Thanks for visiting my blog again! I always appreciate your support. Today, I'm continuing my series about writing steampunk fiction. Many people want to write their own stories and getting started can be a daunting task. Some people want to become professional authors who sell their work to the public. Others just want to write for a hobby. Either of these options are great, but many individuals fail to write anything. It can be hard to find enough motivation and creating ideas can be tricky. That's why I post these writing tips. For those of you who are curious about steampunk, I noticed the genre tends to have a dystopian vibe. In short, most steampunk novels take place in dark and gritty settings with a lot of violence. Some steampunk fans will disagree with me about this part, but I haven't noticed many steampunk stories with particularly happy environments. Most steampunk tales have a lot of feuds, political corruption, upheavals or rebellions, and many characters struggle to survive. Some steampunk books are downright post-apocalyptic. I'll go into more detail and help you understand this part of the genre.
We often think about successful metropolises with advanced technology, stylish fashion, and a genteel culture in steampunk fiction. Where does the dystopian part come into play? Many steampunk books are false utopias. Steampunk civilizations appear beautiful, egalitarian, romantic, progressive, and economically stable. Everything is different underneath the façade. Steampunk stories often feature cruel experiments, prisoners of war, plagues or famines, discrimination, unsafe work environments, etc. It's not unusual for the author to include monsters like vampires or werewolves that drag away humans and devour them.
Why is it so common to see dystopian themes in steampunk fiction? It probably comes from the cyberpunk genre. Cyberpunk was the original punk subgenre in the realm of science fiction. Most cyberpunk books are also dark and gritty with characters who experience great suffering. Cyberpunk uses high tech and low culture with societies that are on the verge of collapse. Steampunk is a variant of cyberpunk set in the 19th century. Overall, steampunk uses advanced technology through steam power instead of computer technology. The punk element also signifies a rebellion or political statement. Steampunk characters want to make drastic changes from their current living conditions. I don't blame them. Wouldn't you want to rebel against a society that allows oppression, starvation, corruption, destruction, and other dark means? In some cases, the issues in steampunk fiction could reflect problems we see in the real world. Perhaps the author is rebelling against something too. I think it depends on the individual writer.
I should give some specific examples. Cherie Priest wrote the Clockwork Century series as a steampunk version of the zombie apocalypse. It's an alternate version of the American Civil War where a toxic gas turned many people into zombies and then the disease went out of control.
The Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve takes place in a post-apocalyptic future many years after our current society created mass destruction through nuclear war. Surviving humans live in mechanical cities that move from one location to another. They compete for resources with larger cities literally devouring smaller ones.
Indie authors write a lot of dystopian fiction as well. I really enjoyed the Vitruvian Heir by L.S. Kilroy. It also takes place in the future. A great war took place and then the victor forced everyone to revert back to a Victorian lifestyle. People had to wear Victorian and Edwardian clothing, modern technology was eradicated, and women's rights were nullified. Our modern civilization was wiped away from the record books until a young lady discovered evidence about the 21st century.
Jonathan Fesmire wrote Bodacious Creed, an alternate version of the American Wild West. James Creed is a U.S. Marshall who died and was resurrected in a laboratory. Bodacious Creed includes outlaws, organized crime, zombies, and all kinds of mayhem. It's a really fun book.
My own book series definitely has dystopian themes. The Post-Apocalyptic Society is a futuristic setting that takes place after American civilization fell from nationwide terrorism and anarchy. Some time later, society was rebuilt with highly progressive technology and a lot of influences from the Victorian period. Unfortunately, the characters still encounter a lot of terrorism and destruction. It's hard to maintain a civilization when criminals are constantly trying to tear everything down.
I hope you guys had some fun while learning about steampunk dystopias. You can also click on Wikipedia's link for an in-depth explanation about dystopian fiction. Leave a comment if you have anything to say about this post. Don't be afraid to write your own stories and watch out for next week's post. Enjoy the rest of your Memorial Day weekend!
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.