One of the most fun aspects of being a writer is being allowed to immerse yourself in worlds far different from your own, simply by picking up your pen (or, in the “modern age”, opening up your laptop).
I’ve been a huge fan of the steampunk genre for years but, lacking the world-building skills of your Michael Pryors, Richard Harlands and Ben Chandlers, I always thought I’d never have the opportunity to write a steampunk novel. Contemporary YA is much more my bag of tricks.
Then, I came up with the perfect solution – why not write a contemporary YA where the protagonist become intrigued by steampunk, as I am? Thus, Writing Clementine was born.
For those of you who don’t know about steampunk, here is the Wikipedia definition:
Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction that typically features steam-powered machinery, especially in a setting inspired by industrialized Western civilization during the 19th century. Therefore, steampunk works are often set in an alternative history of the 19th century’s British Victorian era or American “Wild West”, in a post-apocalyptic future during which steam power has regained mainstream use, or in a fantasy world that similarly employs steam power. Steampunk perhaps most recognizably features anachronistic technologies or retro-futuristic inventions as people in the 19th century might have envisioned them, and is likewise rooted in the era’s perspective on fashion, culture, architectural style, and art. Such technology may include fictional machines like those found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne, or the modern authors Philip Pullman, Scott Westerfeld, Stephen Hunt and China Miéville. Other examples of steampunk contain alternative history-style presentations of such technology as lighter-than-air airships, analog computers, or such digital mechanical computers as Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine.
Steampunk may also, though not necessarily, incorporate additional elements from the genres of fantasy, horror, historical fiction, alternate history, or other branches of speculative fiction, making it often a hybrid genre. The term steampunk’s first known appearance was in 1987, though it now retroactively refers to many works of fiction created even as far back as the 1950s or 1960s.
Steampunk also refers to any of the artistic styles, clothing fashions, or subcultures, that have developed from the aesthetics of steampunk fiction, Victorian-era fiction, art nouveau design, and films from the mid-20th century. Various modern utilitarian objects have been modded by individual artisans into a pseudo-Victorian mechanical “steampunk” style, and a number of visual and musical artists have been described as steampunk.” (thank you, Wikipedia!).
So basically, it’s lots of corsets and parasols and steam trains and fancy rifles and fencing and top hats and amazing mechanical adventures and awesome. And it has been such fun researching it while writing the novel. It has also led to many covetings and longings.
For example, I so want this:
And if I had the guts to dress like this in urban Tasmania (and if corsets were a mite more comfortable), I would so rock these fancy duds:
As it is, I’ll have to live vicariously through Clementine. I hope when she emerges into the world next year that you are as swept up in steampunk fever as I have been. And, in the meantime, I’m off to gaze yearningly at some more pretty steampunky things …
And yes, this counts as work. Ahhh the perks of being a writer.