Time Flies (DOG EAR) PDF Print E-mail
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Thursday, 09 April 2015 00:00

n our last DOG EAR, I mentioned I was pondering over a new science fiction (or, perhaps better termed, fantasy) book. Tubitz and Mergenstein involves a pair of mismatched lovers who are forced to flee when they are both set up for various crimes by various people in the central metropolis of a Victorian world. In the original story written three decades ago, the charges only hold for a year, leading to a pursuit. As I remember, Megenstein gets caught and is bought back to the capitol by his enemies, who, rather than executing him, decide to keep him alive until the last few minutes and then execute him at some Grand Ball. And of course, the sultry thief Tubitz alters the power feed to the ballroom’s clock (stepping up its voltage frequency) and making it run a touch faster. So while the villains gloat, the time on the charges runs out and Mergenstein is freed (not without a little swordplay and such).

Okay, so that was the old book. Now, I’m going to focus even deeper on the steampunk market. While I don’t know all the limits and capabilities of technology, I do know that to be proper steampunk, I don’t want to have electricity present. Fine and good, but suddenly Tubitz’s scheme of altering the power source to the ballroom clock won’t work. And so I had to ponder something else.

Making it tied to the massive ornate clock really appeals. It ties everything up nicely, the time limitation, the gilded era in which they live, and a barbaric public execution amid the flouncing nobility – it’s a great scene. And it all centers around time and that damn tick-tock clock.

So, no power. That idea won’t work.

I pondered this for days. How could she change the clock so that the charges run out and the villains are left to sputter in enraged impotency? I thought that perhaps she could simply set the clock back before the ball-goers arrived but that felt like a cheat. To reinforce this, I imagined that I’d add an old institution, that all noblemen, upon entering the ballroom, would pull out their ornate pocket watches and consult the grand ballrooms huge pendulum clock. This way, I’d show the readers that, no, we didn’t simply change the clock time. Like a magician showing all sides of his vanishing box, I’d allow the readers to see the trick for what it was.

Trouble was, I didn’t know how to make the damn trick work.

Until now.                                                                                

Next week: The trick! (spoilers abound)