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Scientific Tales by Charlotte Hillebrand-Viljoen

steampunk asteroid city-states 

Scientific Tales is a series of stories about steampunk asteroid city-states. It features diverse people, many of whom like science, doing science, amongst other things, in accurate and realistic (that is, realistic for steampunk asteroid city-states) fashion. It looks like this:

After Earth burned, the remnant of humanity was contained in the self-sustaining asteroid mining colonies. Carey Atkinson declared asteroid DZ-74316 to be the city-state Mechatropolis and herself its first mayor. The rest of the asteroid belt ultimately followed suit. The diversity of humanity was embodied in the dozen asteroid city-states, from Arthaign’s flowing drapery and elegant suits, through Khaya’s spacious, efficient corridors to the gaslit streets and polished wood of Mechatropolis.

In the prestigious upper echelon of the Mechatropolis delvings, together with the City Hall and the spaceport, stands the Academy for Mathematical Sciences. Founded in Atkinson’s time, it is still delivering new and fascinating innovations. A selected few youngsters are invited into the Academy’s lecture theatres and teaching laboratories to uncover some of the universe’s deepest secrets.

The two hundred and forty third class of the Mechatropolis Academy for Mathematical Sciences is about to form.


A series

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Listed: Jul 22, 2015

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Hard SF? In my webfiction? It’s more likely than you’d think.

By Alexander.Hollins, member

Jul 23, 2015: ST is a very unusual blend. The story is set in a very steampunky feeling world of pipes, tubes, and brass mechs. It could be Gyreworld or any of the dozen others similar to it. There is a feel of sparks and madness, of mad engineering more than mad SCIENCE.

But . . .  actual science and technology is used in the plot, from machine code to basic chemistry and manufacturing techniques. And used in such a way as to give a definitive feeling for the characters that use them.

It feels a lot like the roots of steampunk and Science fiction, actually, the entire work has a very Verne feel to it. Both in the use of science, descriptions that waver back and forth between poetic and clinical (which may be an actual plot, the different views of the world of the artist versus scientist!) and, unfortunately, the rather flat dialogue and prose. The first few chapters are rather dull feeling, bordering on the edge of show versus tell. The characters ACTIONS point to differences, but they all talk and think the same.

By chapter five, it is already getting better, so I’m hopeful.

Another interesting thing ST does is the "find it on wikipedia". At the end of every chapter are a few links to wikipedia topics that dovetail with things discussed, from batteries, to hydroponics, articles on academy dress and uniforms, ect. It makes for some interesting extra reading of fact after each dose of fiction. All in all, I think this one is going on my rss feed.

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