I’m very picky with my contemporary reading choices, and my steampunk preferences tend to run contrary to the current paranormal trend, but happily there is now so much indie fiction available for consumption (combustion?), that I do find some great reads. Here are a couple of steampunk novellas (the first of their respective series) which I have recently enjoyed and heartily recommend. Both are set miles away from dreary, gaslit London…
The Author’s explanation of the series from the Amazon US page is nicely elucidatory:
These books are set in the Voidships Steampunk world.
What’s Steampunk? The quickest answer is “Victorian Science Fiction” and the pretentious answer is “Retro-futurism”. But more importantly where the “steam” part represents science and industry, the “punk” part represents rebellion. Steampunk stories tend to involve people breaking out of the strictures of society, and who needs to break out more than women?
What’s Voidships? It’s just a word we use to describe an entire world where, in 1843, Faraday demonstrated the partial nullification of gravity – and everything else is alternative history.
As someone who struggles with plot and politics, I could appreciate Turnbull’s skill in both. I think he’s chosen an excellent character to explore a complicated empire, and I’ve already begun reading the second novella in the series, ‘Blood Sky at Night’.
This is the first (free) novella in the Flash Gold Chronicles. Set in the Yukon, it’s a fast-paced adventure with zeppelins, gunfights, and compelling characters. The heroine, Kali McAlister, is an outcast in her small town, and also the keeper of her Father’s powerful invention, the eponymous ‘flash gold’. She enters her steam-and-flash-gold-powered sled into a dogsled race, hoping that the prize money will allow her to leave town for good.
The writing could use a little polishing, but it doesn’t get in the way of the story. Buroker is particularly clever to use a race to frame the story, as it adds its own impetus, suspense and resolution.
I hope you pick them up for your digital library! I welcome any recommendations on Twitter.
I rescued this collection of used nibs from among my grandfather’s possessions when he passed away in 1999. Dede was a very resourceful man who loved to mend things. From his itinerant life as a soldier, he had developed the habit of wrapping everything up in many layers of boxes, newspaper, plastic bags, rubber bands and string; we often teased him about it. As with all the possessions of dead people, they are a bit of a mystery. I don’t know why he kept them, since none of them are any good for writing, but they’ve remained in a little tin in my stationary drawer these past years, as a memento.
Thanks to the ingenuity of several Etsy sellers, I finally found a use for one of them, and turned it into a simple pendant. Writing and family, two things close to my heart. Here’s how to make one for yourself…
Jump ring (matching the colour of your nib)
On an appropriate surface, lay your nib down upside-down, grip the thumbtack with the mole wrench and line the tip of the thumbtack along the centre of the nib as shown. Be careful that you aren’t too far from the top of the nib or your jump ring won’t fit.
Tap the thumbtack gently with a hammer to pierce a hole through the metal.
File away the sharp edges from the front of the nib.
Using the pliers, open the jump ring. Tip: Don’t bend the ring sideways and out of shape. Pull one end towards you, and push the other end away from you. Then do the reverse to close it again.
Thread the jump ring through the hole…
… and close it.
Smaller nibs also make lovely earrings. If you have new nibs that you use regularly, you could substitute the jump ring for a clasp to allow you to easily detach the nib, although you’ll have to be careful not to ruin the tip as you wear it. Have fun!
A sunny weekend visit to Attingham Park furnished me with much inspiration – marble statues, curious clocks, intricate mythologies, a verdant aspidistra, mechanisms and bees and anecdotes. These old houses are full of stories waiting to be (re)told by bored writers.
The ornamentation of the interior is mirrored by the wonderful profusion of the grounds. Also, Attingham houses a great many paintings by Angelica Kauffman, who is a favourite of mine.
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