One question I get a lot . . . What is Steampunk?

One question I get at a lot at all the events I attend is “What is Steampunk?” It is a defined genre but to me, it’s much more than that. There are two definitions of steampunk. One states, “a genre of science fiction that has a historical setting and typically features steam-powered machinery rather than advanced technology” while the others says, “a style of design and fashion that combines historical elements with anachronistic technological features inspired by science fiction.”

I always consider Jules Verne and H.G. Wells the godfathers of the steampunk genre. The created a modern view of technology using 19th century views. We steampunk authors use their influence to create our wild and fantastic visions bringing the future into the past.

Steamboy (2004) Japanese animated film

To me, one of the best movies to understand steampunk is the 2004 anime classic Steamboy. “England of the 1860s receives a technological remake in this animated adventure. Ray Steam is a brilliant young inventor who follows in the footsteps of his father, Eddie, and his grandfather, Lloyd Steam. After his grandfather sends him a mysterious mechanical ball that contains revolutionary power, Ray finds his world turning upside down. It seems a lot of people want that power, and not all of them have good intentions.” It has an all star cast (Anna Paquin, Alfred Molina, and Sir Patrick Stewart) and a cast of historical characters including Robert Louis Stevenson, the inventor of the steam engine. This movie is quintessential steampunk in every aspect of the vision it presents. There is also anime like Arcane on Netflix and The Mortal Engines movie are great examples of steampunk.

Airships, trains, mechanical beings powered by steam are the vision of tomorrow to a steampunk enthusiast. Goggles, backpacks, Victorian-era corsets with top hats and long coats are all part of the unique style of steampunk. It can be seen at conventions and festivals around the world and in books, television, and movies. Gears, open mechanics, copper pipes, leather, and Edison bulbs all represent the idea of fashion when it comes to steampunk.

A Clockwork Heart by Dennis Saputra

Although most things considered steampunk revolves around steam power, I also like to include it in magic-powered machines. In my novel The Last Magus: A Clockwork Heart, I combined magic with machines in this futuristic dystopia. This includes trains running on Magius engines, automail armor, and a clockwork heart. I also did a little of this in my novella The River of Souls, where I created a land cycle powered by an engine that pulled in ether from the air for fuel. Magic and machines are a fun way to take the steampunk genre in a new direction. Technology has a way of migrating into fantasy stories of one caliber or another. I would also include a bit of alchemy mixed in to make it even more interesting to include it in fantasy story writing.

However, steampunk is primarily a historical fiction genre, and my next novel explores into just that realm. Corsair and the Sky Pirates is coming out in January 2023 from Curious Corvid Publishing. Imagine if Jules Verne and Nikola Tesla met and collaborated. What kind of world would come from it? That’s the premise of my new steampunk historical fiction as the war between Tesla and Thomas Edison takes to the skies. Corsair and his sky pirates believe in Tesla’s vision for the future—a world where the people are free to use technology without bowing to their corporate masters in ERP (Edison Röntgen Parsons). Edison has plans for world domination and its up to Corsair and his merry band to discover the secrets of the master inventor. Take to the skies on the airship Galeru, from the ancient ruins of Egypt to the English Channel, the New York City skyline and the American Southwest.

You can find steampunk at various junctures around the world. If you want to dine in steampunk style, try The Edison restaurant in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Or if your travelling internationally, The Abyss Pub in Italy was inspired by the Kraken, or visit the Les Machines de l’Île Nantes, which is in the city of Nantes, France is an amazing artistic and creative steampunk wonderful. Mechanical animals roam, which is in the city of Nantes, France, is an amazing artistic and creative steampunk wonder as mechanical animals roam the streets. Here in the USA, there are plenty of steampunk festivals to catch your interest. Maybe I’ll see you there.

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Mark Piggott is an award-winning independent author of several fantasy/steampunk novels and short stories. A 23-year U.S. Navy veteran, his stories will take you from the shores of eternal Avalon to a dystopian steampunk future and other worlds.

The Forever Avalon fantasy book series—including Forever Avalon, The Dark Tides, and The Outlander War—is available online at Amazon and other booksellers. His fantasy steampunk novel, The Last Magus: A Clockwork Heart, is available through Lulu and other booksellers.

Get ready for The River of Souls fantasy novella from Curious Corvid Publishing. Coming in 2023 from Curious Corvid—the steampunk historical fiction, Corsair and the Sky Pirates, and The Last Magus: Dragonfire and Steel. Stay tuned for more new fantastic stories from the imagination of Mark Piggott.

My #NaNoWriMo project is finished, so now what?

I realize this may not qualify as a National Novel Writing Month (#NaNoWriMo) project, but it was mine. This past year, I wrote a monster of a fantasy novel called The Last Magus. It was 189,000 words… Like I said, a monster. I just writing and writing until I put a pin in it and thought it was done. Boy, was I wrong.

I realized that it was just too big, so I decide I needed to turn one novel into two. That became my #NaNoWriMo project… Taking one gigantic read and cutting into two. This meant finding a good halfway point, a new epilogue for the first novel to help transition to the new second book, then a new prologue to keep readers in tuned to the storyline and introduce the second novel. Plus, fill in where needed to make them each make sense as two books instead of one. It was a lot to contend with.

So now, my work is finally complete. Instead of one 189,000 word monster, I have one novel at 110,000 words and another at 82,000 words. As a writer, it makes it a little easier that I now have two books to market to publishers and literary agents, not just one. I mean, I’ve been told that 189,000 words is just to much for a single book, but tell that to Gone with the Wind or War and Peace, right? I don’t know which is easier, but what’s done is done. The Last Magus: A Clockwork Heart and The Last Magus: Dragonfire and Steel are their own stories.

Now comes the hard part of trying to get someone to pick them up to publish. I will go the self-publishing route on Amazon Publishing, if necessary, to get my stories out there but I want to take the time and see if someone will take a chance on me. In the meantime, I will continue to send out submission after submission to whomever is open for submissions. For now, here’s a brief glimpse into the world of The Last Magus.

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The Kingdom of Attlain was a strange world of magic and miracles of modern invention. Humans and Demi-Humans—Alfs, Dwarves, Catsei, and many other unique races—built cities on the technological might of modern marvels called “Magius Engines.” These engines, powered by magic, light the darkness through electric lamps, connected the cities, villages, and towns in all directions by a network of Magius-powered trains and iron-hulled ships. It was a world of endless wonders, as well as many dangers.

Everyone knew Attlain as “the land of eternal magic” and rightfully deserved the distinction. Magic was at the heart of Attlain society, with nearly a third of the population able to use it somehow. Laws governed the use, and misuse, of magic under the watchful eye of the Helios Arcanum. The Arcanum researched and protected the secrets of magic, ensuring no one abused it within the four corners of Attlain.

Across the landscape—Solara and the Iron Wasteland, along the Skjem-Tur Mountains, to Celestrium by the sea—lived monsters of all types. These were creatures of all manner and breadth, vicious and evil, threatening to everyone in Attlain. To that end, the people utilized professional adventurers to root out these creatures and keep them safe. These fighters, magic casters, clerics, and the like kept the ever-changing population at bay. Among these adventurers was a unique group of men and women known as the Magus.

Since time immemorial, the Magus were the protectors of magic, armed with a magic caster’s power and a warrior’s strength. They were able to summon various magical weapons from specialized caches they wore known as an Armory of Attlain. They were legendary among the people of Attlain until the Magus Rebellion. When a few Magus decided they should lead the people instead of protecting them, they rebelled; but the insurrection ended from within the Magus ranks. However, the rebellion already did the damage. The remaining Magus were cast out, feared, and outlawed by all accounts except those few who remained loyal to the crown and lived as adventurers. For generations, they had all but disappeared from Attlain.

After decades of unknown absence from the landscape, a new Magus emerged to reclaim the banner and restore the Magus’s dignity. His name was Marcus Gideon, the Last Magus of Attlain.

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Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon fantasy book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon. The Dark Tides: Book 2 of the Forever Avalon Series is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook from iUniverse Publishing and at Amazon, and other booksellers. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook from Austin Macauley Publishing, and at Amazon and other booksellers.