When I first attempted steampunk, I found the subgenre very intriguing. There are a lot of opportunities in it, and it has a very distinct flair. However, ultimately, I found it too restrictive for my personal writing tastes. I know there are people out there who would disagree with me on that, but that’s just my personal experience.
The Man on the Stage (TMotS) started as my first attempt at steampunk. A friend who read it at the time said it felt very much like Oliver Twist. I can’t say I disagree. But it has evolved since then.
Now, granted, it’s only at ~7.5k words (at the time of writing this), so this story is far from completion.
It’s still evolving, and a lot of it still feels like an idea that’s testing itself out.
Ultimately, when I decided to do my own thing, I molded TMotS’s setting into the one I’d loosely created for It Began with a Dream (IBwaD), forming the hybrid that is Victory Dreams of Techno Sleep.
Where did that name come from? That’s a good question. And it’s a bit weird to explain.
“Victory” hints to the steampunk roots of TMotS (since steampunk’s loose real world basis is in an idealized Victorian England). This also ties into IBwaD since I initially drafted it while taking a Victorian literature class. I can look back at some early draft passages in IBwaD and clearly see how much I enjoyed Wilkie Collins’ Woman in White. Thirdly, anyone who’s done enough poking around this site has probably learned that I find etymology fascinating. Victorian England refers to the reign of Queen Victoria. Her first name is of a Latin origin and means victory.
“Dreams” hints to the roots of IBwaD. That’s mostly my mad (yes, in that sense), half-sleep brain scrambling to type in the WestMo basement when I should have been fast asleep. A significant amount of that original draft was written “at some ungodly hour” when it’s difficult to tell if you should call it late at night or early in the morning. Dream also honors the title: It Began with a Dream. This was the first draft I’ve written that surpassed 50,000 words. I initially drafted it before I published Victim, so I could also view it as expanding my dreams of being a published author.
“Of” because, well, why not. Besides, people tend to dream “of” things. Like monsters and sugar plum fairies.
“Techno” because . . . uh, because . . . science fiction! Right. I can’t say I drafted either of these to techno music, but IBwaD initially involved a lot of dark ambient. There’s not really a strong reason for this word being in here. I think my brain just thinks it sounds cool.
“Sleep” is where this gets weirder. When I was a teenager, there was a web comic I loved reading. I honestly don’t remember it that well now, and I don’t know what I’d think of it as an adult. Considering how my brain works, it baffles me that I remember so little of the details of this comic, just the premise and the feel of reading it. But I do enjoy the basic premise: it’s a sci-fi world where people have to pay for dreams. I don’t remember if this extends to sleep, or if it’s just dreams. But I found that intriguing enough to think back to it (and the influence it probably had on me at the time). Hence “Sleep”.
Also, you have to dream of something, right? Just dreaming of techno doesn’t flow as well. Also, “Victory Dreams of Techno” is a seven. I write in an older melodic writing style, so a seven hits the reader more strongly. It has to be very profound to earn that shift in rhythm.
“Victory Dreams of Techno” just isn’t strong enough.
And sleep helps capture some of the restlessness that is present in both works. You can feel it in Goren and his attempts to escape the monster. You can also feel it in Dmitrya and her quest to die a little differently.
Therefore, “Victory Dreams of Techno Sleep”.
Here are the various categories for this world descript:
[Ekzers and Enbies] This includes Ekzer tech.