So this morning during my workout, I read Flash Gold by Lindsay Buroker (which is, as of the time of writing, free on Kindle and is not DRM protected, so easy to convert to other formats). It’s this really fun little western steampunk set in the Yukon somewhere around the Gold Rush. I enjoyed it so much, I immediately went out and bought the other two novellas in the series.
I don’t know WHY it never occurred to me that steampunk could include something other than the familiar Victoriana I’m accustomed to. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the Victorian takes on things. Meljean Brook’s Iron Seas series is marvelous. But steampunk plus western? Yes please. And if I really think about it, I remember some Will Smith movie that was kind of steampunk western…seems like Kevin Klein was in it with him….:goes to look: Wild Wild West. Not the best movie ever, but fun.
Rachel Aaron had a marvelous post about steampunk and what is actually deserving of the term (rather than just plunking a dirigible into the story and calling it done). In it she mentioned Cherie Priest’s Boneshaker (now on my TBR list) and that’s what sent me off on the hunt for western steampunk last week. Aaron lists three primary reasons why she thinks steampunk is popular (all of which I agree with, as it’s these things I love about it):
1) It looks freaking cool
2) It rekindles the human love of discovery
3) It imposes additional rules in terms of societal limitations and boundaries that amp up the tension of certain situations
It’s one of those things I’m fascinated by but have never felt the drive to actually write because, frankly, I haven’t got enough interest in the Victorian era to actually do the research to write it WELL. But the American West? Oh hell yeah. That’s something I already know a lot about and would enjoy researching. Plus, I love the kinds of characters that sort of pioneering lifestyle creates.
I don’t know if I’ll ever actually WRITE any steampunk (I am not currently being bitten by rabid plot bunnies), so in the meantime I’ll satisfy the itch by reading more Buroker and Priest and whoever else y’all can recommend to me.
Do you dig steampunk? What books can you suggest?