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The Horror of Steampunk with Tarl Hoch

With each anthology we release at Sirens Call Publications, we enjoy sharing the inspiration behind the stories contained within them. Our recent release, Bellows of the Bone Box is a combination of two fantastic genres – Steampunk and Horror. The authors have decided to share their inspirations of their story or talk about what Steampunk means to them. Let’s kick this series off with Tarl Hoch, who wrote Jen  in Bellows of the Bone Box

TarlHochAuthorPhotoTarl Hoch hails from Calgary, Alberta, Canada where he spends a majority of his time writing horror, erotica, or whatever he can set his mind to. When not writing, he’s reading anything he can, moving cats around the house and hiding from cowboys during the Calgary Stampede. His work can be found at FurPlanet and Knightwatch Press. His Twitter is @tarl_writer. His Blog, reviews, books and news can be found at his Goodreads under Tarl Hoch.

The Inspiration Behind Jen

My inspiration for ‘Jen’ was sort of a crazy mix of a couple things. I have always had a love for Lovecraft’s concept that another world exists parallel to our own, unseen without some way of breaching the veil. There is something out right terrifying about this idea, and I wanted to apply it to the Steampunk universe. Couple that with human obsession, a quest for power and knowledge, and love, ‘Jen’ slowly came together in a flurry of manic typing.

Steampunk has always been about the grand adventure to me, Victorian sensibilities yet something beyond. It invites a larger kind of horror, one that can easily be occult or technological, and more often than not, both. Because the heroes are larger, defiant against the world around them, the horrors often have to be greater to confront these men and women. It allows for the exploration of the world, the mysteries we have long set aside in the modern world. Personally, I loved writing steampunk horror, and will continue to do so.


BellowsoftheBoneBox_FrontCoverThe Steampunk and Horror genres are masterfully combined in the twelve stories contained within Bellows of the Bone Box. Each of the authors has transported you to an age where steam is the dominate means of power and has woven a tale that will fascinate, or possibly scandalize you.

In this volume, you will find clockworks, pneumatic tubes, airships, and leather worn out of necessity – not vanity. Can an engine be powered by human blood; should it be? What about body modification; what happens when the mechanical meets the biological and goes awry? Does the heart rule the machine, or does the machine consume the humanity that once existed within it? What of airships, regeneration, or hallucination; is it safe to trifle with such things? Should technology that can rift time and dimensions be researched; and if that research proves fruitful, should it ever see the light of day?

Packed full of intrigue, imagination, and horror, lovers of Steampunk will have a hard time deciding which of the twelve is their favorite!

Featuring the talents of:

Brad Bass, Paul Boulet, Laura Brown, Vivian Caethe, Alex Chase, Megan Dorei, O.M. Grey, Tarl Hoch, Gavin Ireland, Kirk Jones, Kate Monroe and Christofer Nigro

Available on:

Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon CDN, CreateSpace, Smashwords


Here is a snippet of Jen written by Tarl Hoch in Bellows of the Bone Box from Sirens Call Publications…

“Why a woman?”

I looked up as Jordan appeared out of nowhere and stepped up to the table where I was hunched over at work. He pushed his goggles back into his unruly blonde mane and squinted at the form that lay prone on my work bench. My gaze went back to the body as I continued to stitch lips of open flesh together now that the nerve and muscle work were finished.

“Why not?”

Jordan made a noise in his throat. He hated when I answered his questions with a question.

“That doesn’t-”

My eyes met his from behind my goggles. “Because I felt like it. The flesh is easier to work with; the layers are far more accepting of the transmission of current and fluids.”

He placed his hands on his hips. “This isn’t about Jenny is it?”

I hammered the end of the knife I had been working with into the wood of the table as I rose. Jordan took a step back, jumping as he hit the operating table behind him. I made a show of slowly peeling off my thick, black rubber gloves before answering him.

“This has nothing to do with Jenny. She ended our courtship, that’s it. Done, over with.” I slapped the gloves on the table beside the knife. “Now, can I please get back to work? Finals are in a couple weeks and I really need to get this project finished before then.”

Seeing the way out I had planted in my statement, Jordan took it. “You really think this will work? I mean, no one in the Necromancy Department has ever attempted what you are trying to do.” He motioned behind him to the rows of tables and benches, some occupied with cadavers in various states of decay.

He was right. No one at the Miskatonic University’s Department of Necromancy had ever tried this method of animation. Jordan recognized the varied problems with the procedure. Most of the staff and students relied on the use of the formula and electricity set forward by Victor Frankenstein. Others used, or at least tried to use, some of the more magical means found in any number of the texts in the vast library the university was known to have. Some were even using the new science of steam and clockwork, building hulking machines of brass and copper melded with necrotic flesh. Like Jordan for example.

But I had an advantage, one that was currently stuffed into my black medical bag.

Jordan knew the basics of what I was doing, but not the means. I hadn’t wanted him to steal my project for his own. Thankfully his steam-augmented auto-animation technique was proving to be more of a challenge for him than I think he expected. Gorilla flesh was far less forgiving than human, though even I had to admit that the steam augments took well to the engorged musculature. The beast currently sat stinking up a table in a corner of the lab, a great sheet draped over its form…

Don’t forget to come tomorrow for another inspiration post from one of the authors of Bellows of the Bone Box!

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