Full Disclosure: Abra Staffin-Wiebe is a fellow member of the Minnesota Speculative Fiction Writers’ Group, and I made a contribution to her mothers treatment (see below for details) and in return Abra wrote a bit-character appearance of me into the story. Some links in this article are affiliate links. Thanks for your support!
A Circus Of Brass And Bone is the first novel by author Abra Staffin-Wiebe, publishing under Abra SW. The story takes place in post-Civil War America, in a world without electricity. Rather, Fire Aether powers anything that isn’t run by the low tech of steam. This alternate reality is filled with strange and wonderful inventions like Bone aether (for healing wounds), and aether-powered-mechanical war elephants.
The Loyale Travelling Circus and Menagerie is at sea when they discover their ringmaster murdered, (by one of their own) which is the least of their problems. An apocalyptic aether storm rolls across the world, and the story begins with Chapter One: Everyone Dies.
When the circus docks in Boston, they discover a third of the population has been wiped out, crops are tainted and most aether technology devices are ruined or unstable at best. People are showing symptoms of exposure to the aether storm and what exactly is making all that noise in the woods?
Crossing a steampunk (aetherpunk?) version of The Stand with Carnivàle, A Circus Of Brass And Bone is a rag-tag exploration and adventure by a cast of colorful circus characters in an alternate reality turned upside-down by calamity and devastation.
“In such desperate times, what use is a circus?”
The Story Behind The Story
It’s strange that the tiny section following the main story in A Circus Of Brass And Bone could be more disturbing than the apocalyptic world-ending tragedy of the story itself. But the story behind the story is much more sad, and unfortunately, true.
Abra’s mother, Cookie, was diagnosed with stage 3c cancer. Over the next year and a half, Abra wrote and released short chapters of the story which would eventually become A Circus Of Brass And Bone. She also recorded and released an audio podcast of the chapters, along with a plea for supporters to help defray Cookie’s medical expenses. Those who helped by contributing toward the writing would be written into the story as guest characters.
Sadly, Cookie passed away fifteen months later. She left behind an essay of reflections and observations which Abra included at the back of the book. Abra dedicates the book to her mother, and I’m sure Cookie is very proud.
Check out A Circus Of Brass And Bone to fulfill all your post-apocalyptic steampunk adventuring needs! – [TWEET THIS!]
Ubercool Achievement Unlock!
A Circus Of Brass And Bone is a great read. ANY book that has an aether-powered-steampunk-war-elephant fighting against a herd of carnivorous-zombie-deer definitely wins the Ubercool tag here.
Her story gets the Arts of Darkness Shadow of Approval award.
More Fiction From Abra SW
Although A Circus of Brass and Bone is Abra’s first full-length novel, it isn’t remotely her first writing. Check out her website below for more high-quality fiction.
Check out this free novelette set in the same world as A Circus Of Brass And Bone: A Stranger Comes To Town
- A Circus Of Brass And Bone on Amazon (Affiliate link – thanks for your support!)
- Abra Staffin-Wiebe’s main website: aswiebe.com
- More Stories by Abra Staffin-Wiebe