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Author Topic: Steampunk-on-Sea  (Read 850 times)
Antonus Fudge
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« on: September 12, 2014, 12:17:35 pm »

Salutations!

I am writing a novel that, if not explicitly themed steampunk per se, draws significantly from the style, with a view to representing a period of transition for a society frmo a pre- to post-industrial state, with the main character instrumental in making that change.

But I have a problem - for some reason, the start occurs in a rural location set by the sea. This is not a problem as such, as the story requires this sort of location, but there is an ever-present danger of the whole thing, plus another scene that is by the sea, turning into an MTV beach party - and no-one wants that.

So, I am trying to think of steampunk contrivances and related artefacts that would not be out of place in a seaside/rural setting. Ones I have are:

- Kraken / leviathans
- bad weather / rain
- pirate ships / galleons

Ones I might include or otherwise allude to are:
- windmills, water mills
- arcane fishing technology
- rusting hulks / shipwrecks
- rum / grog

Bearing in mind this starts out as pre-industrial, I'd rather not have an excess of subs (be they shaped like seahorses or ammonites or conventional style), diving bells, old time diving suits and so on, because they wouldn't exist - yet. But are there any other fairly simple things that people can think of that might be representative of that setting?

Thanks in advance.
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pakled
Zeppelin Captain
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United States United States


Minions Local 305, at your thervice!


« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2014, 02:28:48 pm »

well, the self-opening parasol machine for the ladies, a steam yacht would not be out of bounds, trying to get the salt air out of one's automaton, a mechanical shell-picker, a lighthouse/laboratory, the possibilities are endless...
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Flightless Phoenix
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« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2014, 03:32:24 pm »

Lighthouse is what came to my mind too, especially the light mechanism and how that might change pre to post industrialisation.

I always think a seaside community can be enlivened by a nice bit of smuggling - perhaps some of the materials required for the new technology are expensive or strictly controlled.

Also I can't help thinking of Innsmouth - why not have some strange cultists around? =P
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V.S. Velde
Deck Hand
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bluecaldera
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« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2014, 04:01:01 pm »

Steampunk take on the Victorian bathing machine? Give it mechanical spider legs to climb over the rocky shore?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bathing_machine

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Antonus Fudge
Gunner
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United Kingdom United Kingdom



« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2014, 04:39:47 pm »

@ Flightless Phoenix, pakled

Yes - a lighthouse might fit the bill. It ties in with a certain élan vital - some handy handwavium that's critical to the plot and that happens to occur naturally in this very location that could power it. Smuggling? Yes. But - that involves sea travel typically, and I have some enemies just over the horizon, sailing their biremes and men-of-war this way, that might put paid to any questionable night time activities taking place at the water's edge. That said, I do intend to smuggle some out of this area, though I suspect I must make do with a network of wains and drays and other forms of horse-drawn lorry. I'll just make sure the coachman has a proper hat on Wink


I'm liking Velde's "Marvellous Mobile Eight-Legged Bathing Device" (for the Lady or Gentlemen for whom that perfect Spot at the sea's Edge is all-important, for you can walk it there across many types of Terrain while retaining Modesty) and have a place for that too, though its time has not yet come. But it will.

Thanks all. Will await any additional suggestions.
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oldskoolpunk
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« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2014, 08:49:39 am »

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution might have a station there.
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GCCC
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« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2014, 06:29:30 am »

Just how pre-industrial are we talking about?

The diving bell was first described in the 4th Century. In 1578 William Bourne published plans for a submarine. Cornelis Jacobszoon Drebbel had a submarine in 1620. David Bushnell built the Turtle in 1775. Robert Fulton's Nautilus dates to 1800.

I can sympathize with wanting to limit the number and/or operational functionality of these early devices, but surely they could be incorporated to some extent in your proposed milieu.
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Antonus Fudge
Gunner
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United Kingdom United Kingdom



« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2014, 02:12:42 pm »

Just how pre-industrial are we talking about?

The diving bell was first described in the 4th Century. In 1578 William Bourne published plans for a submarine. Cornelis Jacobszoon Drebbel had a submarine in 1620. David Bushnell built the Turtle in 1775. Robert Fulton's Nautilus dates to 1800.

I can sympathize with wanting to limit the number and/or operational functionality of these early devices, but surely they could be incorporated to some extent in your proposed milieu.

OK, but in my story, which is really more of a gaslamp fantasy set in some nowhere that is reasonably similar to ours in a pre-industrial time but also containing fantasy elements, these people don't exist so really the only comparable person is my main character who comes up with alot of these new gadgets. Electricity exists, supplied by aging beam engines akin to the Watt steam engine, but it is quite rare - for the elite, or those that can acquire it by fair means or foul. So I suppose it would fit with a sort of mid 1700s setting. I guess there could be submarines (and as I read up on them now, I want to have some and have a submersible-shaped plot hole as it happens!), but they would not have any onboard power source.
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