I know what you’re thinking.
I don’t need 5 reasons to know Steampunk is awesome.
And I agree. If nothing else, the name drips excellence.
Or you’re thinking:
What the heck is Steampunk? Is that some kinda band?
I’ve been delving into the wonderful world of Steampunk lately, taking a stab at writing a story in the genre. I’m really enjoying it, and I hope that other people like my story when I’m done with it. I’m right around 8000 words right now with little to no signs of slowing down. Hopefully I’ll get to 10k or even 15k and have a novelette or novella on my hands. It’s a fun ride to be on.
But Steampunk is a genre with roots that go way back. I mean waaaaaaay back. But here is my top 5 list of Steampunk that influenced me.
5. The Big O
The Big O was one of my favorite anime shows when I was in Junior High and High School. It’s set in the near future where something has erased everyone’s memories and Roger has to negotiate deals.
Yeah it’s kinda weird.
But in a good way. To quote my friend Grant Barnes, “It’s Batman with a Giant Robot.”
It’s more noir than straight up Steampunk, but it still has steam powered robots and cool gadgets. The series goes more to the Cyberpunk side of things towards the end of the series, but I like that too. It’s just a lot of fun and worth a watch.
4. The Mammoth Book of Steampunk
I bought this several months ago and it is still filling parts of my day with interesting reads. It has a 3.5 out of 5 rating at Goodreads and Amazon, and that’s fair. It’s an interesting read that’s deeply entrenched in the genre, so non-steampunk fanpeoples probably won’t enjoy it as much as the true nerds. (Such as myself.)
3. Howl’s Moving Castle
Another wonderful anime set in a fantastical steam powered world. A gripping story with stunning visuals, it is a must see for steam fans and normal people alike. It’s an emotional roller coaster with everything you expect from Hiyao Miyazaki. You should probably go watch it right now.
A wonderful romp through a retro futuristic steam powered world. There’s robots, bird guys, and lots of other strange things to keep your interest piqued.
1. Final Fantasy IX
My absolute favorite Final Fantasy (and Steampunk thing in general). There are airships, steam powered monsters, and an entire city made of clock gears! What else could a steampunk want? Go dig out your Playstation or find a rom online. Great game.
Well there you have it, my top 5 Steampunk things. I hope that you will go check them out and become a fan of the genre. (if you aren’t already!)
And now I will leave you with a 500 word excerpt from the story I’m working on!
It’s unedited so be gentle.
Free writing! Enjoy!
“If I may sir, I don’t think doubling shifts will do us any good.”
Pennyworth jumped from his seat and leaned over the table towards Higgins.
“What did you say?”
Higgins shifted in his seat and then began his ploy.
“Well you see sir, the reason earnings are down is because we are losing workers by the day. They are working their hearts out to bring in the Glow, but some of them are so deep that their bodies can’t handle the stress and they tucker out. Forty two men were lost this past month alone! Forty two!”
Pennytop sank back into his high backed chair and pulled out his watch again. He rubbed it on his nose, then scratched his hair with it, and finally put it in his mouth and began tasting its golden shell.
“How do you propose we fix this problem Higgins?”
“Well sir, I,”
“And fix it cheaply…”
Higgins cocked his head to the side as he produced the drawings he had been working on for the past month. Pennytop leaned over to look at them, then he looked at Higgins with an expression of bewilderment.
“What in the devil is this? It looks to be… a … mechanical…man…”
Higgins smiled through his bushy grey beard.
“Precisely sir. We build a few of these to take on some of the mining load, and we keep our workers while production and profit soar!”
Higgins had raised his arms as if to imitate an eagle, but Pennytop took no notice. The mechanical man had piqued his interest. He began calculating the cost in his head, noting every detail Higgins had written on the yellowed paper. The startup would be steep, per usual, but the returns would be far greater. The dollar signs had begun creeping through his corneas and into his pupils.
“Do it Higgins. I will spare no expense on this project. Get whoever you need.”
Higgins spent the next two days on a steam train to the city of Crucible. The university there would surely provide all of his needs. He arrived late, checked into his room at the boarding house, then hit the first tavern he saw.
It was full of miscreants; some playing cards, others trying to play with the ladies. He seated himself at the bar and raised his hand for a glass. The barkeep walked slowly; he appeared to be favoring one leg over the other. As he approached Higgin’s seat, steam could be seen rising from a hole in his trousers.
“What’s your poison stranger?”
“I’ll have a sarsaparilla ale if you have one.”
The bartender reached underneath his counter and pulled out a chilled mug. Higgins was intrigued by this, and continued the conversation.
“Well that’s nifty. Cold from right under the counter eh?”
The barkeep smirked and snorted.
“University town. Those youngsters come up with all kinds of stuff and want to sell it. Fairly cheap too. This system only cost me two gold and five silver.”
Higgins eyes’ lit up with the low cost.
“And where can I find some of these budding engineers?”
The bartender pointed to a table in the back corner where three young men were seated with a young woman.
“Them right there. They sold it to me cheap, then turned around and bought ale from me for a year straight now. I guess that means they actually paid me for their own product. But my leg here was a might more expensive.”
He slapped the side of his trousers then pulled up his apron to reveal a mechanical leg. Higgins slapped a silver on the counter and headed for the corner table. The barkeep picked up the coin and waved to the youngsters. They nodded in thanks and called for another round as Higgins approached the table.
“Hello young gentlemen, and lady. My name is Wade Higgins, and I represent Mr. Pennytop and the miners from the town of Silver. If you’re interested, I have a task for you. One that promises to be most fulfilling for your careers and your pocketbooks.”