What is needed for a good Steampunk story?

Out of curiousity, I’m thinking of writing a short story or a novella using it.

I’d say you need to find a clever way to intersect Victorian or Edwardian aesthetics with 20th/21st century technology, plus, you need strong, clever characters who can manuever a world like that with ease. Imagine your laptop as a Difference Engine-type computer as a good starting point/thought exercise…

Okay cool.
One of my main starting points for the story thats in my mind is having it in the earliest days of the industrial age, or just right about before it, in the year 1732. I’ve shifted Victoria’s birth to an earlier date, so she could be queen during this time, I’ve also found 18th century tech I think might go well with early airships too.

Wow, I’d like to hear more.

Looks like you are moving most relevant inventions at least fifty years ahead. There were no balloons until 1783, for example.


I wouldn’t shift Victoria’s birthday to coincide with the story. Steampunk authors (like Cherie Priest) drive me nuts by doing that (I’m a historian). I think it would be cool to have her uncles as Kings at the time, just as well. IMHO.

Mostly, there are zombies involved in the stories, although some stories don’t have them.

Of course, all machinery must be run by steam, no matter how modern it appears.

Good luck, and hope to read the finished product!:thumbsup:

I haven’t delved much into steampunk literature but I have seen it as a theme setting in manga, movies, and video games.

Try throwing in some hulking steam-powered robots if you want something action-oriented. :stuck_out_tongue: For me, the coolest thing about steam-punk is how it’s one of those genres that fit well with both science-fiction and fantasy.


Oh I almost forgot, if you want something cute, try throwing in a bit of gothic lolita. :smiley:

I don’t have anything to add, just excited to see a steampunk thread!

My ex-husband’s next novel is steampunk and our old friend Cherie Priest I hear is doing well with the genre.

Crafters certainly are getting into this design. :slight_smile:

Didn’t realize that the balloons were invented in that date, but the fun with steampunk is you can imagine if something had been before or later. So yeah, there are some invetions that now have an earlier date in them.

I am trying to think of a prototype steam engine for transporation too. Not something as it appeared back in the eighteen hundreds, but something far more primative. Perhaps I think something like an earth bound ironclad with tank like treads, so it wouldn’t need tracks. But this of course is still in the early ideas.

The protagonist I believe is going to be a female explorer/diplomate and will deal with teh issue of the colony of George… trying to dispel the tension between England and Spain in that area.

Bear in mind, the first steam engines were stationary…having efficiencies around 1%!!

I doubt such a thing could ever.have run on tracks. Huge wagon wheels seem to me more likely. Google “Cugnot steam carriage” for an idea what such a thing might look like.

God Bless and ICXC NIKA

Maybe I’m behind by a few decades, but does steampunk seem freakishly popular all of a sudden? I was browsing a craft store looking for beads to make necklaces and I noticed a line of steampunk-esque pendants and a book with some cool looking ideas for steampunk jewelery. Suddenly I’m seeing it everywhere.

Maybe I just never noticed it before…

Well when all else fails, resort to using Green Rocks. :stuck_out_tongue:


interesting design, and appearence. I might have to think of using something like this. Thanks

You know that might not be a bad idea either, the magical/mystical element works with the steampunk rule that there has to be some kind of magic in it. Perhaps I can use these or something like this to power the larger machines, or for those who have large sums of cash, as opposed to the smaller vehicles with large wheels for middle class and poor.

I have a hard time finding it off line, but then again where I live there aren’t that many stores catering to the sci fi/fantasy, etc. Maybe I could find something in Hot Topic.

Thank you for your opinion. Do you have any idea of which uncle might have ruled that might have made the society look like the Victorian/Edwardian society?

Her grandfather was King George III, and Mad George might be an interesting character to deal with in a steampunk story. Her father was King George’s fourth son, all the elder sons having died with out children. Victoria became Queen at a very young age, barely a teenager, on June 20, 1837, so that is still very early in the 19th Century. You would be able to have a young queen, not yet married, and hot air ballooning and whatever other steam driven items at hand. I think there might be a story in the young queen, and her charming steampunkish girl friend cavorting about Europe in disguise, where in she meets her future husband, Albert of Germany.

Now those are interesting ideas too, I’ll have to put those on the list of considerations for a story too.

I’ve come across lots of flash fiction lately where the writer merely inserted a zeppelin or an old-fashioned radiator/heater into an otherwise modern-day story and called it “steampunk.” :shrug:

Well what I have learned is there are more laws to the subgenre than just a zeppelin.

Yep! Don’t forget the zombies!

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