Posts Tagged ‘Western Steampunk’

Tomorrow I’ll be over at Coffee Time Romance for the California Authors RT Kickoff Party.    You have to register with the forum to participate, but it’s free.  You can put “suzannelazear” in the refferal box so they know you’re from Steamed!  It runs from Midnight to Midnight March 25th and there will be tons of authors there. 

Steampunkapalooza 2011 is starting soon.  Have you seen our lineup and entered our giveaway yet? 

Today we welcome author Seleste deLaney.

An avid reader of all things speculative, Seleste deLaney broke into the ebook world in the summer of 2010 with her erotic paranormal short story, Of Course I Try, the firs in her Blood Kissed Series.  Badlands is her first, but definitely not last, foray into the world of steampunk. When not escaping to made up worlds, Seleste makes her home in southwest Michigan with her husband, two children, and two dogs who remind her at every turn that the real world needs her attention upon occasion too.

Why the West?

by Seleste deLaney

I read once that in the US, people who write steampunk fall into two camps based on geography. Those who live in east coast states write Victorian steampunk, those in the west coast states write Old West steampunk. I’m not really sure what that says about those of us who live in the middle. People have asked me more than once why I set my story in the Old West when Victorian steampunk has legions of fans already, especially among romance readers who don’t see it as too far a jump from historicals. Old West steampunk might pull some western fans, but without the promise of cowboys, it’s a much more difficult crossover.

So, yeah, a smart fledgling author probably would have gone Victorian.

But even knowing that, I prefer not to think I’m stupid. For me, the setting was all about the story I wanted to tell.

Once I started thinking about it, there was no question where Badlands would be set. Ever, my rather unconventional heroine, wouldn’t have been accepted in Victorian England…at all. While it seems feisty heroines are okay in that world, Ever goes far beyond spunk in a corset. She’s a near-man-hater with a penchant for violence and zero tolerance for propriety for the sake of propriety.  In short, she’s far too rough around the edges to find even an uncomfortable place in Victorian society.

But in an untamed Old West? She might have a home there.

Then again, the west was still ruled by testosterone in those days (as most places are even now). That was the point when I considered the possibility of the west being something other than uncharted territory. Right around that time, someone brought up a western either set in Australia or starring an Australian actor (I don’t really recall) and all the pieces fell into place. If the west was treated as untamable and unwanted, turned into essentially a prison-nation, what type of life would develop there?

Suddenly, Ever had a place—one where a woman like her was not only accepted but appreciated and even revered.  And even more, it became a landscape where the trappings of steampunk would be displayed in a different light than they would against the backdrop of a Victorian world. There the crisp clean curves of a dirigible stand in stark contrast to the harsh jagged mountain peaks. And the shining clockworks glisten against the rough grit and dirt. It would be a world where such things are coveted and feared in equal amounts.

In short, it became an evil scientist’s play land.

But to Ever and the women she commands, it is simply home.

~Seleste deLaney


Badlands (Now available from Carina Press):

After a brutal Civil War, America is a land divided. As commander of her nation’s border guards, Ever is a warrior sworn to protect her country and her queen. When an airship attacks and kills the monarch, Ever must infiltrate enemy territory to bring home the heir to the throne, and the dirigible Dark Hawk is her fastest way to the Union.

Captain Spencer Pierce just wants to pay off the debt he owes on the Dark Hawk and make a life for himself trading across the border. When the queen’s assassination puts the shipping routes at risk, he finds himself Ever’s reluctant ally.

As they fly into danger, Ever and Spencer must battle not only the enemy but also their growing attraction. She refuses to place her heart before duty, and he has always put the needs of his ship and crew above his own desires. Once the princess is rescued, perhaps they can find love in the Badlands— if death doesn’t find them first…

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One thing I am fascinated by are flying machines and how they so easily—and quintessentially—fit into the steampunk genre.  After all, what’s steampunk without airships?

Dupuy Lome Dirigeable

Jules Verne enchanted us all with balloon travel in “Around the World in Eighty Days” and “Five weeks in a Balloon.”  Who wouldn’t want to travel in a helium filled balloon?   But aircraft get even bigger—even today, such as blimps and dirigibles, which are used for tourism, camera platforms, advertising, surveillance, and research. It’s not that far off to think of them on an Airship from the Golden Compasseven grander scale, such as passenger ships as elegant as the Victorian steamers, transporting people from one place to another with speed, elegance, and spectacular views. 
steampunk airshipThey could be grand and elegant passenger ships of gleaming wood and polished brass, or could be patched and clunky cargo haulers, or these vessels could be filled with the most fearsome people to haunt steampunk skies—air pirates!   


But ships aren’t the only things that can fly.  I’m also fascinated250px-Leonardo_Design_for_a_Flying_Machine%2C_c__1488 with the idea of personal aircraft—such as the idea of “detachable wings” – small powered gliders with wings reminiscent of a Da Vinci sketch.  One could almost imagine a ruffian in his leather aviation cap and brass goggles soaring through the sky on such a contraption. 

skysurfingHoverboards also enthrall me.  A steampunk teen could easily be dodging the police on some sort of brass and wood flying skate/surfboard powered by rockets, the sun, or who knows…

Finally, we can’t forget the flying car—whether it simply floats or has giant purple bat wings.  This is yet another fabulous, flying machine that could find a home in a steampunk world. 

Don’t even get me started on floating cities. 

What’s your favorite flying machine—fictional or fact?  Do you wish you could fly out the window on a red dirt devil?  Soar the skies in a giant airship?  A poster will be chosen at random on Friday to receive a bag of “productivity pixy dust” to inspire you and a small sparkly tiara. 

Happy Dreaming!

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You may think you’ve never read a Steampunk book or seen a Steampunk movie, but there’s a good chance you have. Find out more about Steampunk. It’s been around. You may even be WRITING IT!2509601257_24429a39c9

230111411STEAMPUNK is defined by Wikipedia as “subgenre of fantasy and speculative fiction that came into prominenece in the 1980’s and early 1990’s. These include works set in an era or world where steam power is still widely used – usually the 19th century, and often set in Victorian era London – but with elements of either science fiction or fantasy, such as fictional inventions like those found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne, or real technological developments like the computer occurring at an earlier date. Other examples of steampunk contain alternate history-style presentations of “the path not taken” of such technology as dirigibles or analog computers; these frequently are presented in an idealized light, or a presumption of functionality.”

Steampunk Fiction focuses on real or theoretical Victorian-era technology, and includes steam engines, clockwork devices, and difference engines. The genre has expanded into medieval settings and often dips into the realms of horror and fantasy. Secret societies and conspiracy theories are often featured, and some steampunk includes fantasy elements. These may include Lovecraftian, occult and Gothic horror influences. Another common setting is “Western Steampunk” (also known as Weird West), a science fictionalized American Western.

Historical Steampunk Fiction usually leans more toward science fiction than fantasy, but a number of historical steampunk stories incorporate magical elements. For example, Morlock Nights by K.W. Jeter (who invented the term Steampunk) revolves around an attempt by the wizard Merlin to raise King Arthur in order to save the Britain of 1892 from an invasion of Morlocks from the future. The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers involves a group of magicians who try to raise ancient Egyptian Gods in an attempt to drive the British out of Egypt in the early 19th century.

Fantasy Steampunk Fiction Since the 1990s, the steampunk label has gone beyond works set in recognizable historical periods (usually the 19th century) to works set in fantasy worlds that rely heavily on steam- or spring-powered technology. 

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