Ironmaster: Putting the Punk back in Steampunk.

Posted on Monday, January 27th, 2014 at 22:24

I’ve been hard at work today, working on three stories for the Ironmaster Mosaic Novel, and I have to say I’m having a ball writing the antics of the Punk band Cheirosyphon. My time in the 90s as an Audio Engineer and Theatre Manager are my inspirations that I draw on for the events and characters of their adventures in a Steampunk 1980s universe where the Nobles don’t just have all the money, they also have magic.

I’m finding it very easy to write, which is always good. I had the same thing with the Teucoi chapters of ‘Paradox War’ when I was writing that (years ago now!). Some characters just seem to write themselves, they stick on plan and don’t wander off on their own too much. Other parts come so much harder, but I do have one problem with the boys from ‘Cheirosyphon’ – they are such potty mouths.

Back in the day when I worked in the industry, I would think nothing of peppering any normal sentence with a dense vernacular of ill-reputed Anglo-Saxon. Good hearty words, with robust earthy meanings all. Now I am a dad with two young boys who are growing up far too quickly, I find that I have great difficulty in justifying the use of these words in speech.

This leads me to read back some of the banter of the Cheirosyphon boys and think, “bit much”, even when it isn’t. I find myself wanting to tone their language down, use “effing” as a swear word (which it actually seemed to be growing up in the 70s and 80s), but I think this is wrong. Punks should be young and care-free, they use their language to shock, to provoke, to emphasis. It, in short, for the characters, bad language is just language, they should use naughty words, they’re naughty boys.

It is going to mean that the Ironmaster book is not going to be suitable for all readers, I just hope that the readers I get are more willing to accept the authenticity of the Punks rather than cringe away from the language.

So far the boys have played a couple of gigs and got a record contract (of sorts), but while they have revolutionary politics they haven’t had the money for, nor exposure to, the underbelly of the world they are moving up into (no groupies yet and so far no drugs), but things are changing for them. As their music gains cache with the cool kids, they win both power and money (whether they want it or not), and that will expose them to the darker side of of the recording industry. Alcohol, drugs and sex are hedonistic pursuits that can snuff out artists who are not careful where they tread, or what they tread in. I find myself worrying for my characters and what I am going to put them through for the sake of a good story, I can’t quite shake the feeling that somewhere out in the Omniverse the things I just imagine and write are actually happening to some poor idiots who just want to burn the system down with their music.

Hopefully I’ll get more writing done at this huge pace over the next few weeks and I’ll have the first-drafts licked in time for the Easter holidays (which will put me well on track for a Christmas release due to the incredible amount of time I will spend noodling the second and third drafts out of the first).