Steampunk is a weird, niche little genre, when you think about it. Merriam-Webster defines it as “science fiction dealing with 19th-century societies dominated by historical or imagined steam-powered technology.”
That’s pretty darn specific. It’s not like the post-apocalyptic subgenre restricts its stories to the 23rd century, or space opera specifies the power source that spaceships have to use.
The boundaries of steampunk seem pretty restrictive at first glance, so it’s not surprising many authors bend and break the rules. Steampunk has branched out and evolved as creators and fans innovate, which brings me to the strength of the genre:
Dave set their suitcases on the dresser and stretched, still stiff from the flight. He surveyed the cozy bedroom, taking a moment to appreciate the view of the mountains out the window.
“This is nice,” he said to Val.
“I need to have it redecorated,” she called back from the bathroom, where she was touching up her make-up before their dinner reservation. “Everything’s horribly out of date—which I guess I should’ve expected. I haven’t used this place in years.”
Dave was just happy to visit one of her properties on a vacation and not as a safehouse to hide in while someone was trying to kill them. He pulled off his watch, wanting to wear a nicer one for dinner, and opened the top draw of the nightstand to put it in.
Fashion is part of the appeal of steampunk for me. I love seeing cosplayers at conventions and am fascinated by the styles of the Victorian Era. Not gonna lie–the main reason I set The Ghost Machine in the 1880s is because I like the style of the dresses in that era with the bustle in the back.
I don’t watch reality TV. It’s just not my cup of tea, but I’m starting to think I’ll be interested in anything if you throw superheroes into the mix.
Case in point: The S Factor.
It’s essentially The Bachelor but for superheroes, which I think is the coolest concept ever. Superheroes have a notoriously tough time dating with that whole secret identity thing. They’re always having to run off with a weak excuse to stop a giant monster attack, abandoning their date at the restaurant table and generally ruining the evening. Continue reading The Superhero Dating Reality Show You Need to Follow
If you have a Spotify account, check out this superhero-themed playlist made by Damien Benoit-Ledoux for his novel Guardians. Listen to it while reading—or if you ever find yourself actually saving the world and need a soundtrack. 😉
I’ve been seeing a lot of great buzz for Lee Blauersouth’s debut YA novel, Secondhand Origin Stories. You can read a review of it at Spines in a Line, which includes links to excerpts and other reviews on the book’s blog tour.
Nicholas Ahlhelm has the details on The Good Fight 4: Homefront, the latest anthology of superhero short stories from the authors of The Pen & Cape Society. I read the first volume of The Good Fight (which is FREE on Amazon) and enjoyed it, so I’m looking forward to seeing what these authors do next.
Ah, superhero romance. Back in the old days, it meant a man in a cape rescuing a distressed damsel and going to great lengths to hide his secret identity from the woman he supposedly loves. And you’ll still see that sometimes, but for the most part, romance in the genre has gotten a bit more complex over the years.
Pretty much every superhero movie and TV show has a romantic subplot and love interest these day. Some of them are great. Some of them are… let’s just say they’re not very well developed.
But for those of you who want a little more love with your crime-fighting exploits, there’s a whole subgenre of superhero romance novels. Granted, there’s not a lot of them. You won’t find a shelf dedicated to it at your local library, and most online retailers don’t have a category for it, but if you’re willing to search a bit, you can find some good ones.
A week passed before Val got the chance to speak with her father. With Blueblood dead and Leo arrested, the Black Valentine was only supervillain from the DSA break-in who was still at large. She’d risen to the top of the DSA’s Most Wanted List, an achievement she’d commemorated by framing a copy of her wanted poster. (It wasn’t the most flattering picture, but you couldn’t have everything.)
Her father’s trial had gone badly. The prosecution’s primary witness had been eloquent and sympathetic, swaying the jury so completely that further evidence had been a mere formality. Things really would have been different if Joey and Madame Morphine had succeeded in taking him out. Val had snuck into the courthouse using a wig and a liberal use of telepathy, and she caught her father in a hallway as prison guards were escorting him to the van that would return him to his holding cell.
Val entered the guards’ mind to convince them to pause, but she shouldn’t have bothered. Her father saw her and lifted his hand. “A moment, please,” he said, and the guard pushing his wheelchair stopped and retreated a respectful distance away. Typical. Her father’s four-year prison sentence was going to be a simple change of scenery for him. The law couldn’t snap the web of influence that stretched out from him; the strands would lengthen and shift no matter where the old spider moved.