Saturday, July 6, 2019
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!