SteamU: Scott Kinkade Discusses Steampunk and Marie Antoinette

Today's Lecture by: Scott Kinkade
Author of: The Infini Calendar series (The Game Called Revolution, Secrets of the New World and The Revolution Beyond Time).

Look for God School, the first book in my new fantasy series, coming soon.

Further Discourses Available: CLICK HERE
Connect with the author online! Office Hours:
Twitter: @SK_Author

Today’s Lecture: (Re)defining Steampunk: My Journey from Fan to Author

Back in 2010, after I wrote my first novel, the post-apocalyptic adventure Mirai: a Promise to Tomorrow, I had to decide what to write next. Would I write Mirai 2: The Miraiing (probably wouldn't have called it that), or would I come up with something new? A fateful night at the local drive-in gave me the answer. At the time, I was vaguely aware of an emerging subgenre of science fiction called steampunk. Suddenly, as I gazed into the night sky, a single image popped into my head: Marie Antoinette with some sort of cybernetic eye attachment. Looking back, it sounds more cyber than steam, but I became enamored with the idea of doing my own version of the French Revolution, and I wanted it to be steampunk. 

But there was a slight problem: I hardly knew anything about steampunk. If I wanted to write it, I had to immerse myself in that world. So I went to Half Price Books and asked them if they had any steampunk. The clerk brought me a copy of the book that would change everything: Stephen Hunt's The Court of the Air. I read it and was enthralled. I knew then that I had chosen my subject matter correctly. Steampunk was awesome, and I had to be a part of it. So I began work on my steamy take on the French Revolution, and I continued to read the greats. I picked up the other books in Hunt's Jackelian series. I devoured Cherie Priest's Boneshaker and its sequels. Nor did The Difference Engine escape my grasp. And where do you think you're going, George Griffith? Get over here!

But the more I read, the more one thing became painfully clear. Steampunk tended to take place in a 19th-century setting, sometimes in America and frequently in England. I was worried. Could a story set in revolutionary France really be called steampunk? Seeking advice, I started a topic on Amazon's boards: (CLICK HERE). The responses were very encouraging, so I decided to continue with my novel.

So what are the essential elements of steampunk? Obviously, it can't be completely historically accurate, but neither does it have to take place on earth. Stephen Hunt was very successful at creating the fictional world of Jackals. To me, steampunk should have three things. 1.) airships 2.) revised history 3.) crazy technology that could have been but never was. If you feel like piling more insane stuff like werewolves and vampires (Gail Carriger and Cindy Spencer Pape, I'm looking at you) or Alice in Wonderland characters (Jason G Anderson), more power to you. There's simply a wide range of things you can do and still keep it steampunk.

So, I've written three books in my Infini Calendar series thus far and have taken steampunk from the French Revolution to post-revolutionary Washington to 1889 Wichita. Will there be a fourth book? Tsar you kidding me? *hint*hint*

So, in conclusion, steampunk is a very broad term, and no one definition is correct. If you think you've got a great punk story, go for it!

Many thanks to Scott for joining us again today! While Lily Stargazer only drops (haha, there is a pun for readers of Chasing the Star Garden) by France, Scott's novel explore the French Revolution and beyond. I encourage my readers to take a look! Amazing how one simple image can evoke a whole series. Thank you for sharing, Scott!

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