Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Civil War Stealth Weapons!

So I've been neck-deep in my Steampunk novel for the past several months. Finally finished it and sent it off...which is great because I get to start blocking out Book Two in the series!  Yay!  I love...LOVE to do research. Its one aspect of my job that I feel keeps me from being a recluse.

Currently I'm exploring stealth weapons of the civil war. I know, right?  They had submarines!  Okay, they had one, the H.L. Hunley, and it boasted technology that was otherworldly for that era.

It was the first underwater craft to sink an enemy ship. But the real draw about this fascinating tale is that the submarine and its crew disappeared for almost 100 years!

Despite drownings during earlier runs, the Hunley made history when it launched despite the danger in 1864 as the south's last hope. It was later discovered in 2000 and the undisturbed time capsule yielded incredible results.

Not only was there a plethora of forensic evidence that gave way to detailed models and presentations, the university informed reenactments that led to more discoveries. Who were these intrepid soldiers? What led them to such a dangerous mission? And what was their fate that dark night in the water?

This historic mystery predates my book's timeline by twenty years and allows me to extrapolate along the lines of existing technology to take my story to a whole other level.

This got me wondering about fantasy writers and high science fiction. What do you base your world on? Is there an underpinning of truth or do you paint with a purely creative brush?

I'd love to know!


Donna K. Weaver said...

That is cool stuff, especially because most people don't credit them with that kind of capability then.

But can you imagine being a sailor on that maiden voyage?

Erin Kane Spock said...

Great post. I have a hard time on the Disney submarine ride--the whole idea of being trapped in a tin can underwater is a nightmare. The innovations of the past are amazing. Shows how little exploratory tenets of humanity is removed from our ancestors. I love how Steampunk uses our history in world building.

Raquel Byrnes said...

Donna - I'm growing more in awe of the inventors of that time. I can't imagine being in there...they only had one candle and used it sparingly. Yikes!

Erin - Particularly battle innovations. The pressure and time constraints of war seem to goad the innovative process so much more!

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I could never overcome my fear of enclosed places to ride in a submarine. I can only go on airplanes if I have the window seat. In my fantasy and science fiction books, I always try to keep some truth in science and physics in my books.

Lynda R Young said...

History is always fascinating. When I write fantasy or scifi, I always underpin with truth. It means I do a lot of research (especially for scifi)

Raquel Byrnes said...

Susan - I agree about the enclosed spaces. Window seats are my friend. :)

Lynda - Yes I think readers like to know you put in effort in research.

J.L. Campbell said...

Hi, Raquel,
I like the fact that you're done research on the technology so that you'll have something comparable to build your story around.

Clarissa Draper said...

I have seen some pretty cool steampunk things on Twitter. I just saw a Steampunk wheelchair. People like you are so creative.

Denise Covey said...

I'm sorry that people drowned in the early submarines. Research is the best part of writing a novel!! Hard not to get caught up in it.

Best of luck with your research for your steampunk. My worlds are contemporary, but hey, that's even a challenge these days with the changes we're seeing.

Don't forget to try a little fan fiction.


Elizabeth Mueller said...

Research is always fun to do! I love bringing stuff to lie. My stuff has a message behind every book that I hope reaches out and touches the heart. :)

Thanks for the comment over on my blog! :D


Raquel Byrnes said...

J.L. - Its part of the fun of writing...I'm so lucky!

Clarissa - Wow. I'll have to go and find that wheelchair. :)

Denise - I will try that fan fiction for sure. :)

Elizabeth - That is wonderful motivation to read.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I'd read about that sub before - really amazing it existed when it did.
My world building starts with a solid reality and then technology jumps it ahead.