Guest Post and Blog Tour: The Steamy Punky Goodness of Steampunk by Pip Ballantine

Today I’m turning the blog over to the awesome Pip Ballantine, co-author (with the equally awesome Tee Morris), of the upcoming Steampunk romp, Phoenix Rising: A Ministry of Peculiar Occurances Novel!

Also up for grabs is a copy of Phoenix Rising to one lucky winner! Please see giveaway rules at the end of the post, and make sure you check out the awesome book trailer!

Please welcome Pip to the blog! 

The Steamy Punky Goodness of Steampunk 
by Philippa Ballantine 
There is a new genre making itself felt amongst the book reading public: one that combines today and yesterday, and mixes it with brass and gears. It is of course steampunk. This growing genre is attracting all sorts of creative types; writers like myself, artists, musicians and thousands of everyday folks who love to make things. 
It’s a genre of writing that I loved before I even knew what it was. Something that I had enjoyed since childhood without even knowing there was a name for it. 
When I was growing up I loved history—particularly the stuff I learnt about from my grandma. It was lovely hearing about her childhood of gentile existence. They had a maid, a gardener and lived a life very far removed from anything I was familiar with growing up in the 80s. If I close my eyes, even now I can imagine her as skipping around a garden dressed white, followed by a bevy of servants. 
It feels like nostalgia, but it is for a time I never knew. This is evidenced by the fact that steampunk aficionados are some of the best mannered and gentile of any kind of fans—and it is quite frankly delightful to find in this modern world. 
Technology in steampunk is far more accessible as well. In 2011, the ability of an average person without training to understand what is going on inside their electronic devices is limited (who understands exactly what is going on within an ipad?) Steampunk offers a glimpse of a time and a world where a person could understand technology—when you could look at an engine made of pistons, boilers and gears and have a chance of working out how it powered a train. 
It also has the allure of the mysterious. The world that most often has a steampunk setting, the Victorian time period, was a very different place; it was larger and far more unknown. With no GPS or Google maps, there were still hidden parts of the globe. Explorers had a chance to actually find something new without climbing in a space ship. 
Added to all of this, there is of course the way steampunk appears. It has a beautiful aesthetic, constructed of brass, wood and leather. It is airships, shiny goggles, corsets, and beautiful hats. Considering how clean, corporatized and mass-produced our time is, steampunk harks back to an earlier age where everything was a little grubby, bespoke and artesian. This DIY or maker ethic is one of the most important to costumers and designers, and does produce an endless variety of looks.      
  However steampunk is more than just appearance. By looking back into history, and messing with its continuity it gives an opportunity to examine the darker side of human nature. Victorian life wasn’t all tea-parties, calling cards and balls. The role of children and women and anyone not white was considerably less than it is now. It was a time of great change and upheaval. Even when a steampunk story is a romp (as Phoenix Rising is) it should always remember that darkness, and take it into account. 
In short, steampunk is as broad a sub-genre as any other in the speculative fiction field. It can be a romp, or something serious, dark or light and fluffy. It is often set in Victorian England, but can just as easily be overlaid on a more traditional fantasy setting. It’s a wonderful genre, emerging into the light, and I look forward to seeing where it takes readers and writers alike.
Philippa (Pip) Ballantine is the co-author with Tee Morris of Phoenix Rising: a Ministry of Peculiar Occurrence novel coming out soon from Harper Voyager. It contains airships, archives and large amounts of derry-doing. Find out more at
All images courtesy of Gothia Gazette 

 *Giveaway Details* 

please read carefully 
*Giveaway is for one copy of Phoenix Rising by Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris
*Book will be sent out on Release Date of April 26th, 2011 
*Giveaway is open Internationally (wherever The Book Depository ships)
TO ENTER: You MUST eave a comment or question for Pip and FILL OUT THIS FORM
*Must be at least 13 to enter 
*Giveaway ends at 11:59 PM on Tuesday, April 26th!


  1. my life with books -kjovus

    Hi Pip, I like how you describe steampunk as your growing up years of the 80's and your grandmothers era. I think it sounds perfect actually. Neighbors are friendly, people work hard and come on, there were garbage pail kids, fragle rock, smurfs, the cosby show, and those snappy shoes with a zipper and pocket. What is there not to love about the 80's? (besides the bad hair)
    Jennifer KJovus

  2. Hi Pip – I'm a relatively new reader to steampunk but loving the imagination and inventiveness of the genre! What steampunk invention do you wish was real? Personally I'd love to travel on an airship! 🙂

  3. I have never read steampunk, but now I'm itching to give it a try!

  4. this sounds interesting, gotta look into it!!

  5. Hi there love the cover, I am new to Steam Punk genre so going to make this one of my first from this genre.

  6. melissasmeanderings

    This is my first introduction to steampunk…sounds like something I should give a try!

  7. Your book sounds great. I have been seeing Steampunk around for a few months. The pictures are really unique that are with the Steampunk themes. I like the idea of combining the old and new!!


  8. I absolutely adore Steampunk. Was there anything that you specifically had to research because of the genre?

    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

  9. Awesome! Thanks for the giveaway

  10. @Mel I too would love an airship. I adore travel, but am not that keen on planes. Airships just seem more elegant (The Hindenburg aside)
    @Vivien We spent a lot of time examining what when on during the late Victorian age. While not entirely historically accurate, it was fun knowing what when on so we could play with it.
    Thanks for the comments everyone!

  11. Great Minds Think Aloud Book Club

    Hi Pip! I haven't read many steam punk related novels but this one looks like it would really be awesome! I am definitely going to look up more of your works! I adore steam punk but have never found anything exciting to read about it. I think that's about to change! Much continued success to you!

  12. thats an interesting book cover!

  13. Hi Pip!

    I really enjoy reading Steampunk, can't wait to read phoenix rising!

    I really love this cover, really catches my eyes. Did you have any input on the cover design?


  14. We had some input on the cover, mostly the pose, the rest was up to the art designer.
    Steampunk is fun, but also a kind of history where you can have lots of fun and improbably bizarre gadgets. I've been enjoying writing it, so I hope others enjoy reading it.

  15. I love books with airships, archives and large amounts of derry-doing, as well as peculiar occurrences. Steampunk is a favorite genre, in all it's various wonderful forms. I'm very much looking forward to reading Phoenix Rising.

  16. thehiddenbibliotheca

    I haven't had a chance to read steampunk; but, this looks great!

  17. Hi, Pip. Thanks for the giveaway. Your book sounds really good.

  18. Offbeat Vagabond

    I just recently discovered Steampunk. I wish I found it earlier. There are so much beautiful things to love about it. I really should have found it earlier, out of the norm suits me LOL! But that was an amazing read Pip, your passion for it really comes through. Really really looking forward to this, it sounds incredible and the trailer is awesome. Thank you guys so much 🙂

  19. I'm just beginning to grasp what Steampunk actually is & I am fascinated. You are a new author to me &'m glad I found you.

  20. A very lyrical and accurate description of what steampunk is and is about.

    One of the best descriptions I have read and one I totally agree with.

    Well done.
    Carol T

    buddytho {at} gmail DOT com

  21. Hi Pip, thanks for joining us! Your book looks so good–I'm not that much of a fan of Steam Punks, but I'm pretty sure I'll be checking this one out!

    All the best =D

  22. Hi Pip,
    I loved your article and was wondering if you and Tee are steampunk aficionados yourselves and if so, what books first sparked that interest?

  23. hey pip!!! i loved the interview. thanks for making it international

  24. The Crooked Bookshelf

    This sounds like an awesome book. Steampunk novels are my favorite.

  25. i love the book trailer! what fun to run around in steampunk gear!

  26. This sounds so interesting! I've only just started reading steampunk but I love it so far and I can't wait to try this ^_^

  27. Hi Pip, I loved to read how you describe steampunk. I'm just starting on this genre, but since I like to understand how things work, this is definitely a genre to keep my eyes on. I'm looking forward to get to read your book. 😉

  28. This sounds great! Thanks for this great giveaway and making it internationaly! 🙂

  29. Hi Pip,

    I've never read a Steampunk novel before and never really understood the genre, but I love the way you've described the value of the worlds created in these novels where people actually know how their technology operates, unlike today's users who are less aware of the inner workings of the very technology they so heavily rely on. Would love to read your book. Great interview!

  30. @angelshimmery I came to steampunk through alternate history, but I highly recommend anything by Cherie Priest.
    For my co-writers take on steampunk check out
    Thanks for all the kind comments!

  31. This genre is new to me. So far everything I have read is fabulous. I am looking forward to your book.

  32. Hey Pip – LOVE steampunk – can't wait to read this!

  33. Hey Pip! I'm somewhat new to steampunk, so as both a writer and a reader, what books (other than yours, of course) do you recommend?

  34. Hey Pip, I love the cover and can't wait to read the book

  35. Sounds like a wonderful new type of book and I am fascinated!

  36. I'm gonna give this a miss I think.

    I love a good bit of steampunk as much as anyone, however my best friend takes it to extremes and I've had just as many clocks as I can take for a while.

  37. Sounds great. Thanks a bunch! 😀

  38. Hi Pip.. I love the cover, and i cant wait to read this! 😀

  39. Who Is Afraid of Alfred Hitchcock?

    Hi! Kristin…
    The book seems very interesting and the video is amusing…As a matter Of fact, I just discovered this thing called…"Steampunk"…Therefore, I'am quite interested in this author's book.
    Thanks, for sharing the information author Philippa Ballantine, about Steampunk and for offering the "Phoenix Rising" book in a contest too!
    DeeDee ;-D

  40. This looks like a good book! I haven't gotten into steampunk too much yet.

  41. I still haven't read anything by this particular genre and authors, but the cover already spiked my interest! LOL

  42. I LOVE the cover and the book sounds amazing. Steampunk seems to be reall popular now and I really need to read some books in the genre

  43. Hiya Pip, I really enjoyed your take on steampunk. I'm already on the airship but I think you managed to sell the genre to me even more.
    Here's a question for you: what's one steampunk gadget that you'd love to have?

  44. ^^^ I noticed my question was sort of already asked while looking through comments. I was thinking something more along the lines of personal gadgets though.

Comments are closed