The past two mornings I’ve been able to crank out 2,000 or so words of Book Two of the Rail Legacy, Cerulean Rust. The words made me realize I haven’t discussed the Rail on my blog in some time. So, let’s get into changing history.
When does a retropunk world’s history change? I suppose many might feel it’s when the dramatic occurs. Men dig for oil on Black Sand Hill in the Rail. They strike an odd blue mineral and kazowie! Superhumans in Victorian times.
But really, the alteration would be farther, as the Railroad City doesn’t really exist, right? So then, there is the divergence.
The big divergence would not so much be in the paranormals Americans love/hate, but in one man. Samuel G. Stockwell. Made a super-genius by the Blue, he loses sleep and patience in exchange for Engine Alpha, world’s fastest train,steam armor, flying cloudcraft and more. Sounds typically steampunk, except for the divergent nature of one act that will define the U.S.
You see, while the first book is a chase, the second begins to open up the reality of Stockwell’s revelation: steam power is unending. Many alternate historical stories offer advanced technology or multiple technologies (diesel/steam for example). But old Sam sees how he can make steam better generationally, thus making it the only power source needed.
Now this may seem crazed, but this is a man with an incalculable intellect. He has forseen the wired complications of electricity, the slowness of solar. One mind figured it out overnight, and got to work.
So the Rail Legacy is not merely a legacy of heroism, but of advancement. What will ever better steampunk be lije every generation? Imagibe steampunk Woodstock, steampunk 1970s and so on. DIYers steampunk everything. But what if steam were the only power for over a century after 1877? Questions…
That’s what I’m working towards. A long generational tale of folks dealing with the ups and downs of a very different world. No electric wires, no power plants, no nuclear!
What happens next?
Know your alternate history!