According to the dictionary, Steampunk is described as being “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.”
That’s great and all, but what does that mean in English?
Gears and cogs; smoke and steam; goggles and top hats paired with bustles and leather. That’s what it means. It means that the technology of today (and even the future) is run on steam rather than electricity or gas. It means the Victorian era took a firm grip on the world and refused to let go, so the world adapted. It is a world where the imagination can run wild without having to stretch too far to reach the wilderness ahead.
And, that is exactly what Corrugated Sky did last year when they published their Steampunk anthology, Smoke and Steam, in 2017. Each author offered a unique view of what one might typically expect to find in a Steampunk setting. From high flying dirigibles and air ships, to mechanical wings, steam powered trains and, of course, goggles, because you simply cannot have Steampunk without goggles. It’s an unwritten law somewhere; true story.
The stories are as follows:
Wings Over Staria – Mary Stewart, sole survivor of a shipwreck, finds herself stranded on a string of islands that have kept themselves separate from the rest of the world. She struggles to fit into a new society while trying to find a way home with the use of brilliant mechanical wings seen nowhere else on the planet.
Hekatite – The Victorian world runs on steam. On Seacombe Island, botanists have discovered the Hekate orchid, a beautiful flower that has a surprise: burning the sap from its seed pods produces more energy than coal. Edward Gray, appointed to supervise the Hekatite fuel refining process, is tasked with producing enough of it to power the airship HMS Nares in England’s bid to win a race to the South Pole. But the ugly truth about Hekatite is that it is also a powerful toxin. Will Edward’s quest be successful? And will he survive the race?
Heart of the Matter – Imagine a world run off steam, and smoke; a world where the supernatural powers have over-ruled the nuclear ones; where science and mysticism meet in an eternal battle for supremacy. Twelve years ago, that battle came to a head, starting World War III with the total destruction of Paris, France. Now, nations are falling, armies crushed beneath the weight of giant automatons or irrevocably mutilated by the supernatural powers that are wielded as weapons of an ‘enlightened’ age. Among the horrors of war, Geiger Fallon and his twin brother, Tristan, find themselves caught up in a wild conspiracy of experimentation and sinister plots that undermine the entire cause of the war at hand. The end result will either bring them closer together or permanently tear them apart.
Freedom for a Foster – Unable to use magic, Herbert was sent to a country that treats fosters like slaves and death is the penalty for disobedience. But when confronted with training from his past he must decide if saving another’s life is worth risking his own..
What’s more, our author, Karen Garvin, has taken the great leap of faith that every author dreams of, publishing a full length novel that is a follow up to her short story Hekatite. The novel, Seacombe Island delves deeper into the world we got a sampling of within the Smoke and Steam anthology.
If Steampunk is your thing, then these two books are right up your alley. And, if you’ve never read or seen Steampunk before, then jump on in and take a sampling. Both novels, Smoke and Steam and Seacombe Island are available for print and eBook on Amazon or direct through our site here.