Tag: Steampunk

Book Watch: Changeless

by on Jan.31, 2012, under Book Watch, Books, Reviews

Changeless (Parasol Protectorate, #2)Changeless by Gail Carriger

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

While I liked this book better than the first I’m still not sure how I feel about the series overall. I’m not an avid romance reader but I’ve read series like this before and it strikes me as the type of series that likes to hopscotch between the romance genre and, in this case, the steampunk genre. Because it its constant jumping, I feel I’m not getting the enjoyment that I want out of the book.

I don’t want to say the book is bad. It isn’t. In this case I believe the problem is with the reader and his expectations rather than he book itself. I want a slightly more in-depth steampunk novel and instead I’m reading a Victorian science fiction romance adventure novel.

That being said I will read the third book because I both already own it and the ending to this book was a bit of an emotional cliffhanger which I’m curious to see how it is resolved. We’ll see if I continue reading after that.

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Steampunk Gadget

by on Nov.29, 2011, under Art, Entertainment

I had to share this. Amy Mebberson did it as a request and it blew my mind. I loved Chip and Dale’s Rescue Rangers as a kid and Gadget was my favorite character. Seeing this seriously brightened my day.


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Writing Time: Free Write #3: Off Balance

by on Oct.12, 2011, under Entertainment, Free Write, Writing

Free Writing. Off we go!


Off Balance

Crook thought it was the primary steam chamber. Lilly knew better. If it were the primary steam chamber, the entire ship would be having listing issues rather than just the left  side. They had rechecked the cargo distribution in the hold twice and now he was double checking the pressure gauges on the primary while she stood behind him, arms crossed.

“Look if all you’re going to do is stand there you might as well go check on something else.” Crook said dismissively, waving the samoflange in the direction of the auxiliaries. She glared at him for a moment, then started off towards the auxiliaries. It was a dismissal but it was also what she wanted to do. Arguing over it would get her nowhere other than further irritating Crook, which a small voice in the back of her head, she assumed the reasonable one, said she would regret later.

“Besides if I figure out the real problem, I can totally rub it in his face.” She grinned at the idea, imagining the look of irritation as he told her what a good job she had done.

The ship had been listing for nearly a day now. Nothing dangerous. Just a little more than half a hand to starboard. It was an inconvenience mostly for the few passengers they had on this leg of the journey and of course to the captain who liked his tea cups when they didn’t inch slowly towards the edge of his desk. They could easily figure out the problem in dry dock by simply venting all the steam chambers and re-checking the relays but Qualsburg was still two days flight away with no major port along the way or the time to stop.

She reached the entrance auxiliary bay and punched the button that released the seals on the pressure door. The door hissed and began to slide horizontally. This had been the other small inconvenience nobody else knew about and what made Crook so sure it was the primary. The pressure doors in the main engineering section of the ship had gone into automatic seal mode, which they were designed to do when a steam chamber’s compression was about to go critical and vent. Since it hadn’t vented for at least a day, they were sure the ship was fine, but the fault was still obviously there.

Crook was sure it was a symptom. Lilly was not.

Not waiting for the door to finish sliding open, she squeezed through the half opening. The auxiliary bay held two smaller steam chambers and were designed to act as backups in case the primary steam chamber ran out of steam, malfunctioned, or blew up. They were inactive, which wasn’t the standard protocol during an automatic seal condition but the primary was keeping them afloat. Being shut down, they supposedly were not influencing the gyroscopic systems at all, which is why Crook had dismissed them. Lilly, however, had a hunch.

She went over to back up number one and checked each gauges. They all showed zero compression. She placed a gloved hand against the large cylindrical container. It wasn’t vibrating. She frowned and moved to back up number two. The gauges also read zero, which she expected, but placing her hand against the unit also revealed no vibrations. She laid down prone so she could get easier access to the secondary tubes. She placed her hands on each in turn. No vibrations. The units were dead.

“But this would totally explain-” there was a slight rumble and, thanks to laying prone, she realized that she ship had rolled slightly port. They were balanced.

Crook was leaning against the door frame to auxiliary when she had finally climbed to her knees. She turned to face him. The grin he wore could not have been replicated by any feline, canary caught or no. “No need to get up. That unit needs a thirty-day maintenance check anyway.”

“What caused it?”  She wanted to punch him.

“Irregular valve.” That had been what she was looking for.

“The unit had to be off to determine-”

He cut her off. “Unless you bypassed each feed one by one and checked by hand.”

She hadn’t thought of that.

“I’ll be dining with the Captain! Write me up a full report when you’re done!” He turned and skipped away, giving her a back handed wave.

Lilly sighed. Win some. Lose some. She laid back down and got back to work.


So many science fiction stories had the plucky young engineer who shows up the older more experienced one who does everything “by the book”. Oh sure the main engineer gets to save the ship during critical engine explosions most of the time but when it’s a long standing problem, there’s no chance in hell the main guy is going to figure it out. Except for in my story!

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