History That Never Was

Home of Dawn Vogel: Writer, Historian, Geek

Thinking about Steampunk

Cover for Brass & Glass Book OneAt Anglicon a couple of weekends ago, I took part in a panel on steampunk with Jeffrey Cook and Andy Wolf. One of the things that we discussed during the course of it was on a scale of H. G. Wells to Jules Verne, where does your steampunk fall?

(The abbreviated explanation on that scale is that H. G. Wells did not have much science in his fiction, while Jules Verne did.)

And my answer was easy. I’m on the H. G. Wells end of the scale. I’m pretty sure that most of the innovations I came up with for Brass & Glass would not work, not even a little. My writing in this book (and the eventual sequels) is very much closer to gaslamp fantasy than hard science fiction.

That’s not to say that there’s no scientific basis in any of my steampunk writing. I actually did a good deal of research for The Trouble with the Tick-Tock Tabby regarding late nineteenth-century recording devices, and the one that appears in the book is pretty much legitimate.

But I definitely feel like there’s a place for both. And who knows, maybe some of my steampunk innovations do work, they just haven’t been tested yet!


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