Tag Archives: Steampunk suspense

It’s in the Aether

by Kirsten Weiss

In the wacky world of Victorian science fiction, aka steampunk, machines are typically powered by steam. But the fictional Victorians discovered an alternate power source: aether.

Because seriously, powering a ray gun with steam is just ridiculous. 😀

But what exactly is aether? It depends on who you ask.

~ Ask an ancient philosopher, and he’ll tell you the matter of the universe is divided into four elements (much like this post): earth, wind, air and fire. Everything in creation was composed of different combinations of these elements.

Plato (public domain)

Plato, from The School of Athens fresco by Raphael, in the Vatican (public domain)

The concept of the elements as building blocks for matter really got going in the 3rd century, when Plato proposed a fifth element: aether. He considered it the material filling the region of the further reaches of the cosmos.

Aether as an “in between” element was used to explain several natural phenomena, such as gravity and the movement of light.

~ Ask an alchemist, and they’ll tell you that aether is the substance which pervades all matter – sort of an animating spirit, the anima mundi. This fifth element is an incorruptible substance that activates the other four.

For example, the Philosopher’s stone, of Harry Potter fame, is a magical substance which can transform lead into gold and is composed of aether.

Mice and Mechanicals Square~ Ask a Victorian-era scientist, and he’ll theorize that aether is a hidden, dark energy in space. So empty space isn’t actually empty – there’s an energy within it that, according to the Victorians, can’t be detect yet.

~ Ask a modern physicist, and she’ll tell you that in the 20th century, scientists discovered the universe was expanding. This expansion must be driven by some sort of energy.

Could it be… aether?

We also know that atoms aren’t “solid” per se – there is space in between them. Is it aether?

Which of these theories about aether makes the most sense to you?

Aether plays a major role in my new pre-Steampunk novel of suspense, OF MICE AND MECHANICALS, now available for pre-order on Amazon and Kobo.

book cover Mechanicals, Mayhem, and Murder.

All Sensibility Grey wants is to tinker in her new laboratory in boomtown San Francisco. A stranger in a strange land, she is finally making a life for herself as a purveyor of mechanicals to eager miners. But a pair of government agents have other things in mind.

Loves and loyalties fracture, and mysterious forces threaten to destroy Sensibility and her clockwork secrets. Tangling with occultists, aether gone wrong, and a local vigilante group, Sensibility must decide where her allegiances lie, and whom she can trust.

OF MICE AND MECHANICALS is book two in the Sensibility Grey series of pre-steampunk, paranormal suspense set in the wild west of the California gold rush.

Posted by Kirsten Weiss. Kirsten has worked overseas, on the fringes of the former USSR and deep in the Afghan war zone. These experiences gave her glimpses into the darker side of human nature and sparked an interest in the effects of mysticism and mythology, and how both are woven into our daily lives. Now based in San Mateo, CA, she writes paranormal mysteries, blending her experiences and imagination to create a vivid world of magic and mayhem. Kirsten is the author of the pre-Steampunk novels, Steam and Sensibility and Of Mice and Mechanicals, and the Riga Hayworth series of paranormal mysteries/urban fantasy.

We blog here at misterio press once (sometimes twice) a week, usually on Tuesdays. Sometimes we talk about serious topics, and sometimes we just have some fun.

Please follow us so you don’t miss out on any of the interesting stuff, or the fun! (We do not lend, sell nor otherwise bend, spindle or mutilate followers’ e-mail addresses. 🙂 )

Are You A Secret Steampunker?

by Kassandra Lamb and Kirsten Weiss

We are delighted to announce that a new sub-genre has been added to the misterio press stable of mysteries: Steampunk suspense!

Have you wondered what this thing called Steampunk is all about? I certainly have.

Kirsten Weiss has just released her first Steampunk suspense story and she’s here today to explain the whole phenomenon for us. Maybe you’ll discover that you are really a Steampunker. Take it away, Kirsten.

5 Hints You May Be a Secret Steampunker:

The joke goes that Steampunk is simply Goth wearing brown.

But since Steampunk is much more than fashion, as jokes go, this one isn’t terribly accurate. Steampunk is a sub-genre of historical fantasy set in the Victorian era. Usually featuring steam-powered machinery, over-the-top characters, and a touch of magic, Steampunk is finally starting to break into the mainstream.

Here are some hints Steampunk might be right up your fog-shrouded alley.

1) You’ve got a yen for adventure. [Tweet this!] Ever fantasized about being in one of those old British explorers’ clubs? The kind with leather armchairs, and where the floor-to-ceiling bookshelves are broken only by a fireplace and ancient maps on the walls? Steampunk is all about exploits and escapades.

steampunker in corset on stilts

Speaking of over-the-top characters! LOL

2) You secretly lust for corsets. Too uncomfortable, you say? Stuff and nonsense! It’s fashion, m’dear. So if you’ve an eye for vintage, Steampunk may be for you. [Tweet this!]

3) Love a good period drama? I say! Steampunk is set in Victorian days. And though it’s usually set in Victorian England, with all the attendant aristocrats, it can cross the Atlantic to America for a Wild Wild West vibe.

4) You crack open a book for a fun escape and the more mayhem, the merrier. By jove, reality’s what you get when you roll out of bed. Who needs to read about it, dash it all!

5) You like Star Trek and aren’t ashamed to admit it. What do Star Trek and Steampunk have in common? Fab characters and crazy technology. Some folks call Steampunk a sub-genre of science fiction. But I disagree. Jules Verne-style steam technology is a building block of the Steampunk world, but Steampunk is set over a century in the past. Still, it has a certain wacky, techno-charm, particularly reminiscent of the old 60s Star Trek TV series. Top drawer, that!

So are you a secret Steampunker? What do you think of this genre?

Kirsten Weiss is the author of the Riga Hayworth urban fantasy/paranormal mystery novels, and a new Steampunk adventure, Steam and Sensibility, set in 1848 San Francisco.

Kass here again: This is the cover and blurb for Kirsten’s new book. I would not have thought of myself as a Steampunker, but I read this book and absolutely loved it!

Srteam and Sensibility coverSteam rising.

California Territory, 1848. Gold has been discovered, emptying the village of San Francisco of its male population. Steam-powered technology is still in its infancy.

At 19, Englishwoman Sensibility Grey has spent her life tinkering in her father’s laboratory and missing the finer points of proper British life. But when her father dies in penury, she’s shipped to San Francisco and to the protection of an uncle she’s never met.

The California Territory may hold more dangers than even the indomitable Miss Grey can manage. Pursued by government agents, a secret society, and the enigmatic Mr. Krieg Night, Sensibility must decipher the clockwork secrets in her father’s final journal, unaware she’ll change the world forever.

Magic, mayhem, and mechanicals. STEAM AND SENSIBILITY is a pre-Steampunk novel of paranormal suspense set in the wild west of the California gold rush. [Tweet this!]

Available now on AMAZONBarnes & Noble and Kobo.

We blog here at misterio press once (sometimes twice) a week, usually on Tuesdays. Sometimes we talk about serious topics, and sometimes we just have some fun.

Please follow us so you don’t miss out on any of the interesting stuff, or the fun! (We do not harvest, lend, sell or otherwise bend, spindle or mutilate followers’ e-mail addresses.)