Savannah, 1819 by John Stobart, from Google Images.
On August 22nd, in 1818, the SS Savannah was launched in New York. She was a sailing packet - a small hybrid sailing ship and side-wheel steamer, and she became the first steamship to cross the Atlantic Ocean.
The Savannah was also unique in that, as far as anyone knows, she was the only ship in history to have retractable paddle wheels. Her entire paddle wheel could be broken done and stowed in approximately 15 minutes.
Since the end of World War II, the use of steam power has been neglected (though it is still used in nuclear-powered ships and submarines). But speculative fiction writers have not neglected steam, and the steampunk genre continues to ignite our imagination with ideas about steam, and the whole period of time in which steam power was prevalent.
In our latest e-zine issue, we introduced the first in a series of stories set in a steampunk world. Based on the idea of humans colonizing the planets with steam-based technology, the Trent-Featherstone Journals chronicle the stories of two young ladies living and working on Mars.
In Blanche and Cordelia’s first foray, they take a holiday on Venus which takes a turn for the worst.
In their second adventure, which will be appearing in the next issue of our e-zine (coming out in October), Blanche and Cordelia return to Mars, with some strange cargo in tow.