Robinette Waterson, answers the question:
How does one bring the past to life?
As a writer of Victorian Steampunk Erotica, my first response is a question, because it is often that I answer an inquiry with an interrogatory clause:
Do you mean technically?
Is the question how do I research, analyze, distill, and reassemble the bare facts of another era in time, and offer up the most relevant artifacts so that a reader feels him or herself immersed in another world? What decisions do I make regarding which aspects of past culture, literature, ethnographic studies, popular newspaper articles, and scandals from the gutters to the rarefied heights of the privileged palisades? What resources do I cull to create an atmosphere of verisimilitude?
Or perhaps you ask what literary techniques I chose to convey the feel of the Victorian era?
I, like Charles Dickens, I employ a fair number of long, convoluted sentences of keen and detailed observation. Like H. Rider Haggard, I make use of unabashed sensationalism and heart-pounding action-adventure scenes. Like Elizabeth Gaskell and Fanny Burney, I reference a secret garden of delicate phrases and deep yearnings, with hearts caged in corsets and all other bits well covered. At least at first glance.
What about the archaic vocabulary of the time period?
I have been known to borrow from old tomes, and place obsolete words in my stories in such a manner that the contemporary reader from context will understand their outdated meaning, and also savor the flavor, the fragrance, and the atmosphere of the past era.
In my books, I focus on the historical aspects of the Victorian era, but there is an alternative agenda behind my doing so. With this plausible backdrop, when my characters come into casual contact with a piece of steampunk technology, it becomes part of the fabric of their world, a sort of steampunk version of magical realism. Let there be robots! But these robots will be a natural outcome of the Victorian technology – a product of steam power and interlocking gears, much like a pocket watch or a railway locomotive.
Finally, there is another topic of historicity that pervades the stories. Despite the popular misconceptions of today, people in Victorian times could be a rather randy lot!
No matter the particulars of what people wore and how they wore it, regardless of whether they traveled by horse-drawn liveried carriages or aerodynamic automobiles, and notwithstanding the nature of their preferred modes of entertainment, my stories demonstrate that people of all times are glorious, riotous, vigorous individuals with a continuing lust for life.
Welcome to the fictional world of Steam Geared by Robinette Waterson!
Find eBooks and Paperbacks at books2read.com/rl/SteamGeared