Saturday, July 6, 2019

Southern Steam

"You can't find Port Reprieve on a map.  It exists in a southern United States that became a permanent Confederacy, a place outside of your view of reality.  But the Scribblers Den writers have traversed the barrier and done their research.  We have returned, with tales told about the people of that far flung Earth where America is divided, Alabama hosts the world's strangest port city, and every sort and flavor of curiosity roams its dusty streets.  Take a tour through our words down unpaved roads to adventure, tension and danger in the Southern Steam surrounding Port Reprieve."

So reads the blurb for Southern Steam, a collaboration by some of the members of Scribblers' Den, a steampunk writers' guild spanning two continents.  As to the world itself,  let your mind float back to 1864 on the coast of Alabama as the American Civil War rages.  But this world is about to take a sudden divergence from the one we find so comfortably familiar.  As the siege of Mobile gets into full swing, the city is bombarded mercilessly by shifts of Union mortar boats anchored in the lee of Marsh Island.  CSS Tennessee makes an attempt to shoo them away, but despite braving the swells off Cedar Point, is no match for Farragut's four monitors.  In consequence, the siege continues until the city of Mobile is a smoking pile of rubble.  Upon the arrival of more naval and marine forces, Farragut successfully runs the batteries and gains access to the harbor, and is scouting the best site to make a safe amphibious landing while remaining in striking distance of a strategic location when a delegation arrives by fast steamer to notify him that in light of the recent British and French intervention, hostilities are to be suspended.  The cease-fire documents are signed in one of the tobacco warehouses on the shore of Weeks Bay, in actuality the Fish River estuary, and within a few days, all vestiges of Union military power have departed.  With Mobile, and most of the smaller towns around the harbor, in ruins, a new town springs up as refugees from the surrounding area take up residence along the shore on both sides of Fish River.  They name their new city Port Reprieve.

A score or so stories were created for Port Reprieve, and five of the best, all created new for the anthology, are included here.  They are:

          Stars and Bars by Steve Moore
          The Stench Street Rebs by William J. Jackson
          Hoodwinked by N.O.A. Rawle
          The Aeronaut by Bryce Raffle
   and Sea Story by yours truly.

Southern Steam is currently available in Kindle format for $2.99; the anthology editor is working on a paperback format, and appropriate announcements will be made when it becomes available.  So if you're a fan of alternate history and epic adventure, hop a freighter and pay a call to Port Reprieve to experience a blast of Southern Steam!


  1. Blogspot is letting me comment again - so hi!

    Not much else; struggling with the current scene - as usual.

    Also, riding adult trike and swimming in the pools - living here is like being at a resort. I am happy. Except for the earthquakes in LA - and wondering if the next set will affect my oldest daughter in SF.

    Hope all is well with you and your clan.

    1. Welcome back, Alicia. Good to have you back. Some of the top earthquake scientists have been saying that north of LA, around where these two quakes happened, the San Andreas is being replaced as the Big Bad fault-line by one running northeast toward and maybe into Nevada. If they're right, your daughter might be safe in San Fran!

    2. Here's the article from Wired:


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