Blog Archives

Edward Lane's Argosy Chapter Four: The Sky Princess Of Oklahoma

by Ian Ironwood
Chapter Four: The Sky Princess of Oklahoma

Sept. 18th, 1891

Air Captain Gideon Becker watched the skirmish line of airships bearing the enemy’s colors – in this case, the red, gold and green of the Atlan Empire – bearing down on his position with a mixture of dread and excitement. He swung the periscope across the southern horizon and counted . . . five, no six ships. He noted with relief that they were not the three large Prussian-built stratodestroyers that the bloody Atlans had purchased recently, according to the Kingdom’s wily intelligence network, but rather the usual native-constructed patrol craft, a mere eighty meters long and painted a distinctive scarlet. They were far more primitive than the European-constructed airships in his squadron, more like the quaint first real airships from the 1870s. But there were six of them, and there were only three ships left in his squadron, including his own converted caravel, the Victrix. He hoped that today she’d live up to her name.

Edward Lane's Argosy Chapter Three: Uncle Pete and the Parisian Whore

by Ian Ironwood
Chapter Three: Uncle Pete and the Parisian Whore

The next several days were busy for Edward, but he found he enjoyed the direction in scope and purpose that thieving on behalf of another provided. Lady Trey had given him three hundred pounds in “operating capital”, as she had put it, to finance his expedition to Paris, and he had pilfered another three hundred in miscellaneous valuables on his way out of Tudley House. Being conservative in nature, Edward husbanded his resources carefully, electing to take passage on a barge crossing the Channel, rather than a more expensive — and better documented — ferry or airship. Once in English Calais, he chose to travel by train in favor of a carriage ride, both for expediency and comfort.

Of course Edward was no stranger to the City of Lights, having been a frequent visitor immediately after graduation, when he had appended his fortunes to the coattails of his more affluent friends who made Paris their alternate home. Nearly every aristocratic family in England had a flat, a home or an estate in proximity to Paris, and Edward had spent three months gently visiting his schoolmates, one after another, never staying long enough to be considered a burden.

He had “worked” in the city a few times before, revisiting those same homes under the pretense of renewing acquaintanceships and then re-revisiting them during the dark of night in order to liberate them of their valuables. They were no more difficult to loot than English estates and, he had to admit, their wine cellars were as alluring as their treasuries.

The biggest problem with “working” too long in Paris was not the possibility of being apprehended en flagarente delecto by the Parisian constabulary — it was in crossing the powerful Parisian demimonde — the infamous underworld.

Edward Lane's Argosy, Chapter Two: The Ape In The Jar

by Ian Ironwood
Chapter Two: The Ape In The Jar

Edward had never had mixed feelings about anything so strongly in his life as he did concerning the prospect of returning to Tudley House. He had not only been “made”, as his Uncle Pete would have said in underworld jargon, but his “mark” had his real name – and knew what he was about. It was scant comfort that Lady Trey could not identify him from a proper police line-up. He knew with certainty she would be able to finger him the moment he opened his mouth. He had been lucky, he knew, to escape at all – much less after such a pleasant and unexpected sexual encounter. To return was folly of the highest sort, the kind of misadventure only gullible fools would indulge in and seasoned professionals would shun. As he paced his small room in the village inn the next afternoon, he knew going back to Tudley House was the quickest route to ending his professional career – not to mention his liberty – before he had truly hit his stride. Best to catch the next train back to the city, or perhaps the Northlands, or even deplete his meager savings for the first airship headed to a foreign land.

And yet . . .

Edward Lane’s Argosy Chapter One: The Blind Lady Of Tudley House

by Ian Ironwood
Chapter One: The Blind Lady Of Tudley House

Edward did not like the looks of the old country manor, no matter which angle he saw it. It was dark and dreary, and it had been years—decades!—since anyone had maintained the place. A Tudor style, two-story affair, the decrepit pile of bricks was covered in vines and dirt. The lawn had not been tended, the windows were caked with coal soot from the Bloomfeld plant a mile away, and the once-stately slate roof looked like the hide of a dragon after a particularly rowdy fight with a vengeful knight. There was an air of misfortune and misery that hung over the place, as if great misdeeds and missed opportunities had accumulated over the years in layers as thick as the dust.

     Edward should have had a home like this himself, he thought with a sigh. Only not so dreary. His college friends, the cream of the realm’s aristocracy, had such places to spare: the accumulated inheritance of generations. This home could have been magnificent under his care, he knew, a worthy estate for a country gentleman or industrious peer. It was precisely the sort of thing he aspired to—had aspired to for years, actually. Only Edward Lane was without inheritance of any significance.

Got A Screwdriver?

by Elizabeth McKay
“Alright, Mags, it looks like the last of them have left. I think it’s time, hmm?” Cora’s petticoats whispered as she moved across the room to Maggie’s desk. It was the first night of summer recess, and the halls of Cape June Ladies’ Academy still echoed with the bustle of students moving out, and giving emotional farewells to their classmates. The only light in the whole building was in the workshop, where the two had hidden themselves.
     Maggie sat up and blinked a few times, setting her pen down. She yawned and arched her body into a luxurious stretch, leaning back onto Cora. “I didn’t think it would ever end. I finished the last of the adjustments to the device a week ago and I’ve been dying to try it out!” Cora ran her hands over Maggie’s hips and rubbed her cheek on her black curls, breathing in her lavender perfume.

A Cold Night In New Barcelona

by Maya Deerbone
It was raining outside, pouring down in cold sheets, the kind of rain that keeps even children indoors. It was raining inside, too. Just a soft drizzle from the few dozen leaks that peppered the soda-can-shingle roof, and a soft spray as the wind blew in through the holes in the walls.
     James stood in front of his favorite of those holes in the wall. Floor to twelve-foot ceiling, it was a jagged scar of exposed brick and torn wiring. It looked out over the rest of the city splayed out below. Candles were lit in windows nearby, like starlight. Electric lights glared in the skyscrapers downtown, high-powered beams shot out from the police airships tethered to the tallest buildings. An abandoned warzone lay between the two.
     A figure on a bicycle crossed through the no-mans-land, slowing to dodge potholes.

SteamyPunk now in zine form!

Anyone who has caught up with Strangers In A Tangled Wilderness at a bookfair or other tabling event has probably seen our little steamypunk zines. Well, we’ve finally taken the step to print out a whole bunch (with offset-printed covers done by one of our collective members!) and have offered them for sale at the tangledwilderness.org Mail-Order Page. You can buy the set of two Margaret Killjoy stories and three Dimitri Markotin stories, five zines for five bucks! Unfortunately, we’re not really sure if we’re allowed to send this stuff overseas, so at the moment this is for steamypunks in the USA only.

House Of Glass & Pearl

by Robert Monroe
Warning: Contains no explicit sex scenes! This is a work of romance.
The brick house at 1723 Reed Avenue does not normally draw the attention of any passerby. The house stands silently, quiet ordinarily, like the house to its left and the house to its right. Curtains of thick white lace obscure the view inside and not a sound can be heard slipping from within the house. It is a house of completely unremarkable normalcy, with the exception of its eerie silence.
     But there are those who know what to look for, those who see the streets of London with very different eyes, eyes that drift to the shadows and the alleyways. Eyes that know what is there, waiting. It is with those eyes that the visitors of 1723 Reed Avenue spy the peculiar tabby sunning on the house’s walkway steps.

Emerson & Adalia Rob A House

by Dimitri Markotin
Of course, it caught Emerson by surprise when the young gentleman stepped into his office and up to his desk, slipped a hand behind his neck, and kissed him full on the mouth.
      Emerson stood with a start, knocking papers to the floor before regaining his composure and studying the interloper’s face more carefully. “Adalia?” he asked. He looked the guest over. Her breasts must have been bound, her hair swept up into her bowler, but he was certain it was her. His Robin Hood, the burglar he had met amorously weeks prior and not seen since.

Chaos Theory

by Dimitri Markotin
It certainly wasn’t what I planned, I must confess. What sort of person would I be if I were to attend such a lecture—the nature of chaos in contemporary mathematical philosophy—with the intention of entering into such a liaison? This I can tell you in truth: I had no idea how the weekend would turn out.