Dave bartram's Blog (8)

When is Steampunk not Steampunk?

Stupid question? Possibly. Aren't genres easily defined? Sometimes. But what about when you are working in a genre and then there is other stuff in there that isn't part of the 'canon' and it goes beyond where that genre normally goes?

What happens then?

What would you do?

You're reading a book and it's Steampunk - it says so on the jacket. And there is steam and airships and goggles and Victorians (or in this case the unreconstructed descendants of Victorians) in curious and…

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Added by dave bartram on April 2, 2013 at 1:30am — 5 Comments

What is it with airships, anyhoo?

I like airships. Steampunk loves airships. Many great writers have written them into their stories, even I’ve tried to write them in my stories. I think they have a great aesthetic and are a very cool concept, but I’ve been reading a lot about airships lately and now I’m not so sure..

I’m still half way through the excellent ‘Dr. Eckener’s Dream Machine’ by Douglas Botting – the fascinating account of the Graf Zeppelin’s famous circumnavigation, and that’s what got me thinking.…

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Added by dave bartram on March 8, 2013 at 8:30am — 9 Comments

Steampunk isn't as different as you think it is.

I've read a lot of steampunk fiction over the last few months and most of it, I am sorry to say, isn't very good. And there is, I think, a reason for this - the assumption that writing steampunk is somehow different from writing in other genres.

Much of it seems to work on the premise that if you shoehorn enough steampunk ephemera into a story it'll be a good steampunk story. I don't think this is quite right.

A good story will stand alone without the props and gewgaws. if…

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Added by dave bartram on April 29, 2012 at 2:00pm — 4 Comments

Long time...

I have written anything here for a good while. Sorry about that. Life and all that getting in the way a bit. That and the dreaded WIP. Three years I've been working on it. And I now have 23K words and a plan. Not much to show for three years, you cry. Well, maybe not. But behind those 23K of good words (not my appraisal btw.) lies a trail of I would guess 300K plus of dodgy ones written in about 40+ drafts of the first half of the WIP.

If I was a cricketer or played baseball I guess…

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Added by dave bartram on November 7, 2011 at 3:21pm — 2 Comments

now it's serious

I've been doing a lot of research. Some of it is story specific and some of it is just to get a better feel of the Victorian background to Steampunk world creation. And this is where it gets serious. I blogged a bit about the dark side. I though I knew how dark it got. 

Seems I didn't.

The depths of squalor and cruelty into which the Victorian poor were pushed beggars modern belief. to ignore it as we write is more than just missing out on a whole and critical aspect of the…

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Added by dave bartram on August 24, 2011 at 3:00am — 23 Comments

So familiar...

Part of the fascination with Victoriana, I think, is that it looks so familiar at the same time as being so different. We can identify with the people we see at the same time as recognising that they lived in a very different world from the one we live in.  Take a look at the photographs in this link and you'll see what I'm on about:…

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Added by dave bartram on August 15, 2011 at 9:30am — 1 Comment

The Dark Face of Steampunk

I wrote a blog here a little while ago about whimsy. I've wondered for a little while why so much of the Steampunk scene seems to be whimsical, why much of the writing is whimsical, why the characters are often prone to whimsy. The answer, I think, is very simple. if you are dabbling in Victoriana in any way shape or form you will very quickly run up against some deeply unpleasant things: forced child labour, breathtaking poverty, people living in the most appalling circumstances,…

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Added by dave bartram on August 11, 2011 at 12:00pm — 5 Comments

Whimsy and the death of Steampunk

Nothing wrong with a bit of whimsy, but I fear that it could be the death of Steampunk.

Why? I hear you cry. Alright, I don't, but you know what I mean. The why is pretty simple - if the superficial trappings of Steampunk are all that are perceived of the work, and the characters are cardboard Victorians with stiff upper lips and clockwork blunderbusses who say 'Bai Jove!' a lot, then you are doing yourself, the reader and the genre a deep disservice.

It can be done well. Read G. K.… Continue

Added by dave bartram on July 28, 2011 at 12:30pm — 21 Comments

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