Posts Tagged ‘steampunk’

The first annoucement that is coming out of the changes previously announced is a new blog – Of Dust and Gold.  This is a collaborative project between my fiance and I, based on a steampunk setting we are planning to write in.

The website is still in the very early stages of construction, but will be regularly update, wtih a serialised story starting to appear soon, we hope.

Of Dust and Gold centres around an old tramp freighter airship, Aria, and her eccletic crew, as they travel a region modelled on the Colonial Australia gold-rushes, with a steampunk flavour to it.  Hence why I found the old gold rush photos so interesting, and relevant.

We hope to give it a really Australian feel, which is somewhat different to most current steampunk.

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Sir Richard Hammerman, gentleman-adventurer, his most excellent companion Doctor Hamilton Gooding and his loyal manservant Obadiah Crabb, have plans to explore an ancient pygmy temple in the depths of Africus, though things take a turn for the unexpected in this alternate Earth steampunk fantasy adventure.

I was digging through some files and came across this completed 10,000 word story I’d written some time back.  It was my first attempt at having a go at a steampunk style story, but, as is normally the case, I added other elements in that I felt would be fun to the setting.  I had planned to write a collection of novelettes, all stand-alone but with an over-arcing plot, though they haven’t materialised yet, so until they do I felt I’d release this one into the wild as a free book to get some reactions.

The setting is an alternate Earth, where a number of fantastical elements mingle alongside historical events and people.  Alchemy exists, and science is a mix of it and steampower.  Mermaids and other sea monsters play in the seas, there are djinns in the desert and pygmies who ride pterodactyls in the heart of the Dark Continent.  Normally any type of historical accuracy annoys me, especially Hollywood histories which play really fast and loose with the truth.  This gives me the chance to go wild and really mix things up.  For example, the Empire of Albion is ruled over by the Immortal Queen Elizabeth the First, though true power lies with the Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell.  George Washington, Duke of New England, is a Hero of the Realm for defeating separatist rebels.  Other historical personages, such as the Duke of Wellington, Charles Babbage and Sir Joseph Banks are also all mixed in together.

I have written two novels of what I like to think as serious fantasy, and have plans for more, but I have come to the realisation that at the moment I am a pulp writer – and I like it.

Those big, epic, world changing bookstopper fantasy series – they aren’t me. It was hard enough to finish off the two novels at novel length. It was after doing so that I realised that I prefer the short versions of stories – shorts and novelettes and novellas – and more importantly, prefer writing stories in the pulp style; action, adventure, larger than life characters etc. Nothing too serious, nor high literature, but fun to read.

I find myself even preferring to read the shorter style stories – I haven’t read one of those mega series in a long time.

For the time being I am going to be concentrating on writing pulp style shorts, working on four series mainly; The Chronicles of the White Bull, Primal Tales, The Sir Richard Hammerman Adventures and Peregrine and Blade.

The Chronicles of the White Bull and Primal Tales both have stories already written and available in the Pure Escapism collection; Primal tales is fantasy set in a primeval, low-tech world, a place of wild forests and prehistoric creatures. The Chronicles of the White Bull follows the exploits of an escaped minotaur gladiator, travelling a dying world in the search for home.

The Sir Richard Hammerman is steampunk pulp; currently with a novella and novelette half-written. Sir Richard Hammerman is a gentleman adventurer who travels with his companions who travels an Earth similar, but not exactly, to our own, a place of weird science, of pterodactyl riding pygmies, airships and odd contraptions.

Peregrine and Blade is pure pulp, inspired by the likes of Robert E Howard, Fritz Leiber and their ilk. The first novelette has been written up in rough form – and can be read here – the first of many.

So there I was, minding my own business when another story idea emerged from my fevered imagination.  At this rate I should almost be outsourcing all these ideas and taking a cut of the profits…

Where was I.  Ah, yes, minding my own business.  Well, kind of.  Recently I had been going through my DVD collection after having an urge to watch action-adventure treasure hunting type movies – you know, the Mummy movies and National Treasure, King Solomon’s Mines, etc and so on.  Which reminds me, I still need to get Indiana Jones and the Goonies some day.

This gave me the thought that I should have a go at writing a fantasy treasure-hunting tale of the type in those movies.  Kind of like The Hobbit, but more on the action-adventury side.

And then I put the thought aside to go back and concentrate on Winter Wolves.  Except the thought didn’t like that idea and raised a name with me – Sir Richard Hammerman.  And that kind of forced back the idea into prominence.

And now we go back a step, to where Sir Richard first appeared from.

It started with a picture I saw, of a man standing at the top of a steep walled valley, on the far side a village clinging to the side.  I think it may have even had steampunk elements to it – whatever it did, it gave me an idea for a village for a steampunk setting.  In this village lived a young man called Preston who, for reason still being worked on, left the village to see the world.  He fell in with a company of explorers, lead by the gentleman-adevnturer Sir Richard Hammerman, and in the course of his adventures crossed the seas to the colonies and a wild land where ancient cities moldered amongst thick jungles and were strange creatures lived.

That was about the sum of the idea at the time.  Sir Richard’s name came from the Steampunk Name Generator at Brass Goggles and was too good a name not to use at some stage.  For a while the idea languished and may have been forgotten for some time until this new idea came to light and suggested Sir Richard.

This instantly made the story a  steampunk story, and personalities and ideas began to swirl around.  The characters – Preston, Sir Richard, Captain Archibald ‘Archie’ Hammerman, Miss Eva Redsmith and Professor Hamilton Gooding had before been only names, but now personalities began to form, perhaps inspired by the DVDs.

Sir Richard is the quintessential gentleman-adventurer.  Polite, well-mannered, with a dry, straight-faced wit and unflappable stoicism, he is the type to face the certain doom of an oncoming dragon with the line ‘Drinks at seven chaps?’

Captain Archibald ‘Archie’ Hammerman is Sir Richard’s younger brother.  Fair-haired and blue eyed, he is charming, adventurous, excitable and with a reckless innocence that can get him in trouble at times.

Professor Hamilton is less mapped yet, but is the intellectual voice of reason and caution in the party, though his deep-seated curiosity for the unknown and mysterious can often override that caution.

Miss Eva Redsmith is even less realised yet, beyond being somewhat mysterious and a treasure trove of obscure knowledge.

The young man Preston is wide-eyed and new to the broader world, fascinated by all that he is seeing and often lead astray by Archie.

Their adventures take them across the seas to the jungles, searching for an ancient treasure, surrounded by the danger of monstrous snakes, piranhas, tribes of lizard men, crocodile men and trolls and the wonder of lost cities and magnificent winged serpents.

Therein lies the gist of the story.  The difficulty lies in not starting another story when there are already others in various stages that need working on first.

A Gentlemen’s Duel

Posted: December 10, 2008 in General
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Amongst my collection of links was one to this video, a truly amazing piece of work.  Makes me wish I had thought it up.  But then, even if I had, i couldn’t do the animations.

Ah, steampunk.  Its great.  I’d like to write some at some stage, but not in Sharael.  It isn’t built that way, and to try and incorporate it would take a major revamp and a lot of work.