Wednesday, June 16, 2010

from earthquakes to volcanos

Near the end of The Clockwork Cat (my steampunk WIP) Our Fearless Heroine, her aunt, the clockwork cat, and (of course) the butler take an airship (captained by a possibly smitten Luddite) to an island to rescue our Fearless Heroine's father.

The only problem is that the island is named (de de de) Mount Tambora!

Yeah, just doesn't have the same kick as Krakatoa, does it. The problem is that Krakatoa didn't have its huge eruption until 1883, while Mount Tambora erupted in 1815. 1815 fits better for my timeline, plus Mount Tambora was a bigger eruption than Krakatoa. (Thus lots of potential for some volcano vs airship action.)

When my readers see the name Krakatoa, they know a volcanic eruption is coming. I don't want it to be a surprise, I want to use that foreknowledge to build tension for the reader. So, shift my book timeline to 1883 and use Krakatoa, or keep it in 1815 and use Mount Tambora, and find some other way to alert the reader without being too ham handed.

Le sigh.


  1. What was the name of a volcano that blew up before Trambora? Vesuvius? Could you reference that somehow as you approach Trambora?

    The grandmother says, "Oh, it's so dangerous looking, almost ready to erupt, I hope it's not as big as Vesuvius."

    I know, schmaltzy but just a thought. I can't think of any other famous volcanoes.

  2. Hmm... or maybe I can just build tension with the captain fretting about the pre-explosion dust and ash that's already in the air. (It's never a secret that a volcano is going to explode. It's just a question of guessing when.)

  3. hey - it's speculative fiction, and steampunk at that, so also kinda alternate historyish. You can do whatever you want. I like the idea of making krakatoa erupt earlier

  4. True, but the rules for this WIP are that only the science changed, not the natural world. (Though with a clockwork cat, I guess that could be argued :)


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