This is the final post in Steampunkapalooza. Thank you so much for making it a success, once again. Stay tuned for winners. Don’t forget, our Gadget Contest ends tonight, so get your entries in. Our signed book contest ends tonight as well–we have signed copies of two great books up for grabs.
Today we welcome author Nico Rosso. Night of Fire will be available on July 10th from Avon Impulse.
Taking the “What If?” and Making it a Reality
by Nico Rosso
Steampunk was real. In a way. Imagine you’re a farmhand in the 1870s, taking a rare day off to visit the county fair. And there you see a man on a steam-powered bicycle. It would’ve looked like science fiction come to life. The way technology was evolving, there was always a new and amazing machine just around the corner. Now, the steam powered bicycle wasn’t very practical, but giant agricultural machines and new developments in trains were quickly implemented and brought into the world. In a time when many people still made their own tools by hand, it must’ve seemed like fantasy made real.
So my job in writing steampunk is to create new technology that captures the same excitement and wonderment for a modern reader. A steam train, or a Gatling gun, while groundbreaking at the time, are too familiar now. The technology has to be pushed further. The Gatling gun turns into a Gatling rifle, fired from the shoulder and wound with a clockwork mechanism.
The hero of my first steampunk western Night of Fire: The Ether Chronicles has one of these rifles. Together with the heroine, they fight against a mining company that wants the land around their town. But again, things need to be escalated beyond the familiar. Instead of the evil mining company trying to buy up the land, they’ve sent a thirty foot rolling machine that can eat through the side of a mountain or level a whole town.
While my wife, Zoë Archer, and I were working on creating the world of The Ether Chronicles, we looked for new ways to let the steampunk elements drive the plot, while keeping the humanity consistent. It had to be grounded. If we were writing straight historical, then the inventions would seemantastic. But for our characters, each development is consistent with the world they live in. They can still marvel at the airships and motor-driven stagecoaches, just like that real farmhand in the 1870s, but because they understand them, it makes it that much more real for the reader.
And that’s the great fun of steampunk: taking the “what if?” and making it a reality.
So my question to you is: What real technology from the Wild West would you like to see in a steampunk setting?
Skies of Fire: The Ether Chronicles by Zoë Archer is available now. Night of Fire, my western set in the same world will be available on July 10th from Avon Impulse.
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