Steampunk Gadgets and Verisimilitude; or, How to Bling Up Your Narrative

Steampunk Enterprise Desk Lamp

Steampunk Enterprise Desk Lamp, Art by Joe Keller,

The topic of this blog was the request of a friend who is also a writer.

You want to add gadgets to your Steampunk novel, but are you uncertain about how to go about this process? You’re worried that your gadgets lack any originality? Take a deep breath and stop worrying; this is rocket science! And you are in charge of the rocket. You don’t have to have a science degree to write about gadgets. A little research can be your friend here.

Image from website

Image from website

Need inspiration? Spend ten minutes just looking at gadgets online. What sort of gadget are you looking for? Make your search terms as specific as possible. So, say you’re looking for a striking form of transportation for your protagonist.

Suggested List of Locomotion Search Terms: steam, steam-powered, electric, Victorian, Edwardian, motorised, velocipede, bicycle, vehicle, engine, train, flying, lighter-than-air, dirigible, airship, airplane, aeroplane, balloon.

Let’s pick three at random: steam-powered, flying, velocipede. A whole pile of interesting images pop up! Here are three of them:

Steam-powered Copeland high-wheeler

Steam-powered Copeland high-wheeler

Steam-powered velocipede

Steam-powered velocipede

Glider designed by George Cayley, British aviator, circa 1852.

Glider designed by George Cayley, British aviator, circa 1852.

Aren’t they lovely? Now imagine a vehicle that incorporates the most interesting features of all three. You pick what features really strike your fancy. Now write down a fulsome description of your imaginary machine (and draw it if you like), and how it works, and what it must feel like to ride in it. And now you’ve sorted your first gadget! Give it a wonderfully bizarre name, and you’re away…



Filed under Bling, Gadgets, Genre Markers, Setting, Steampunk, Verisimilitude, writing

3 responses to “Steampunk Gadgets and Verisimilitude; or, How to Bling Up Your Narrative

  1. The steampunk starship enterprise is my creation. I don’t see my name credited, or permission for such asked . What are you going to do about this?

  2. Joe Keller

    Please credit me as the builder of this lamp. Joe Keller,

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