Guest Post: Steampunk by E.C. Jarvis
We first introduced you to E.C. Jarvis by way of interview and then followed up with a review of her debut novel, The Machine, a fascinating steampunk thriller that keeps you on the edge of you seat. Steampunk is an interesting genre, and since she wrote a book on it, we invited her to share her knowledge of the steampunk genre with our readers. She did not disappoint. Enjoy!
E.C. Jarvis is a British author working mainly in fantasy and erotic romance genres. For the last thirteen years, Jarvis has been working her way through the ranks of the accountancy profession in various industries. During ten of those years she has also been writing.
Since the start of 2015, she has completed three full novels, won a number of online writing competitions and is on track to complete her first series.
She lives in Hampshire, England with her husband and daughter and cat.
When reading that title there are typically two slots that people fall into, those who know precisely that it means, and those who know very little or nothing at all.
In the literary world, steampunk is essentially an offshoot to the rather generic description of science fiction and/or fantasy. There are cosplayers, makers, writers, and of course, readers. For now I will stick to talking about the steampunk genre in the written word – that’s why we’re here after all.
If you do a quick google search, you will no doubt find a wealth of information on the genre. Interestingly, there seems to be a somewhat bitterly distinct set of people in the world who are adamant about what is and what is not steampunk. Personally, I see steampunk as an aesthetic. It takes the clothing style of the 19th Century British Victorian era—corsets, top hats, and so on and then mixes futuristic elements. It is also, generally, an age where electricity has not been invented. Steam powered contraptions roam the world, often with magical elements. There is a focus on the mechanical workings of the world building. Transport happens via steam trains, steam boats, or airships.
There is the alternate history version of steampunk stories where writers take an event or character from history and rewrite it to fit the style.
But I find the genre lends itself to a grittier subtext. By definition, 19th century Britain was fairly grim. Consider:
Jack the Ripper,
Mary Shelley (of Frankenstein fame) kept her dead husband’s blackened heart wrapped in silk in her desk,
Grimy and violent smugglers ran rife in the world,
I’ve seen writers whitewash steampunk into a romanticised version of history where the elite people spend their days sipping tea and marveling at clockwork inventions. All very nice I’m sure, but I prefer a slightly darker brand of steampunk coffee. The thought of workers fueling a furnace to power a great machine, blackened with soot, and morbidly depressed from long days for low pay. A genius inventor woman who has to disguise herself as a man to be accepted into the patriarchal society – only to have her secret discovered. And of course, pirates!
There is just so much scope for adventure and whimsical fantasy that it’s hard to know where to begin, but once you start reading a good steampunk book, I guarantee you won’t regret it.
Grab a copy of her newly released Desire and Duty (The Consort Chronicles Book 1) and a copy of her steampunk thriller, The Machine, below: