I love steampunk and all of the numerous devices one can create, but as an author, one of the more interesting questions, is not so much what the device does, but the effect of that device on society.
Take my London Steampunk world, for example. In this world, we have a glittering, blood-thirsty aristocratic class who use the craving virus to make themselves something more than human, but not quite vampiric. My ‘blue bloods’ gain the strength, speed, and excellent healing of a vampire, but can tolerate sunlight to a degree, and sip their blood from a wineglass. These blue bloods keep thralls (young debutantes that sign away their blood rights to their sponsors in exchange for protection, pin money etc.), but also force the human populace to contribute through their blood taxes.
It’s a crushing system. Humans are cattle, and though the Echelon (my vampiric play on the ton) are outnumbered almost 1000-to-1 by the human classes, there’s never been a successful uprising.
When I started this series, I knew I wanted to create a world like this, but one of the ‘What if’ questions I asked myself, was how could a small pool of bloodthirsty aristocrats tame an entire empire? Sure, they’re dangerous, but there are only so many of them.
The answer: an automaton army.
The fun part lay in creating my Spitfire’s, and metaljackets, and the heavy Trojan cavalry that can ride through a mob, but the interesting part was in imagining what effect this would have on life in general in my pseudo-Victorian world.
How would this have affected history? Like the major wars that the British Empire could have won, or the countries that could have been conquered? How would it have effected the economy, or technology, or even life in general for humans?
And what about other devices? If dirigibles were a major element of travel, then which countries have been explored earlier? Or how would commercial shipping have been affected?
But the most interesting factor, is that if my all-powerful elite are protected by technology, then how does one go about overthrowing them?
In my latest release, Of Silk And Steam, my hero and heroine, Leo and Mina, are facing the consequences of that. I loved exploring the path a certain group of hero/ines takes to meet that challenge, in their attempt to make London a better attempt. I’m not going to lie though: maybe the best part was getting to write some exciting action scenes where automatons go up against automatons, Real Steel style.
To celebrate my newest London Steampunk release, I’m offering a signed copy of Of Silk And Steam via rafflecopter (below). Entries are open internationally. I’m also curious to know what you think: What have been some of the more interesting effects of technology in some of the books you’ve been reading?
OF SILK AND STEAM
When her father was assassinated, Lady Aramina swore revenge against the Duke of Caine. Leo Barrons, the Duke’s heir, has long been her nemesis, and when she discovers he’s illegitimate, she finally has leverage against the one man who troubles her heart and tempts her body.
Sentenced to death for his duplicity, Leo escapes by holding Aramina captive. A woman of mystery, she’s long driven him crazy with glimpses of a fiery passion that lurks beneath her icy veneer. He knows she’s hiding something; he doesn’t know it’s the key to saving his life.
Award winning author Bec McMaster lives in a small town in Victoria, Australia, and grew up with her nose in a book. Following a lifelong love affair with fantasy, she discovered romance and hasn’t looked back. A member of RWA, she writes sexy, dark paranormals and adventurous steampunk romances. When not writing, reading, or poring over travel brochures, she loves spending time with her very own hero or daydreaming about new worlds.
Her London Steampunk series is available from Sourcebooks, with Heart of Iron (Book Two) being nominated for both Best Steampunk Romance by RT Reviews 2013 and Best Romance 2013 by Library Journal. Visit her website at www.becmcmaster.com or follow her on twitter @BecMcMaster.
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