Just when we'd thought we'd wrapped up our Steampunk discussion, two more pieces came along. Ian Sales' "A Light in the Darkness" and Geof Banyard's "The Steampunk Literary Review" showcase different extremes of the subgenre's spectrum - from the serious to the satirical.
Mr. Sales' "A Light in the Darkness" (2011) is an elegently constructed triptych. The first point of view is Second Lieutenant Wilfred Owen, entrenched at the front in 1917. The second is the inventor Nicola Tesla, also 1917, but in America (at his famous tower in Wardenclyffe, never completed in 'real' history). The third narrator is a nameless, contemporary figure - a prisoner in a mysterious institution.
While Owen endures the miseries of WWI trench warfare, Tesla schemes to reshape all of human existence. His tower is the final piece of his "Stratospheric Lighting System". It will send electricity leaping into the sky, starting a chain reaction that will end darkness forever. Tesla will banish the night.
The other two protagonists have more hesitant relationships with light, both physically and conceptually. For the unnamed contemporary figure, the bright lights of his cell blind him. They are both an instrument of torture and a warning that the next round of physical interrogation is about to begin. As his suffering continues, the lines between line and darkness, vision and blindness, begins to blur.