What in the World Is Steampunk and Why Would a Christian Write About It?

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by Mary C. Findley

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I don’t know why it’s become popular to attach “punk” to music, fashion, and literary genre, but it is what it is. Steampunk can find expression in all these outlets, but many people say it originated in fashion or clothing. It’s a style that draws on the Victorian time period, including top hats, cravats, corsets, spats, veils and parasols, but adds a speculative alternative history based on the possibility that we might have gone with steam power instead of petroleum. It includes goggles for the amazing gadgets like airships and coal-powered vehicles, often made of bronze and running with clockwork mechanisms.

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I haven’t gotten into the music aspects so I don’t know about those. But when it comes to the literary genre, I’m learning more all the time. I was immediately attracted to the Victorian setting, because I love books written in the time period. And many Steampunk books include famous literary characters like Sherlock Holmes. I really got bitten by the Steampunk bug when I saw the movie League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. I wanted to write about characters I loved and those early scientific rumblings.

But I didn’t like some aspects of Steampunk. It’s supposed to test the boundaries of Victorian morality, and I would rather uphold strong morality than see how far I can push it before it breaks. That’s already being done too much today. It also tends to focus on feminism, and I’ve never been a fan of that. Steampunk combines some of my favorite literary elements: historical, scifi, and fantasy.

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So I wanted to make my own Steampunk series, with characters who stay true to the classic books I loved. I included characters from Louisa May Alcott, Robert Louis Stevenson, Charles Dickens, Rudyard Kipling, Jane Austen, and Edward S. O’Reilly. I also wanted to lift up married love, romance with restraint, true courage, camaraderie, and generosity. Be warned: There’s mild reference to smoking, dancing, and alcohol consumption. Evil men do evil things, but there’s not a lot of detail. The stories contain adventure, mystery, suspense, and a strong message of people who will dare anything and sacrifice anything to tap into the power of God to fight evil.

A Dodge, a Twist, and a Tobacconist is the first book in the series, and the ebook version is free. It also has a print and illustrated version. The Pinocchio Factor is the second book, and features a grown-up Oliver Twist as an eccentric inventor. The third book is The Most Dangerous Game, featuring Pecos Bill and hi wife, Sluefoot Sue (in case you ever wanted to know what her riding that giant catfish was all about).

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