This is a very interesting idea. Why aren’t paddle steamers as popular as airships? One reason may be that airships can fly over a variety of terrains, while paddle steamers are limited to the river. Much of human society developed along rivers, though, especially when there were more limited means of transport. A paddle steamer could make an interesting setting for a steampunk novel.
As requested by Paul: Paddle Steamers
One of the genre markers of the Steampunk literary genre is the use of steam to power the technology and gadgets. From a personal viewpoint, one of the most elegant vehicles using steam power are the paddleboats or paddle steamers. I blame my delight in old musicals and ‘Showboat’, and reading too much of Mark Twain’s fiction as a child.
As a tangent: Mark Twain isn’t considered a Steampunk author, but his story ‘A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court’ is certainly science fiction, using 19th century technology. The time-travelling engineer, Hank Morgan, is able to build up Medieval England into a passable imitation of Victorian England, with an education system, newspapers, steam and electrical technology. Mark Twain was friends with Nikola Tesla, one of the darlings of the Steampunk Community, and was fascinated by technology…
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Categories: Steampunk Inspirations