When the powers that be at Corrugated Sky Publishing decided to do a steampunk anthology. I said sure. I would love to do a steampunk story to include in it. There was one little thing I forgot about.
I had never written any steampunk. Shoot, I had barely read any. This presented a bit of a problem. For the story, I at least had a direction to go in though. The theme of the stories should encompass travel somehow, either through a race, or a journey or… well, you get the idea.
I rushed to Amazon for a few e-books that someone assured me would encapsulate the realm of steampunk and gave them a read. I was in for a shock. The stories were all fantastic, and imaginative in ways that I had never considered before. But they were also very different from each other. How can books from the same genre feel so very different?
I read a few more and pulled out some elements of each and realized steampunk isn’t really something easily defined in black and white terms.
Steampunk, I found, is more about the feel of the stories. Sure, they all had similar elements: Victorian clothing, technology more often than not based on steam powered engines, big guns and even bigger ego’s. I felt I had at least a good basis in steampunk to be able to start a story. And given the theme of travel, the ideas started flowing. But i didn’t want to do a typical dirigible story, or some steamship breaking ocean crossing records, or even a mechanical man that spouted steam as he ran down some criminal. No, I wanted to do something different. To my mind anyway.
I knew my experience in steampunk was limited. Still, I gave it a shot and came up with mechanical wings a person could wear to ride the area’s volcanic thermals. Don’t ask me were it originally came from. I’ve wracked my brain and the kernel seems to have embedded itself a bit too deep in my brain to suss out where the idea came from.
The story itself, Wings Over Staria, turned out better than I had hoped it would and got published in the Smoke & Steam Anthology in November of 2017. Check it out on Amazon if you haven’t already.
I’ve done a bit of searching since Corrugated Sky published the story, but I really haven’t found anything quite like it. And I think that’s what makes steampunk so unique among other genres. It’s ability to encompass a whole universe of ideas and bring them together while still maintaining their uniqueness.