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Author raises money for steampunk children's book via website

April 21, 2012 - Andrea Johnson
This project seriously appeals to the feminist, the science fiction geek and the English lit major in me.

Jordan Stratford, writing as Airship Ambassador, is trying to gather donors at a site called ( to support publication of an e-book children's detective series starring a 14-year-old Mary Shelley (author of "Frankenstein") and an 11-year-old Ada Byron Lovelace (daughter of George Gordon, Lord Byron, an English countess by marriage and also likely the world's first computer programmer). In the series, the girls meet as children in 1826 London and decide to start their own detective agency, which is called Wollstonecraft after Mary's mother, the famous feminist writer Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin.

The series will apparently be in the steampunk genre. Steampunk is a type of science fiction/fantasy that is set in a Victorian era more scientifically advanced than it actually was, with clockwork computers and robots and airships and brass goggles. Stratford also promises to include math and science and to have his characters meet real scientists and poets from the era, such as Charles Babbage, Percy Shelley, Mary Anning and Etheldred Bennett.

As of Saturday, some 2,214 donors had pledged $72,449 to the book series. This is an interesting way to get support for a creative project even if you can't find a mainstream publisher. There are other projects on the site that also look pretty interesting. Maybe not all of them will attract quite as many supporters, but it looks like a good way to get word out to your audience about the project you're working on. This seems to be a way to get a book financed even if a mainstream publisher doesn't want to take it on.

Anyone who wants to check out Stratford's "Wollstonecraft" project or the Kickstarter website can log on to (


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