October 1, 2012 time to...

Monday, October 1, 2012

Start thinking about my favourite time of year!

The year is getting colder and darker as we get closer to Halloween. When the "veil between the worlds" is the thinnest and when dressing up in exotic outfits is actually encouraged. This is the time when decorating one's front lawn with tombstones, skeletal hands reaching out from the turf, skulls, black cats and carved pumpkins becomes the new normal in the old neighbourhood.

It is also time to ask that most burning of questions...

What do Zombies have to do with Steampunk!
 An excellent question, to which the easiest answer is simply that they are a Victorian invention (see Dr. Frankenstein's Monster).  My eldest daughter calls them "Tesla's Children" which works too.  The Victorian age was an age of marvels with new technologies and new developments in chemistry and biology appearing almost every week.  Mysterious new phenomenon like electricity, had almost boundless possibilities, including making lifeless bodies twitch and move.  It isn't too big a stretch to see that bringing an otherwise dead being back to "life" would be possible.
 
Mix theses new found scientific and technical marvels with the exposure to exotic myths, legends, and strange religions, brought back from the far reaches of Britain's great empire and it is easy to see where such ideas as Zombies (in the modern sense) could come about.  This is also the time where Dracula first makes his appearance in Bram Stoker's novel, as well as Werewolves and other terrifying creatures which appear in the "penny dreadfuls". The Victorians were just as interested in the arcane, fantastic, and scary as we are today, and authors were always ready to produce the product that the consumers wanted. 

It was during Victorian times that the Gothic Novel reached the pinnacle of that verbose macabre genre.
So in Steampunk, where we deal with scientific what ifs, it makes sense to me that there is a slice of that macbre that comes along for the ride. Zombies, the walking dead, a scientific impossibility shambling through our brass and leather bound world of wonders, to raise the hair on the necks of our gallant explorers, heroes, heroines and plucky street urchins.

IMHO of course!
Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed and your sword cane sharp!
KJ

P.S. Some of the best Steampunk Zombie stories, for me, are Bone Shaker, and Dreadnought, by Cherie Priest.

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