Enter the Inferno

by wjw on March 9, 2017


The Dopes came. We died. All the while the horror of the rite went on, swirling and reflecting off the gold leafed walls, not a cultist in sight. Peterson’s eyes stayed open and blinking. Steam-links were threaded into his still-quivering muscles, crimped through incisions into his bones; pistons and cylinders shoved up inside the empty cavity of his body, bolted to drillings in his bones. His boiler went in. All the steam plumbing was connected up. A flurry of mechanical arms and hands, like the limbs of a spider all converging on him, and all the while his eyes were open, and his mouth still moving. Muscles in his chest squirmed, still trying to breathe. To scream. To watch, he might have been a man in crisis with a lover, from his expression. Perhaps he’d come to like the pain. Perhaps it wasn’t so different. The rite does things like that.

We fought on. Hudak was dragged away and shrieked, clinging to Johnston and Foster’s ankles until Foster had the sense to shoot him. 

“I’m dry!” Morse yelled. “God damn it, I’m dry!” He wasn’t the only one.

“Draw pistols!” I told the men. I caught Williams’ eye. He knew what I meant. “Save the last round for yourself.”


Man, that’s intense.

Taos Toolbox grad James Strickland has a new book available, Brass and Steel Inferno, and I am very pleased to report that it’s great.

It’s also Steampunk Done Right.  Which is to say, it’s not just Victoriana with the addition of zeppelins and goggles and the occasional madcap heiress, it’s a thoroughly visualized alternate 19th Century American West with a long, interesting (and completely terrifying) backstory.

If a completely original mashup of the Old West, steampunk, and horror tickles your fancy, I recommend you get yourself a copy.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

grs1961 March 11, 2017 at 9:23 am

Sounds like cybermen being done steampunk. Which the Doctor has covered, to some extent.

wjw March 11, 2017 at 5:16 pm

Well, the Cybermen were Rossum’s Robots with an alien to save the day.

HINT: No aliens arrive to save the day in this one.

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