Society of Steam and ROW80 goals

Monday, July 9, 2012

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My thanks to Azuranna--the big blue library dragon, for those of you who haven't met her yet--for posting my notice about moving. I think she's been glad to have me around her library cave the past couple years though she says little to me directly. But now I'm back to reading and writing after getting mostly settled in to my new home. So, today I have both a book review and writing goals to share.

While wandering the cave and saying hello again to the resident sprites and fire lizards, I found a newish book on the shelves that I hadn't read yet. It's book 1 of The Society of Steam: The Falling Machine by Andrew P. Mayer. Since I was in the mood for a bit of steampunk, I pulled it out. I am so glad I did, but now I'm banging my head against the shelf because I want book 2 and it's not out yet. I sincerely hope he's working on it.

It's 1880, New York. Young ladies are expected to do what men tell them and make good marriages. They aren't allowed to vote or do heroic deeds. But Sarah Stanton, a young socialite, still hasn't given up her dream of joining the Paragons and helping them fight crime and villainy. The fact that her father is one of the Paragons only makes the restriction against joining more pronounced. As a child, she'd been allowed to roam the halls of the order's building and spend time with inventing genius and leader of the Paragons, Darby Dennis.

But after he's murdered right in front of her, Sarah is barred from the Hall by her father and ordered to have nothing more to do with the order. Now she must work with the mechanical man Darby created known as the Automaton in order to unravel the mystery behind the murder.

What they find along the way is a conspiracy involving one of the order's members, a traitor in their midst. To save the order and uphold her mentor's dying wish for her to help the Automaton, Sarah must become more than what society expects of her and become the hero she's always dreamed of being.

In retrospect, I think I'd call this book omniscient POV, though I didn't really notice while I was reading. There are multiple viewpoint characters, none of which are in deep perspective. There's a distant feel, but it works very well for the style. From what I've noticed about steampunk stories in general, they all tend to be distant, more observational, which is much like stories actually written in the 1800's. I thought it was very done, so if you want an example of how to write this way even if you aren't into steampunk, I recommend this book. And the steampunk elements are mostly restricted to the heroes and villains, so it doesn't play a huge part in society as a whole. Steampunk-lite, I suppose you could say. Whatever you want to call it, I'd say read the book.

ROW80 Goals:
1) Write for a minimum of 1 hour or 200 words (whichever comes second) 5 days a week.
2) Read at least 5 ROW80 blogs each check-in.
3) Write 2-3 blog posts each week.

I think there'd been something else I wanted as a goal, but I'm a bit distracted right now. Too much talking going on in the room. But this is a good start. We'll see how I do by Wed's check-in.


Indigo Roth said...

Hey Jaleh! I've not read any Steampunk at all, but it's intriguing. Is there a particular volume you could recommend as a "must read" of the genre? And have you heard RUSH's latest album CLOCKWORK ANGELS? Steampunk themes there. Thanks, Indigo x

Jaleh D said...

Sorry for the glitch on my formatting. Dunno what happened, but it should be easier to read now.

Don't think I've listened to Clockwork Angels yet, but I'll make a note to check it out. I can't say that I have anything definitive to recommend as a must-read, other than Flowers For Clockwork Street, a flash fiction story one of my friends, Jennifer R. Fierro, got published on Every Day Fiction. It's short, but I love the imagery.

There's a couple other stories I've read, plus a few on my to-read list. Mostly what enticed me were blogs and websites devoted to the clothing and gear, what people have done and how-to's for modding out existing gear. Fun stuff. A fun video series on Youtube is put out by the League of S.T.E.A.M. Their actual website is Clockwork Couture sells steampunk and Victorian era clothing. And then there's the Brass Goggles blog at And this is a useful site just to understand more about it:

Just to get you started on the visual side. ;)

Goodreads is taking forever to load right now, so I'll post a book list later.

Anonymous said...

I love steampunk, but my steampunk exposure has been mostly with Japanese anime and other visual media.

I would love to write in the steampunk genre, do you have any idea what readers of steampunk expect in a story? :)

Tia Bach said...

Welcome back, and glad you are getting settled. I haven't read much steampunk. Need to try some more. I'll have to add this one to my TBR!

David P. King said...

Those are manageable goals. Best of luck. I could use a good Steampunk novel about now. :)

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