrew Finch has ingratiated himself with Napoleon’s forces . . . and finds the true, horrible reason why the French invaded Egypt in the first place.

The thrilling follow-up to The Daedalus Incident, The Enceladus Crisis continues Martinez’s Daedalus series with a combination of mystery, intrigue, and high adventure spanning two amazing dimensions.

About Michael

Photo by Anna Martinez
Michael J. Martinez is a novelist, a title which still takes him by surprise now and then. He’s the author of The Daedalus Incident (one of Library Journal’s best of SF/Fantasy for 2013) and the novella The Gravity of the Affair, now available in ebook and Audible audio. The next novel in the Daedalus series, The Enceladus Crisis, is due this spring, and there’s a third book in the trilogy that he should really finish soon. He lives in the greater New York City area with his incredible wife and amazing daughter. He blogs at and Tweets at @mikemartinez72.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks, Mike. I do think there is a tendency toward genre bending and cross genre appeal. As much as I want to stick something in a box, there is more and more work like yours out there that doesn't.