Who doesn’t love a good western romance, add Steampunk to the mix and you have a real winner. There are two new TV shows set in the U.S. during the Victoria era. Both with tall, dark, handsome heroes I’m crazy about, southern gunslinger, Cullen Bohannon with Hell On Wheels,
and N.Y. City Police Detective, Kevin Corcoran from Copper.
The popularity of these shows leave no doubt that 19th century American men, bad boys who shoot guns, make hot heroes.
There are great western romances and great westernpunk romances. For anyone not familiar with the term westernpunk, one of the greatest examples of westernpunk is the old television show, Wild Wild West. All the 19th century high tech spy gadgetry made that western, Steampunk. Even though James West and Artemus Gordon didn’t fly on an airship, they lived in the luxury compartment of a steam powered train.
That wasn’t the only western film with Steampunk influences before Steampunk was cool. In the 1967 movie, The War Wagon, with John Wayne and Kirk Douglas, the duke robs a horse drawn wagon armored with metal sides and a Gatling gun mounted on it because the man who built it stole John Wayne’s character’s land.
Keep in mind people wore goggles in the west on wagon trains to keep the dust out of their eyes. And of course trains run on steam. Nineteenth century locomotives were bigger than life with huge grills in front and towering smoke billowing out. Their long, powerful iron bodies were adorned with decorative brass, gleaming in the hot western sun as they cut across the wild, spacious west. They emitted an orchestra of musical sounds, including the steam whistle and the chuffing noise of the train. All of these things add to the ambiance and settings of Westernpunk stories. After all the premise of the TV show Hell On Wheels is the railroad, as it is in Devon Monk’s novel, Dead Iron.
As you can see the American west makes as good a setting for Steampunk as Victorian London does. Cherie Priest (Boneshaker) and Devon Monk (Dead Iron) have had great success with using the west for their Steampunk takes. For a Steampunk romance with a hot, wild west, paranormal bad boy, I recommend Wilder’s Mate by Moira Rogers, It’s a fun, steamy westernpunk read.