Cheap novels with steam

The latest fad is writing a post-apocalyptic novel.  Usually the world has been seriously disrupted and thus normal commerce has ended causing trauma and mass death.  The movies that have dealt with this subject are “The Postman” and “Waterworld”.  Of interest to steam people is that Terry Williams, who used to live in Washington and who made a wood fired steam powered outboard motor that would get a small skiff up on plane, almost appeared in “The Postman” with his little boat driving around some lake.  A scheduling conflict precluded this and the world is poorer because of it.  One of the stranger writers is P. Orin Zack whose main book is “The Shoals of Time”.  We do not have the time to read that book, however in one of his short stories he has a steam motorcycle driving past making a loud noise.  If I can ever find Mr. Zack’s address I will send him some steam magazines and include a long lecture on how quiet steam engines are, unless they are Bill Ryan’s go-carts.  Then there is a very strange book entitled “Fitzpatrick’s War” by Theodore Judson.  The reason for steam power is because one of the societies had built Personal Pulse Weapons that knocked out electrical circuits.  Thus any invader driving a combustion engine powered vehicle or using an electrically powered one was left powerless.  After winning the war and making steam powered vehicles themselves they went on to conquer the world.  There was an added benefit of this and that was no one wasted their time watching television or playing video games.  It became the perfect agrarian society.  They had steam powered dirigibles, large bomber airplanes and trucks and tractors.  Almost nothing was explained about steam theory except to say that it took an hour or two to warm up the boilers.  This indicates that the author did little research into modern steam power.  The more detailed book was “A World Turned Upside Down” by J. M. Dent.  In this world the economy collapsed and many people died of starvation.  Once the economy was completely collapsed small communities consisted of subsistence farmers and no petroleum fuel was produced or distributed.  Fortunately someone in a little valley in West Virginia had a Gravely tractor dealership and a Reliable steam engine and so they could cultivate the ground.  Not much technical was explained in this book either.  Much advice will be given as soon as these authors send me their addresses.  I notice that they were all smart enough to cover their tracks so that I cannot find their mailing addresses.  Steam is the logical choice for any post-apocalyptic world and the reason is because it worked right after animal power was used and before electricity in any form was invented.  That technology has almost entirely been lost, but we, fortunately, know the secrets.

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3 Responses to Cheap novels with steam

  1. P. Orin Zack says:

    Hey, c’mon. That steam-powered cycle in my stories stories was a home-brew knock-off, and when I left off that series, the thing had been stolen by someone who wanted an exclusive on selling such things in Phoenix. The design was a work in progress.

  2. Tom Kimmel says:

    Dear P. Orin Zack, I am a steam person and would like to first of all offer my information and knowledge of modern steam to you any time you wish to write about steam power, and second of all I was going to tell you that, when condensing, steam power is completely quiet. When the steam is exhausted into the air it sounds like a chain saw. I am now interested in learning more about whatever it was that you knew about in Phoenix as I am attempting to keep up with everyone in the world who is making steam things, of any kind. Thirdly, if you can get me a mailing address I will inundate you with steam literature and information. Tom Kimmel

    • gznork26 says:

      Thanks for the offer, Tom. Did you read all three short stories that the engine figured in? (They are “Round”, “The Phoenix Narrative” and “Steam Cycle”.) After having my character’s first engine trashed in “Round”, she made some improvements to her Schoell cycle engine. I became interested in steam back in the early 70s when my college roommate told me that his dad had built a steam-powered motorbike when he was younger. When I was writing the stories, I did some searching, and was taken by what I read about the Schoell design. There’s an email in my Gravatar if you’d like to send me some additional info.

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