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. Today we feature an inspiration piece from Vivian Caethe, whose story The Frequency of Demons can be found in Bellows of the Bone Box…
Ms. Caethe was introduced to speculative fiction at an early age by growing up in the Land of Enchantment. She writes on the side while sticking to her day job of telling people what to do and being mildly surprised when they comply. An avid tea connoisseur, she knits and cross stitches in her spare time. You can find Vivian online on Facebook, on Twitter, and she blogs at eightofswords.tumblr.com.
Steampunk and The Frequency of Demons
Steampunk is a reflection on what could, and in some cases, should, have been. When I write steampunk, I like to think of “what if” and take that to its conclusion in the context of the 1800s’ society and culture. In my story, The Frequency of Demons, the question arises of “what if experiments in new technology had unintended supernatural consequences?”
The Victorian Era was one in which it was easy to believe that anything could happen. The world had expanded under the influence of the British Empire and opportunities were increasingly available to white men throughout the world. In Steampunk, this sense of a broad, new world is expanded to encompass not only those who are traditionally privileged, but also women and minorities, including members of other cultures and GLBTQ characters.
The delight of steampunk is in finding those possibilities and expanding upon them to reflect not only on the culture of that time, but also the culture of our time. What possibilities do we unleash in the Steampunk Era that reflect on the possibilities of our own? What injustices can we address that reflect on injustices in our own world?
Fiction is, and always shall be, a reflection on the culture and values of the society in which it originates. Speculative fiction, including Steampunk, has the additional onus, or perhaps privilege, of being able to question the status quo.
Steampunk challenges the status quo and brings the history of the modern world into question. What could have been, what should have been? We can change history through the lens of Steampunk, but should we?
I believe the answer is an emphatic, “Yes!”
The 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
The following is an excerpt from Vivian’s The Frequency of Demons from Bellows of the Bone Box –
April 14th, 1903
My deepest apologies for neglecting to write for so long. It has been difficult for me to compose my thoughts clearly lately. But I feel as if I owe it to you to explain my near-disappearance for the past five years. At first I hoped that there would be no bad blood concerning the issue with Roger, but after that point I simply had no time to spare.
Before I begin to attempt to address more recent events, I must start at the matter of my employment, a topic which I have not discussed previously due to the respect I held for my employer and his desire for secrecy. Due to circumstances which I will reveal to you through the course of this missive, I now feel less constrained to conceal certain facts.
My hand trembles as I write this. I have been unable to even think about it coherently for the past weeks since the event. I think of this as a confessional, but it brings with it none of the comfort of redemption. Perhaps it is too late for repentance, or maybe forgiveness is not mine to receive. Even so, I feel compelled to finish this, to leave a record, or perhaps a warning.
I began working for Dr. Gideon five years ago. It seems strange to count it in a mere enumeration of years; the experiences and knowledge I have gained during that period of time exceed the count of days and months. I would not be surprised if they have aged me beyond the measure of time.
Those five years saw us through the turn of the century, a time during which many were predicting the end of the world, their proof in every movement and sigh of Nature and Society. I would venture to propose that such expectations have been accompanying the turn of every century since the beginning of time immemorial. However, in this case they may have been well founded, if somewhat premature. At least in the case of Dr. Gideon’s last experiment.
I fear I am getting ahead of myself; perhaps it may still be too soon to compose my thoughts in a cogent fashion. Please permit me to attempt again.
It was a breezy spring morning when I first found myself at the door of Dr. Gideon’s office. At the time it was located in central Rochester before he moved to a safer, more remote location. There had been a small sign in the window advertising employment and since at the time I was quite bereft of a means of support, I availed myself of the opportunity. Perhaps something had prompted me to the realization that this would not be a factory job. The demise of many at the hands of those unfortunate necessities of industrialization was enough to instill in me a desire for something better than my present situation provided.
Unlike some of his more extravagant colleagues, Dr. Gideon possessed an air of quiet reserve that disguised a frightening intelligence. When I first walked through the door, I found him seated quietly in the midst of an unruly collection of metal and wood…
Come back tomorrow for another inspiration piece from one of the authors featured in Bellows of the Bone Box!