Okay, okay, this post a is a little bit of a promotional post as the 10 writer’s whose thoughts I’m collecting are all in Rayne Hall’s anthology “Cogwheels.” And in full disclosure, my short story “Touch of Love” is one of the stories in the collection.
‘Cogwheels: Ten Tales of Steampunk’ is available as an ebook from Amazon and will soon also be on Barnes & Noble, iBooks and other bookseller sites. The introductory price is 99c. Not a bad price for what is actually more than 10 stories which the editor talks about here: https://www.facebook.com/RayneHallAuthor/timeline and can be explained with the statement, “Don’t let your cat help with the editing, even if he does have good taste!” Anyway, Rayne was kind enough to pull together the post below that gives us insight into the views of the authors featured in the anthology.
“Steampunk is a marvellous genre—a blend of historical, fantasy and science fiction, often with elements of romance, horror, humour, mystery and more stirred into the mix. It has been evolving constantly, like a fabulous machine inspiring variants, experiments and derivatives. Writers of all kinds have used it, tinkered with it, and enriched it with their creative concepts.
“Many Steampunk stories explore the relationship between humankind and technology, some delve into social issues, while others toy with the costuming, etiquette and gadgetry of an age that never was but might have been.
The writers whose stories are featured in the anthology Cogwheels: Ten Tales of Steampunk reveal what Steampunk means to them and what attracts them to the genre.” – Rayne Hall
“Steampunk is half what could have been and half what could be. Knowing the history of all of the different cultures of mankind, one thing rings out, you are either afraid and suspicious of strangers or you learn to be. ”
“Steampunk equals imagination gone wild. I’ve written novels set in the 19th century but history had to hem me in, keep my wildest fancies tromped down. Steampunk, on the other hand, asks if they can come out to play.”
“Steampunk is new territory for me, although it does share threads with the SF genre. It gives the writer, and reader, freedom to explore not the furthest reaches of space but of a land of what could have been.”
Kin S. Law
“The turning point between 19th and 20th centuries was also a turning point in attitudes, how we viewed the world. You can’t unite a world with ships, or telegraph, or internet, without expecting a radical, revolutionary change, and Steampunk is the best vessel for reflecting the changes of today.”
“To me, Steampunk means a fun take on my favorite stories of adventure from the 18th and 19th centuries, when the magic of science was still fresh and innocent. It’s also a chance to re-examine how far we have come. In the past 200-300 years we’ve made great strides and also some spectacular failures in human rights…I don’t think Steampunk should gloss over that, at the same time, every writer needs to write their own vision of this genre.”
“Steampunk to me is a reflection of a different time (albeit a created one), where science and discovery were moving rapidly forward and we learned more about the world around us and how it worked in intimate detail. There was a sense of adventure and the fantastical exemplified by Verne and Wells. I find that Steampunk is similar to science fiction in the interest and emphasis, and inherent connection to technology, but it differs in that science fiction has tended to show us a future and time that is dystopic, where Steampunk is inherently optimistic. There is a belief that all the world’s ills can be explained and solved, if we just go out and seek it.”
Morgan A. Pryce
“Writing my first ever Steampunk story, I may have fallen in love with this rollercoaster of a playground where the mad kid rules: nothing is too crazy as long as it rattles, ticks, tocks and steams. I found the tension between a historical setting, technology that doesn’t belong and the age-old question of ‘What if….?’ highly inspirational.”
Kevin O. McLaughlin
“To me, Steampunk is partly about the period—but is more about the flavor, the feel of the story. I enjoy it because it’s a structure with limits within which the writer can create from a dizzying array of possibilities.”
“Steampunk can be fun. It can also be horrific. Surprise arises when the two are mixed.”
“Beyond the corsets and goggles, Steampunk is about optimism. The genre is grounded in a time when human ingenuity was going to solve all the problems in the world. Because of that, I find it a lot more appealing than, say, dystopian or even 1980s nihilistic punk.”
“Steampunk fiction takes place in a culture that’s similar to our own yet different, so we can recognise ourselves in the characters and at the same time view our situations and social issues from a new perspective. The Steampunk world is based both on historical fact and on creative imagination, so when we read the stories, we are able to suspend our disbelief.”
“To me, Steampunk is all about an old-school awe at technology and machines, and it reminds us of a time when it felt like science could do anything. Cogs, gears, steam, they’re are all so much more physical than the sleek, neat computers we have nowadays. It’s that physicality we love, the way you can literally see the way the machines work. But there’s also a hint of darkness in all this optimism that particularly appeals to me. Amidst all that Victorian-era wonder there’s the spectre of pollution and inequality.”
Do you agree with these authors, or do you have a different perspective? Leave a comment and tell us what Steampunk means to you.