“You can’t do that!”
I scowled. Another Lolita–I never bothered to learn her name–had joined me in the engine room. Turns out I wasn’t the only one who wanted to be the ship’s mechanic.
“I’ve done it before. If you mix the components…”
“You can’t do that!”
God, this girl would drive me to something rash, and I valued my position on the ship far too much to let that happen. No. I needed plausible deniability if anything happened to her. For now though, I needed to do my job–which meant getting rid of her, at least temporarily. I gritted my teeth into what probably didn’t look anything like a smile, but it was the best I could do. She’d been down here with me for five hours–it was about six too many.
“You know, the captain was talking about getting some new tools at our next stop. Why don’t you go make sure she knows what we need. Seems kind of pointless to spend the coin on the wrong stuff.”
She narrowed her eyes at me and pointed to the boiler. “You won’t mix the fuel while I’m gone?”
“If you’re back soon enough, I won’t need to feed the engines at all.”
Huffing a sigh, she flounced out of the engine room, taking her attitude with her. Her boots tapped an annoying rhythm on the wooden planks of the corridor as she moved toward the bridge.
I made a less-than-polite gesture toward the engine room door then picked up a piece of coal and a hunk of wood and chucked them both into the boiler.
I’ve read some reviews lately that complain about genre mash-ups that include steampunk. This one is too much romance, not enough steampunk (or the reverse). That one is too much paranormal, not enough steampunk (or vice versa). The list goes on and on.
Here’s the thing… I don’t understand the mentality that all forms of steampunk must be pure. It smacks a little too much of the pure-bloods only thing in Harry Potter. Maybe I’m too big a fan of genre mash-ups, but I am not a fan of only eating one thing at a meal too. I want to taste all kinds of flavors, and I want to see what happens if I mix them together. Sometimes they taste like crap, but sometimes… oh my goodness but they are yummy.
This isn’t to say that steampunk aficionados can’t dislike a given book for whatever reason their little clockwork hearts desire, but I’d really like people to stop saying something isn’t steampunk because it isn’t steampunk enough to fit their definition. Say it has steampunk elements if you prefer–I don’t think most authors would have an issue with that–and you can even say the steampunk elements fit or didn’t or… whatever.
But I’ve met a fair number of steampunks now. As a group, the people behind the genre are very friendly and welcoming. It’d be nice to see that attitude extend to how steampunks as a group react to books/movies/music/etc within the genre as well.