Another flash piece (~430 words). Steam is my first attempt at the Steampunk genre and, being honest, I’m not sure it’s Steampunk so much as it’s Josephpunk.

The initial inspiration came pre-covid. I participated in a mostly steampunk con. I walked the hall meeting authors, asking questions, looking through their books, and wondering, “WTF is steampunk all about?”

My previous experience with anything steampunkish was several years ago reading Fantasy and Science Fiction magazine. A story (and sorry, I can’t remember the title) about a steam-powered airplane (and if anybody remembers its title, please share it in a comment). The technology was interesting, the aircraft feasible, and what caught my attention was the emphasis on character in the story. I read the story because I wanted the characters to succeed.

But none of the books I scanned at the con dealt with character, all focused on technology, and could probably be classified as “Tour of Wonders” stories more than anything else.

Not for me.

But as I stood beside my table signing books, I wondered, “What would a truly character-centric steampunk story be like?”

The concept came to me immediately.

This flash piece took about fifteen months to get to a first draft and a few more to polish.

Let me know what you think.



The shrieking of my wheels on the tracks as I pull into the station, so like your screams when you realized what they’d done.
The hiss of my brakes, my body slowing as my heart began racing.
But could not; eyes on meters, release valves turn lest all their work be in vain.
Has no one told you?

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3 thoughts on “Steam”