Friday, October 19, 2012

The Steampunk Version

I read once that steampunk is the future reinventing the past. I am fascinated by the possibilities of steam technology and what can happen in closets under the stairs, in dark studies, underground laboratories, and Victorian train stations. 

Much of our current technology has its "Steamy" counterpart. For example:

Emails - Steampunk replaces them with letters. Extra points if they are in a code or a special ink that self-immolates or grows visible under the light of a certain kind of candle. I picture sealing wax, loads of stamps, a long address written by a rusty nib, and a fat missive within.
The image for this letter comes from a blog about Frank Kingdon-Ward, an explorer and plant collector.  Do check it out - it's fascinating!

Computers - Instead, use a Difference Engine or typewriters. My own preference is the Hansen Writing Ball or the Bar-Lock. Of course I added my own quantum element to the machine to create the Crown Phoenix.
Difference Engine

Lasers - I used pistols instead, but there are many weapons that are far more creative in steampunk novels out there. Rotating shooter cuffs, deadly assault hats, exploding corsets - why not?
Edwardian era pistol

Digital - Replaced with Analog, of course. Numbers rotate on dials instead of flickering on a screen. This requires some investigation into the physics and science behind clockworks, gears, and steam engines.
Electroshock therapy, Edwardian style. SWEET!

TaiKwando or Karate - (or any kind of fighting style) Replaced with Bartitsu, the Victorian counterpart used by Sherlock Holmes and still taught today. I love the movements and names of the various methods, such as "How to Assist a Gentleman Out of the Room." It includes a long study of how to use a cane as a weapon, I believe.

Planes or rockets - Of course airships are the travel method of choice. I would also include steam trains, steam ships, and my new favorite : bathyspheres.
Steampunk bathyspheres. I love these.

All of the above do, as I said, require research and some study. That can be very eye-opening and suggest entirely new plot points or, perhaps, other manuscripts.


Johanna Garth said...

I really want a difference engine!!

David M. Brown said...

I'd like a bathysphere please :)

Amazon will probably have them ;)

Ross M Kitson said...

I'm with David- I'd like a Bathysphere, to launch from my Nautalus, preferably in brass finish.
(Top of my Xmas list, along with a few automatons)

Alison DeLuca said...

Bathyspheres all round, and a Difference Engine for Johanna!

Connie J Jasperson said...

I dare anyone to defy me when my cane is in my hand! Never mess with grandma when her corset is feeling a bit tight!

Olli said...

Hi, thank you for sharing the image of my grandfather's Victorian letter card. It really is rather beautiful isn't it?
It would be most kind if you could however include a link back to my website somewhere.

Alison DeLuca said...

I certainly will, and my apologies. The story behind the letter is fascinating; I'm so glad you pointed it out to me. The link is now there, as well as short description and recommendation for the blog.

Thanks so much for putting that beautiful image on the web for us all to enjoy, as well as the story of your grandfather's life.