In lieu of research I have been staring at old-timey photographs.
Here’s a very famous one of John Brown:
The piercing eyes, the flamelike hair, the flat and severe mouth;Â that ghostly hand reaching through the frame; it’s like he’s <i>trying</i> to be eerie.Â This photograph is haunted.
On the other hand, look at this asshole:
Taken at Antietam, shortly after the battle. Will you look at this ugly bastard. You can tell just at a glance that this is a thug and a legbreaker and a nasty, nasty man. And in fact he grew up to be Allan Pinkerton, co-founder of the Pinkerton Detective Agency.
I don’t have a point, here.
I have been reading this:
This is period steampunk, from 1868, from back when it wasn’t a nostalgic affectation or a fantasy of a simpler time or what-have-you, but an actual (possible?)Â vision of the future. Steam robots! Indians! People saying, without apparent irony, jehosophat! Available for download here, if you’re curious. You couldn’t call it good, exactly, or even adequate, but it certainly feels authentic.