Leave a comment

The Horror of Steampunk with Gavin Ireland

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 Gavin Ireland, whose story Disarmament can be found in Bellows of the Bone Box

GIGavin is an ex-soldier, ex-helicopter engineer and family man who also tells tall tales.His interests include writing, walking and Lindy Hopping as well as maintaining a few websites. Influenced by H. P. Lovecraft , Edgar Allen Poe, Clive Barker, Dean Koontz and Stephen King, he has many more stories waiting to be told. Gavin can be found on Twitter and on his website at www.gavinireland.co.uk.

The Inspiration Behind Disarmament

To be honest, this was my first attempt to write anything steampunk. I had an idea what steampunk was, although it never appeared high up my reading list. I think I’d seen too many recent film re-makes where they had tried to introduce steampunk elements to ‘action it up’. OK, so maybe the Guy Ritchie version of Sherlock Holmes wasn’t too bad, but almost all of the rest were awful. I know, it’s like being put off cars because you had a few dodgy motors in the past, right?

I mostly write horror, sometimes with a sci-fi background, sometimes with a psychological bent, but when I saw the call for submissions it just happened to coincide with me re-reading Clive Barker’s Books of Blood. In particular The Body Politic in which people’s body parts become independently sentient and commit murder in an attempt to escape and live free. I’m a big fan of Clive Barker and I couldn’t help but visualise this story as I read it. Imagine having to watch helplessly as one of your hands cut the other off so it could run away!

So it got me thinking, what if you were given a replacement body part, which developed a will of its own and it decided to rebel? Maybe the reason for this could be because of the methods used to prevent your body rejecting it? But it is rejecting your body.  For that to work, I thought it would have to come from a time before the clever anti-rejection drugs we have nowadays were available; From a time when the medical profession was largely experimental and at least partly secretive and frowned upon. So really, the story became steampunk without any direction from me, I just wrote the words as they came. I guess you could say that the story was severing itself from my own preconceived prejudices.

Luckily for me, the team at Sirens Call Publications liked the idea and the story. Thanks to the hard work and great advice of Gloria Bobrowicz, we got Disarmament polished and ready for you to read in this great anthology.


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 USAmazon UKAmazon CDNCreateSpaceSmashwords


Here is a snippet from Gavin’s tale Disarmament in Bellows of the Bone Box

Not so long ago, the constant clip-clopping of the horse shoes on the cobbles would soothe and relax me. I had fallen asleep on occasion from the side to side rocking of the carriage as we sped through the dark city streets, but not this time. Everything was irritating me since those infernal mechanical lights had been installed in carriages. Too bright, too hot and too damn noisy. My landlady was installing them all over the house and it was just a matter of time before she put them in my room.

“You really hate them don’t you, sir?”

“Hmm? What are you talking about, Mills?”

“The mechanical lights, sir. You were glaring at them, clenching your fist and gritting your teeth.”

“Good observation, but no, I don’t hate the lights. I hate what they represent. The insidious replacement of everything good and natural with machines.”

“But, sir…”

“Quiet now, Mills, we’ll be there in a moment.”

The carriage drew into a side road, came to a sudden halt and jerked back and forth on its springs. I jumped out whilst Mills gathered himself. The area was closed off by a good number of constables and lit up as bright as day with those damned mechanical lights.

“Inspector. This way please. Over here.”

I heard the shout of the Sergeant over the general hubbub of the constables and in an instant the noise died away as nervous young men tried to watch me without being seen. A path through the cordon opened for me as I approached.

“He was found by a whore less than an hour ago sir. The same as the last two.”

I could see the body but the shadows, or should I say the lack of shadows, were all wrong.

“Boy. Get me an oil lamp.”

“We’ve a mechanical lamp ready for you sir.”

“Get me an oil lamp now, or find yourself a new job. Turn these ridiculous lights off; I’m blinded by their unnatural brilliance.”

The young constable dashed off to carry out my orders. They don’t understand my distrust of mechanical things and I accept they hate me for my temper, but they’ll learn or they’ll fail.

“A friendly tone has been known to produce good results.”

“I have no need of friends, Mills. What I do need, is people that will do as they’re told and not question or correct me.”

Silence again, apart from the nervous shuffling of boots on stone.

“What observations have you made so far, Sergeant?”

“Well sir. Like the last two…”

Come back tomorrow for another inspiration post from one of the authors in Bellows of the Bone Box!

Speak your peace, friend...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: