Zeppelin Zeitgeist

I was reminded during Emerald City Comic Con why I like to attend comic and sci-fi conventions. The theoretical exposition of the unreal is everywhere! Turns out most people are freely giving of their ideas on

how this thing could happen, or that thing could be real. It even leads to a somewhat heated discussion given the right personalities and any given slightly controversial subject. In most cases, however, the individuals are simply trying to make that thing that is so

appealing have some extra nuance of realism. Let's face it, who doesn’t want to stand on the bow of a great steam-driven airship and hold their hands out to the sides while screaming at the top of their lungs? “I am king of the world!” Ok, I know, not everyone is going to

gamble for a low berth ticket on a doomed airship, falling in love before it plummets, killing nearly everyone on board, but I think you get the point. We all long for the suspension of disbelief when reading our favorite stories.

Sometimes it seems to me when reading steampunk, that this is lost in favor of the esoteric or wildly bizarre technology, which falsely fuels the underlying narrative. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love the genre and

its one basic rule that anything goes! However, I have always thought the road to buy-in, was paved through the viability of the notion. Where did the technology come from? Who invented it? Why did they invent it? Sometimes these answers are implied and create the fabulous

causality for juxtaposition in storytelling. However, other times, when not answered or implied, they tend to fuel a dissociation with the characters and possibly the plot. When it comes to steampunk, I think that there has to be a common

thread that enables the suspension of disbelief. Stories placed in the far future need only have a plausible path to their eventuality. Steampunk, having usually taken place in the glorious Victorian past, needs a little more narrative and exposition when it comes to creating

a believable thread which will immerse the reader. I personally enjoy the fantasy crossover. You get instant buy-in if the reader likes the idea of gnomes creating the technology. Sometimes it only takes a few small twists in their recollection of history to make the world

relatable and real. In either case, it’s always nice to embrace a story which makes you want to put on your best corset, grab your parasol, and buy a ticket on the next airship to your favorite gathering.


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