This week I’m excited to bring you a guest post from steampunk writer Katherine McIntyre. Kathryn recently released the third book in her adventure-filled Take to the Skies series, and is stopping by to give a glimpse into the world of steampunk and its historical roots:
When checking out a novel, movie, or some form of art termed ‘steampunk,’ certain elements have surfaced enough times to have become hallmarks of the genre. Even folks who aren’t savvy with the trend have come to recognize the assortment of gears, the Victorian style gowns, and the many pairs of goggles as steampunk.
Where did these elements come from? Well, to figure that out, we have to delve into the source of a lot of the genre, which is Victorian imaginings of the future, whether it’s Jules Verne, or H.G. Wells, whose science fiction has now morphed into some of the roots of steampunk.
These old stories from the Victorian era are where a lot of the style comes from, bringing in a historical element that appeals to a large group of people. As for things like welding goggles and gears, those are romanticized working class emblems that infiltrate into the aesthetic. Absinthe, which was popularized during the Victorian era, is also featured in many a steampunk soiree, as well as the tea rituals of the time. Even things like octopus motifs crop up often in steampunk items, but when you look to stories like 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, those integrations aren’t as surprising.
As the genre has grown, so have the parameters as artisans and authors alike have added their own takes, whether the stories are grounded in Victorian London or set in futuristic or fantasy worlds filled with airships. The meld of historical elements, odd, clockwork or steam-driven technology, and the imaginative reaches of new worlds draws fans from a wide range of other genres to fall in love with steampunk.
When I was tackling my own steampunk universe, I married my love of pirate adventure with airships. Instead of those swashbuckling escapades taking place on the sea, they took to the skies instead—which actually led to my Take to the Skies title. What evolved out of it was a meld of science fiction and old-timey Western gunslinging, combined with airships and steampunk flair from the autocarts in the streets to the intrepid heroine’s corsets and cameos.
Since steampunk is constantly evolving, the elements that define it continue to expand. As more and more creators make their mark, they add more to the wild and wonderful world of steampunk.
Ever since Bea and the crew stole that box from the British Merchant ship, they’ve been drowning under enemies. The Brits, the Morlocks, and the man who started it all—their ex-employer.
However, Bea finally tracks him down and prepares for one final fight against the man who made their life hell. He’s got superior numbers and more weapons and wealth than she could dream up, while she’s got a threadbare crew running on grit and dreams alone. The crew of the Desire doesn’t stand a chance.
But Bea’s spent a lifetime defying the odds, and she and the crew will risk it all—their livelihood, their ship, and their lives, for the chance to fly the skies free once more.
Secrets will unravel and loyalties will be tested in the smoking conclusion of the Take to the Skies series.”