quote:...I sat back and realised two things: I enjoyed writing in the world I’d created and I knew nothing about the Victorian era where a lot of steampunk draws its inspiration. I wanted to explore the world further and I wanted my explorations to fit comfortably within the steampunk genre.
I started to read about the Victorian-era. Because I’m lazy, my research petered out after a few days, but one of the books I read was The Secret Life of Oscar Wilde by Neil McKenna. It was a fascinating and disturbing read. By any standard, Oscar Wilde was a sexual predator, but the dark side of the Victorian era was the intertwining of sexuality and class. By the time he’d accepted his sexuality he was doing to young underclass men what many (or even most) respectable Victorian gentlemen did to young underclass women; he exploited them for his own pleasure (and some of them exploited him back via blackmail). He was a complicated and courageous man who was also a selfish monster. Like many martyrs for a cause, he wasn’t necessarily an admirable man on a personal level but he was a talented monster who was willing to sacrifice everything for his beliefs.