Friday, October 30, 2009


Those of you who don't know me may be interested to learn that I've been writing since I was in elementary school — and that much longer ago than I care to admit. Fortunately, my style and vocabulary have changed (I hope!) since completing my first short story, Flipper the Fawn, back in Miss Carmichael's third grade class at Wachter Elementary School in Independence, Missouri.

Since then, and since I began taking writing more seriously, my primary area of interest has been in the Fantasy genre, targeted toward the middle grade reader. So far, I've written four novels in that genre of approximately 40,000 words each. All four of those novels are still seeking a friendly agent to take them to the public, who will most certainly fall in love with them in a short period of time.

I've only recently acquired a significant interest in a relatively new sub-genre of fantasy and science fiction called Steampunk. What's that, you ask? Let me try to explain it as I understand it.

Typically, a work classified as Steampunk will be set in the 19th century, usually in Victorian England (or Edwardian sometimes). Steampunk can have some, or all, of the elements of fantasy and/or science fiction. But there's something special about it that differentiates it from the mainstream in those genres. You'll find a lot of gadgetry that was common in that era, i.e., steam-powered devices or clockwork mechanisms. Generally these novels take place prior to the Edisonade adventures following the advent of electricity. It's not unusual to find modes of transportation such as trains, dirigibles or submarines.

To give you an example, imagine the works of Jules Verne and H.G. Wells, including The Time Machine and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. More recently, I would classify Philip Pullman's Dark Materials trilogy in the Steampunk arena. By the way, if you haven't read the trilogy, they're excellent. If I've piqued your interest, and if you'd like more information, here's an excellent SITE that will enlighten you on more of the elements involved.

In many Steampunk novels, there is an inventor or a character who is obviously a genius in matters scientific, mechanical or chemical. This character may wind up being the protagonist or, just as easily, the villain of the story. I find it of great interest, and I'm thinking about trying my hand at it.

How about you? Have you read any recent Steampunk novels? Are you writing one now? Please feel free to leave a comment and let us know what you're up to.

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