4. The Airship
The airship journey in a steampunk novel is almost always pointless and generally brings the story to a crawl. Its just that blimps/aerostats/airships are slow moving balloons and don’t do all that much for the imagination. It just feels like an steampunk authors, at times, feel they have to through in a balloon ride to ensure that the audience knows its steampunk.
Even airship battles are for the most part boring. An exception to the general pointlessness of the airship in steampunk stories would be the Clementine from Boneshaker by Cherie Priest. In this story the airship serves the purpose, it helps get in an out of Seattle to harvest the yellow gas that turns people into zombies.
3. London Setting
Stories set in London make up a large portion of what is considered steampunk. This isn’t always a bad thing but these stories seem never to stray too far from one another. London was the largest city in the world in the Victoria and a likely spot for a setting but its a great big world. Steampunk stories set elsewhere from London whether real places or imaginary are better.
2. The Out of Place Female Character
The girl who doesn’t fit in Victorian England and wants to do masculine things and build machines. The interesting thing about this character cliche is it is always written by a man. It wouldn’t be so bad but it is done in almost every story. All Men of Genius by Lev Grossman is guilty of this and it is by far the worst work of steampunk ever written.
Female authors do a much better job of writing female steampunk characters since they don’t apologize for writing women who like being being a women. Gail Carrigers Soulless female main character is more in line with a real women and not a Victorian Tom Boy. Thus making for a much more interesting character story.
1. The Automaton Playing Violin.
The scene with the Automaton playing the violin is done over and over again. An Automaton playing the violin doesn’t add anything and just shows how unaware an author is of the genre. Or it shows that the author was a Star Trek The Next Generation Fan. The Doomsday Vault and The Affinity Bridge are guilty of this but there are plenty more.