Steampunk and Dieselpunk: Why I love the esthetic, but can’t write it.

I am in love with steampunk and deiselpunk. I admit it. I just can’t write historical fiction.

I collect as much as I can afford to. Here are some recent items:

Steamed Glass Terrarium

My wife gave this to me for our anniversary. It’s a terrarium made from an extra large light bulb by an outfit called steamed glass. It has plenty to doohickeys to give it the steampunk esthetic, but they don’t do much. The only one that is functional is a knife switch that controls a little light inside. The light is linked to a light sensor and turns on when it gets dark. This type of plant is perfect for me because I often forget to water, and subsequently I have many shriveled and dying foliage.

What a vampire might carry around

Okay, so this isn’t really “steampunk” per se, but I like it anyway. Mostly because I made it. It was a Christmas gift to my wife. I’ve seen so many kits for vampire slayers, that I wondered what a vampire would tote around. There are various chemicals to keep blood flowing, along with a syringe (these vamps might not have fangs). The best item is a jar with the remains of a bony finger and ash. All that’s left of said vampire.

Dr. Grordbort's Infallible Rayguns

I’m a big fan of Weta’s rayguns. I snatch one up each year at the San Diego ComicCon. The real sized versions are far too expensive for me.

The Righteous Bison

Okay, this one I could afford. It’s made of plastic instead of metal, thus the affordable cost. It’s fantastic. No lights or buzzers, but we can all imagine, can’t we. I sometimes duel it out with the Bison and the traditional Star Trek phaser. (The Bison wins.)

Right now I’m also reading a great bit of dieselpunk literature. I have to say I don’t like most steampunk lit because it’s too sci-fi oriented. I need it simple with a compelling plot. And Scott Westerfeld‘s Leviathan is just the ticket. Just watch the video below and you’ll be hooked.

I’m almost done and hoping that it’ll be a series like Uglies.

My wife is on the second book of The Parasol Protectorate by Gail Carriger. It’s more along the lines of TruBlood (ie vamps and werewolves are out). The book takes place in an alternate history with a light steampunk feel.

Soulless: Book 1 of the Parasol Protectorate

I think the reason I can’t write this stuff (and why there are so few good books so far) is that the genre is so visual. It’s great for graphic novels and film. But hard to describe in print. Even Leviathan, which I started reading as an audiobook, left me wondering what the creatures looked like. Luckily, when I picked up the print edition, I found ample illustrations for the clankers and Darwinists. (Most matched my imagined image, but the picture was necessary for the airship itself, as I could never properly picture it.)

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