82,972 words; 234 pages in PDF
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It seems only fitting that now, as a new age of digital publishing is dawning, we would see a resurgence in the kind of fiction associated with the beginning of cheap print publishing. In the Victorian era, they had Penny Dreadfuls, adventures and thrillers printed on cheap paper for the masses. Now, Circlet Press is revisiting this lost genre with its latest full-length release, 1901: A Steam Odyssey.
Written by up-and-comer Lionel Bramble, this erotic novel is both a tribute to, and improvement upon, the tradition of the Penny Dreadful. While Victorian in tone, its characters and plot are decidedly modern, and this seems to be the perfect combination to create fiction in the ever-shifting steampunk genre.
Praise and a hot excerpt for 1901: A Steam Odyssey:
“Not only is the premise fresh, but it is superbly executed. There isn’t a false step anywhere. Inventive, imaginative, saucy, naughty; 1901: A Steam Odyssey is all that and more.”
—Kathleeen Bradean, Erotica Revealed
“Ever wonder why Barsoom, Amtor, Tarzan’s Africa, and other purportedly prudish worlds of pulp science fiction are full of characters running around naked? Ever wonder what might truly be required when you lie back and think of England? Lionel Bramble delightfully lays bare these subtexts, and more, in his enormously entertaining debut novel, the polyamourously perverse interplanetary erotic steampunk spy-adventure, 1901: A Steam Odyssey.”
—Cynthia Ward, Frequently Felt
After not a great deal of discussion, Miss Ravenwood and I agreed that it would be best if both men stripped. Footgear, frocks, waistcoats, and shirtsleeves found their way to the floor or to the seats and backs of unused chairs. Trousers and—yes, we insisted—union suits and skivvies soon followed. The Major removed his goggles, and Steerforth his stovepipe hat.
Olive and I were also in accord as to another matter: We must take advantage of the appurtenances available in this rented room to restrain our gentlemen during the proceedings, to protect them under the pressure of their intense excitement.
We could not have asked for a more handsome contrast between our two male specimens. My slender Steerforth, who swam with me across the English Channel and possessed the sinewy physique suited to such an endeavor, took a chair beneath a dangling pair of shackles, to which Miss Ravenwood eagerly affixed him. I roped his ankles to the legs of the chair, demonstrating my practical knowledge of sailors’ knots. His brown eyes glanced at me quizzically beneath his unruly shock of brown hair. We had shaved his body smooth just the other night, the better to show off the blue-black jagged tribal designs that swirled up half his front and down half his back. His phallus, the source of such delight to both of us, retained its characteristic odd twist and its small tattoo of Poseidon’s trident; he had recently been circumcised in accordance with the latest fashion.
Meanwhile, the burly, bull-like form of the Major, that well-known champion weightlifter and wrestler, was soon secured—again by our eager Miss Ravenwood—into the chair supplied with wrist and ankle restraints. But that was not enough for her, who boasted of the Major’s crushingpower, and did not doubt that under duress he might find the strength to break free. Soon she wrapped his bared musculature (biceps and thighs generously decorated with anchors, mermaids, and skulls) in padlocked chains. With his receding red hair, fair freckled skin, and luxuriant red growth up and down his frame, he looked the picture of impatience. Yet he spoke mildly.
“This would do justice to Mister Houdini,” the Major commented from beneath his copper handlebar mustache.
“No escape for your sort,” said Miss Ravenwood.
She undid her skirts to step out of them, and removed her blouse to expose her snowy form. The sight of Miss Ravenwood’s plump white breasts spilling out atop her tartan-plaid corset was sufficient to rouse both the Major and my Steerforth into a state of visible excitement, the tribute the male anatomy must perforce pay to female beauty enticingly displayed.
A necklace with a rough lead-coloured pendant lay on her bosom, the cold metal throwing the pale softness, and pinkening warmth, of her bare skin into a most wonderful contrast. She had further decorated herself with designs of a phoenix rising from flames that swirled about her crotch. Her lower back was a partial belt of astrological signs. Bright flowers of ink bloomed atop her feet. One well-toned arm hosted a veritable garden of multicoloured foliage. I noticed a tiny winged dragon perched aside her neck.
Up to this time I had observed Miss Ravenwood with a certain detached amusement. Recent months had found me in something of a funk. The Greater British Empire, to say nothing of the planet Earth itself, had only recently escaped destruction, and that most narrowly. The implications continued to sink in. It was not due to human effort that the hideous alien invaders had been defeated; rather, that task had been accomplished by the miniscule terrestrial creatures that swim under the microscope, to which the Martians had no immunity.
The failure of the Directorate to repel the alien invaders was a defeat I took personally. Yet the people of the Empire, the great and the humble alike, seemed to prefer to forget the invasion. That the Martians would try again—armed, perhaps, with improved bio-medical knowledge—was judged unlikely by the captains of government and industry, and the press. Surely, on the off-chance that the Martians did repeat their attempt to subdue the Earth, the gas and radium-dust that the Empire used (without shame or restraint) to subdue Greater Boerland and Ireland surely would make equally short work of the Martians.
I forced myself to snap out of my reverie. It was an age of scientific miracles and invigorating social change: A new century under a new monarch. And after all, we indeed had survived a threat to our very existence. Did not the good citizens of the Empire have the right to be happy, to enjoy life? Perhaps the only trials that remained to us were those of human making.
Such was the stew of my thoughts, provoked by Steerforth’s physiological reaction to Miss Ravenwood’s eye-pleasing nudity!
I admit also to a certain jealousy. Steerforth and I occupied unique and special places in our respective hearts. But we had agreed, prompted by our time’s amazing advances in biological chemistry and the development of proofs against conception and disease, to maintain an arrangement of carnal non-exclusivity. We had both invoked that arrangement several times after the Affair of the Panhedonic Engine.
I did not doubt his love for me. Yet I firmly believed that his phallus, raised now in salute to our younger friend, rightfully belonged to me, rather than to this young Fabian!
Thus I unfastened my clothes, to join Miss Ravenwood in arranging myself in a fetching state of deshabille. I undid the black crepe ribbon that confined my hair, to let my golden locks flow across my bare shoulders. Slowly I removed my leather corset and cotton blouse, unfastened my black crepe bloomers and red silken pantalettes, and, rather as an afterthought, elected to remain in my stiletto-heeled sharkskin boots.
Perhaps I should further describe myself. In accordance with my ancestry—Nordic settlers who conquered the Wisconsin Territory—I am fair-skinned, blue-eyed, and freckled, with a build so rawboned that I am almost gangly, finished with small breasts and long legs. Since my emigration to England I have undertaken to improve on nature, in the form of ancient Celtic decorations across the lower part of my abdomen. To this I recently added a tribal design across my lower back, a constellation of five-pointed stars about one breast, and a starburst on my left buttock.
Certainly the display of an unattainable—for now—female body is the very definition of tantalisation. I flatter myself, perhaps, that as I did so, the Major’s mark of approval surged by as much as a good half-inch. Mark that, Steerforth, thought I. Despite the Major’s obvious excitement at the sight of two naked females, Miss Ravenwood provided him with redundant digital prompting, even as she applied the necessary lubrication via the oral medium. I oiled up Steerforth with the mineral product the Thunder Child Inn so thoughtfully provided its clientele. No “chafing” for our male friends!
I kissed Steerforth’s mouth, slow and long, for he was making me hungry for him. I ran my fingers through his curly hair and bushy sideburns, stroked the late-night stubble that sprouted from his firm jutting chin.
Immediately thereafter, I fitted my cavalier with the rings.
Five should do, I decided, one stacked above the other, along the main thrust of his shaft. Some were tighter than others, so that they could pass each other, back and forth as they travelled hither and yon over his trident tattoo. Thus they would also accommodate the unusual twist in his shape which had delighted me so many times in the recent past. They floated without touching each other, repulsed by like magnetism, some round- edged, some straight.
Miss Ravenwood’s saucy lips still worked away at the Major’s formidable artillery. I suggested that she desist, “Save him for the main event, as it were.”
With a loud puckering sound, she lifted herself from him, eliciting a grunt of longing from the Major. Her laugh was bell-like.
“This is nothing,” said she. “You should get a load of him every night. He penetrates my defences, batters down my walls, and ravages me like conquered territory. He forces my surrender and makes of my body a pillage-ground. He wrings from me loud nocturnal exclamations that awaken the neighbours and inspire our landlady to new heights of bitter complaint. Insatiable, he is: a beast that ploughs me most cruelly. Tonight, then, I shall be avenged for all the pleasure he has forced me to endure!”
She laughed again, as if to reassure us that she spoke satirically. She took his broad tip once again into her mouth, puckered her cheeks, and removed herself with another popping sound.
“Right. Just an appetiser. Lady Easterling, could you help me adjust these rings? They don’t seem to be quite wide enough.”
“There’s a trick to it; allow me.” I loosened the almost invisible catch, to widen this most practical ornamentation. “Will that suffice?” asked I, returning the metallic object to Miss Ravenwood. She was delighted with the result, and after applying mineral oil to her stalwart’s staff, she fitted the rings over it. I was reminded somewhat of the planet Saturn.
“Let the games begin, then,” I said.
Miss Ravenwood sidled up to me. How sweetly of mint she smelled. Said she, “Now, I assume that our goal is to bring our men as close as possible to the edge of paroxysm, as many times as possible, and to keep them there at sixes and sevens for as long as possible?”
“My Steerforth would accept no less,” replied I. My loyalty to him demanded that I put him through paces identical to the Major’s. Else howcould he acquit himself with honour? “Shall we make this more interesting?” suggested Miss Ravenwood.
“What—what do you propose, Olive?” asked the Major, who wasignored. Miss Ravenwood regarded me slyly through thick lashes. “We can
delay the inevitable for only so long. You’ll grant me that, won’t you?” “Yes,” said I, witness to the changing shades of colour on the faces of Steerforth and the Major, to say nothing of the storm-like bluing of the shaft and bollocks of the former, and the turgid empurpling of those appurtenances of the latter.
“The odds are against both our experiments blowing up at the same time are right slim, eh?”
“Yes,” I vouchsafed.
“So one or the other must—not to put too fine a point on it—erupt first?”
“That seems likely.”
“Then let’s say that the first to explode loses! The winner can take the lady of his choice to bed—or wherever else. Both of us, if he wishes. Observe the Major in his enflamed state. Doesn’t he look good to you?”
“He looks delicious,” I said, truthfully.
Her smile was wicked. “Well, Mister Steerforth, by the same token, looks a treat to me. Mind you, though—with you at Mister Steerforth’s controls, and me at the Major’s, mightn’t we go too easy on ‘em? It’s not a proper contest if we go too easy on ‘em, is it?”
“If Mister Steerforth has limits,” I declared, “I have yet to discover them. But I take your meaning very well. I would not willingly deprive ourselves of the entertainment and satisfaction of serving as the controllers of their pleasure. Nor would I dream to cheat either gentleman of the full measure of sensation that they have so gallantly volunteered to experience. What, then, do you propose?”
“That we switch control panels.”
“Why, Miss Ravenwood!” I exclaimed, as I immediately twigged to her meaning. “Are you not the most mischievous vixen who has ever walked this Earth?”
“This planet,” interjected the Major, “or any other.”
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Aliens! Corsets! Tattoos! Steam! Join the intrepid Lady Cheyenne as she battles Lunar soldiers and Venusian love-warriors in her quest to save the Earth, and Her Majesty’s Empire, from the sinister machinations of voyeur Martians! Discover this and much more in Lionel Bramble’s 1901: A Steam Odyssey!