In the sequel to Mechanized Masterpieces, the authors of Xchyler Publishing were challenged to add a steampunk flavor to their favorite works in American literature. The result is ten fantastic stories full of cogs, gears, and the love of classic literature.
My contribution is titled ‘A Princess of Jasoom’ and derives from the novel that inspired it, namely ‘A Princess of Mars’ by Edgar Rice Boroughs. As readers of A Princess of Mars might recall, Jasoom is the Martian name for Earth, and I thought the inversion of the title fitting for my story based on Earth. I must confess that, while it is one of my best imaginations, as it stands the manuscript is certainly one of my worst executions, owing to the extreme time constraints under which I rushed to complete the project. Yet, in the end it seems to have been worth it. For, the editors of Xchyler must have seen through my basal grammar, and ragged prose, to the potential buried deep beneath.
Much work is yet to be done to bring this tale up to even my own standards, much less the high standards of my beloved editors. It was a delight to try to emulate the verbose and vivid writing style of Edgar Rice Boroughs. However, it will be a challenge to refine that style into the limited word count and restrictions on passive voice to which Mr. Boroughs was so given.
So what can you expect from this tale? It is not a retelling of the original story, but a thrilling story of mystery and action set in parallel to the historical work where two characters strive to prevent an evil warlord from conquering Earth by means of an ancient Martian technology. It comes complete with fantastic creatures and inventions that I hope give credit to the creative mind of Mr. Borough’s.
Steampunk blends into the tale in the import of the many varieties of steam powered automaton that have arisen since John Carter’s second egress from Earth back to Mars. The cogs and boilers of these are the critical element that drive the story and, I hope, will likewise drive the steampunk fans on through its pages.
I can tell you that the heart of the story is a very old idea of mine I had that has taken many forms over the years. It started as an Indian Jones style tale of world traveling adventure and ancient artifacts, progressed to a science fiction tale (that you can read the beginnings of here), and finally evolved into a true steampunk tribute, first aimed at Jules Verne’s ‘Around the World in Eighty Days’, then later finding its better inspiration in the work of Edgar Rice Boroughs.
Be looking for more details in the coming months and be sure to sign up as an Advance Copy Reader in order that you might have the first peak at this wonderful collection of cog and steam driven tales.
What else can you expect from this anthology? Ride into the Wild West with ten steampunked expansions of classic American tales:
A Princess of Jasoom: An intrepid young researcher reaches for the stars from the Arizona desert, and finds love where she least expects it. – J. Aurel Guay
Winged Hope: The widow of a brilliant inventor fights insurmountable odds to see her husband’s dreams realized and save the life of her daughter. – Megan Collins Oliphant
The Van Tassel Legacy: A stranger arrives in Sleepy Hollow to unearth old conspiracies and bring the Van Brunts to justice. – Jay Barnson
Invested Charm: A mysterious woman doles out justice in Boston society, but who will catch her first: organized crime or the law? – M. Irish Gardner
Payoff for Air Pirate Pete: A pair of train-robbing outlaws bite off more than they can chew when they kidnap the son of a railroad bigwig. – Diane Lee Jortner
Rise of the House of Usher: A mad scientist gains power over life and death at the cost of his family’s sanity, if not their very lives. – J. R. Potter
The Silver Scams: A fast-talking confidence man ensnares all of Holland in his scheme to eliminate dikes forever . . . for a price. – M. K. Wiseman
Nautilus Redux: Captain Nemo’s crew stumble upon an island castaway who claims to be Captain Ahab of the Pequod. Only Moby Dick knows the truth. – Scott E. Tarbet
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne and Moby Dick by Herman Melville
Mr. Thornton: Hounded by tragedy and betrayal, a gifted young blacksmith wanders from The Ohio to The Yukon searching for honor, loyalty, and justice. – Scott William Taylor
West End: A heartbroken Theodore Laurence follows the siren song of steam to Jamaica, where love and law collide with explosive results. – Neve Talbot
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