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In the Books section this week, I interview Cherie Priest, the local steampunk author whose books are exploding in popularity right now. How popular is she?

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She is so popular that sci-fi author Charles Stross is trying to start a backlash against steampunk and Cherie Priest:

The Science! in steampunk (which purports to be science fiction, of a kind ... doesn't it?) is questionable at best (Cherie Priest, I'm looking at your gas-induced zombies) and frequently flimsier than even the worst junk that space opera borrows from the props department, because, as it happens, the taproots of steampunk lie prior to the vast expansion in the scientific enterprise that has come to dominate our era.

Priest's response on her blog is note-perfect:

OMG YOU GUYS it has come to my attention that SOMEONE on the internet is saying that my fictional 19th century zombies are NOT SCIENTIFICALLY SOUND. Naturally, I am crushed. To think, IF ONLY I’d consulted with a zombologist or two before sitting down to write, I could’ve avoided ALL THIS EMBARRASSMENT.

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She then links to her books and encourages people to buy them, read them, and then write her "letters of concern" so that she can make the zombies more accurate in future installments of her Clockwork Century series. Well-played, Cherie Priest.

(This Slog tip was brought to you by Third Place Books' new Questionland sci-fi expert, Steve Winter.)

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