Monday, February 20, 2017

All Things Punk: Steampunk

Defining Punk: What is Steampunk?


  1. a genre of science fiction that has a historical setting and typically features steam-powered machinery rather than advanced technology.

    • a style of design and fashion that combines historical elements with anachronistic technological features inspired by science fiction.

    • Welcome, punksters! Hello and howdy to anyone who might not have a real handle on what punk really is. I stumbled upon steampunk by accident, really, when I read a marvelous book by Bec McMaster in the London Steam series. I was instantly smitten with the Victorian London setting and the mishmash of historical and science fiction elements that made the story fascinating. Along with the science, McMaster added in a vampire and a werewolf to keep me entertained (many steampunk stories would omit those, but it made me smile to see them there nonetheless). 
    • I still didn't know exactly what steampunk was, only that I liked it. So I began to read more books labeled in the genre and I joined a few groups on facebook dedicated to "punk" genres. I soon learned that there are many different types of punk to play with: from diselpunk to decopunk to cyberpunk. All of which have their own unique qualities and their own fun to be had. 

  2. Today's post is focusing on steampunk, and I'll get to the others in their own time. Steampunk really is that imagination playground for people who love history, science and the possibilities of alternate histories. I frankly adore the Victorian era, especially the fascination with the ways that science could be applied to the human condition. There was a darker side to that time period, as well, as we began to show an interest in the occult, magic and the forces that exert their will on human beings. This was the time in history that science and magic really began to overlap in the minds of many people, and that is a fertile playground for authors who want to explore that idea further. 

Imagine that the industrial revolution happened, just not in the way you remember learning about in high school history classes. Instead of electricity taking the primary role in mechanical engineering, steam became the energy of choice. What would the world be like? What changes would we see in the world if that really happened? These are the fundamental questions that steampunk lovers ask themselves. Authors delve into ideas about steam-powered machinery, mechanical devices that run on all types of "lesser known" energies, and how these inventions might affect the world. Put all of that wonderful science into the backdrop of Victorian Era England (or any other part of the world at that time, to be honest). History lovers get to describe the clothes, the ettiquette and the era they love, all within the context of a world they have created. Magical!

The Industrial Revolution was a time of great change throughout the world. History is built on moments in time, and if you change one, you can change many others. A ripple that could create a brand new world. A steampunk world! I invite readers to find steampunk novels and give them a try. Lovers of historical novels, sci-fi, and even literary classics like 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea will find many of the same elements in these novels. 

When I wrote The Alchemist's Kiss I wanted world where magic was ordinary. What would happen? How would that change the world? Not that much, to be honest. By the time the novel opens during the Civil War in 1865, Alchemist Icarus Kane has had enough of war and killing. He's ready to return home to London and lead a peaceful life. He's as surprised as everyone else when he finds a protege among the dead and the dying on the battlefield at Gettysburg. When they return to London a few years later, Icarus discovers that the poor and "Lacking" (non-magicals) are tired of paying for the magic that lights their homes and moves their goods. A revolution is afoot. What's worse, a dark mage has appeared in London and he wants Icarus Kane dead. As the Warden of London, Icarus' job is to put a stop to the chaos and return his city to the peaceful one he remembers. Nothing would have prepared him for the battle he was about to face. 

So, join me and Icarus Kane on a magical steampunk adventure. I invite you to step into Victorian London, just not quite the one you recall reading about before. There's much to love about steampunk, and I hope The Alchemist's Kiss can trigger that love affair for you!

~ Best Wishes

Please stop by and let me know how you felt about Icarus and company. As always, reviews are appreciated!

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