Home > Columns > From a Cabin in the Woods by Members of Bethlehem Writers Group > Steampunk a Different Reality by Ralph Hieb


This month A Slice of Orange welcomes BWG member, Ralph Hieb.

Ralph Hieb grew up in New Jersey. After spending time overseas serving in the military, he returned home to New Jersey. While attending college he met his wife Nancy.

During the time he spent stationed Europe he didn’t miss an opportunity to travel around. Sightseeing and enjoying the culture are things that he still loves to this day.

Both Ralph and Nancy enjoy traveling to places that they have never been to, though sometimes they like to revisit former destinations. They want to visit Australia and New Zealand someday.

Ralph enjoys reading paranormal novels. He decided that he should try and write one. He is currently writing short stories, but a novel is in his future.


Steam Punk a Different Reality

I have been reading a lot of Steampunk novels lately. And I find them to be not only entertaining but very creative.

For instance if you wish to go somewhere in a hurry and it is only 1896 then you can go to the local airship terminal and board a dirigible for wherever your destination is. Then when you arrive you can either take a steam locomotive or an electric powered engine or even a steam powered carriage to the street or farm maybe even an estate that is your final destination.

Say you are going to an estate for a weekend grouse hunting. You back your Winchester gas powered, bird long barrel, weapon with spare chemical mixing tubes so that you will not run out of ammunition. Or maybe a Ruger X17R handgun with grenade launching abilities. There can be a variety of combinations or names for your weapons and their uses. Make up whatever name you like for the weapon. After all it only exists for the character in your story. I know of one individual that put a request on Facebook for people to submit names for his weapons. He received a lot of ideas.

Speaking of weapons, even clothing can be used to hold weapons, or might even become one. A man might have a small gun or knife in his hatband, or even a Derringer size pistol attached to the underside of the crown in is hat. Also knife blades that appear from the toe of his shoe while another curved slicing blade ejects from the heel, hitting a target several feet behind him. A woman can have well balanced throwing knives used as hatpins and she is protected by her bulletproof corset. A decoration in her hat might be a mechanical bird that zeros in on whoever she wishes it to attack.

Most of the Steampunk novels I have read take place during Queen Victoria’s reign. Some even offer a different reality as the British Empire won the American Revolution and all other wars that it ever fought, going back to when Boudica defeated the Romans in 60 A.D. maybe the San Francisco earthquake never happened and the city became so large the it rivals New York or London. I read one book where the city kept building higher and higher so that it had sidewalks for every additional layer with elevators to lift people to the higher walkways. Needless to say, the ones on the bottom level had sewage running down the streets, but steam powered pumps kept it flowing.

Steampunk will quite often use supernatural creatures such as vampires, werewolves, witches, ghosts, and demons in the telling of the stories. You may find these very lax guidelines make it easy to get your protagonist or antagonist into a world of difficulties. But then again they might happen to have a strange new weapon with an unpronounceable name that can efficiently deal with the situation. As everything else in this world you do not have to comply with known facts but can alter history or items to your own specifications, or interests, to move the story along.

So, I think Steampunk can be a useful format to let my imagination really run wild.


Books by Ralph Hieb

A CHRISTMAS SAMPLER

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A CHRISTMAS SAMPLER

A READABLE FEAST

Buy now!
A READABLE FEAST

LET IT SNOW

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LET IT SNOW

ONCE AROUND THE SUN

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ONCE AROUND THE SUN

ONCE UPON A TIME

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ONCE UPON A TIME
UNTETHERED: SWEET, FUNNY, AND STRANGE TALES OF THE PARANORMAL
Fur, Feathers, and Scales: Sweet, Funny, and Strange Animal Tales

About BWG
About BWG
The Bethlehem Writers Group, LLC (BWG), founded in 2006, is a community of mutually supportive, fiction and nonfiction authors based in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The members are as different from each other as their stories, spanning a range of genres including: children’s, fantasy, humor, inspiration, literary, memoir, mystery, paranormal, romance, science fiction, women’s fiction, and young adult.

SalSally Paradysz wrote from a book-lined cabin in the woods beside the home she built from scratch. She was an ordained minister of the Assembly of the Word, founded in 1975. For two decades, she provided spiritual counseling and ministerial assistance. Sal completed undergraduate and graduate courses in business and journalism. She took courses at NOVA, and served as a hotline, hospital, and police interview volunteer in Bucks County, PA. She was definitely owned by her two Maine Coon cats, Kiva and Kodi.

Sal is missed by all who knew her.


65 THINGS TO DO WHEN YOU RETIRE

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65 THINGS TO DO WHEN YOU RETIRE
70 THINGS TO DO WHEN YOU TURN 70

A CHRISTMAS SAMPLER

Buy now!
A CHRISTMAS SAMPLER

A READABLE FEAST

Buy now!
A READABLE FEAST

FROM SCRATCH

Buy now!
FROM SCRATCH

ONCE AROUND THE SUN

Buy now!
ONCE AROUND THE SUN
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The Bethlehem Writers Group, LLC (BWG), founded in 2006, is a community of mutually supportive, fiction and nonfiction authors based in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The members are as different from each other as their stories, spanning a range of genres including: children’s, fantasy, humor, inspiration, literary, memoir, mystery, paranormal, romance, science fiction, women’s fiction, and young adult.
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  • DT Krippene says:

    I’m a big fan of Philip Pullman’s “Dark Materials” trilogy. It sparked a few ideas to consider writing. Nice article, Ralph. Thanks.

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