Tinkering with Steampowered Dragons

Greetings gals and guys!!

Author David Lee Summers, who is also featured in Gaslight & Grimm, stopped by the blog today to share a bit with us from his corner of the world!

Welcome David!



By day, I write science fiction and fantasy. By night, I operate telescopes at Kitt Peak National Observatory. The job requires a degree in physics or astronomy and suits my interest in tinkering with mechanical devices.

My physics degree came with a language requirement and since I took three years of German in high school, I continued studying in college. One of my German literature assignments was to read and translate the Grimm Faerie Tale, “Schneewitchen,” better known in English as “Little Snow White.” In the process, I learned the story was much darker than the Disney movie I remembered as a child. The wicked queen tries to kill Snow White no less than three times. First she tries to strangle her with ribbon. When that fails, she gives her a poisoned comb. Finally, she gives her the famous poisoned apple. Each time, Snow White is rescued by the seven dwarfs. When Snow White marries the handsome prince, she invites the queen to the wedding and makes her dance to death in red hot shoes. This was the stuff of nightmares! Great stuff for someone who had an interest in writing fantasy and science fiction.


A few years later, when my wife and I bought Disney’s Snow White on DVD for our daughters, I remembered my college experience and sought out a copy of Grimm’s Faerie Tales in German. The edition I found had the added bonus of including the Grimm Brother’s original notes about the tales. One story in this collection stood out to me, called “Der Teufel und seine Grossmutter.” Depending on how you translate that, it’s either “The Devil and his Grandmother” or “The Dragon and his Grandmother.” No matter which version you go with, you know it’s going to be a pretty interesting tale! In the context of the story, our villain seemed more like a dragon than a devil to me and he makes a deal to carry three soldiers far away from any fighting. The titular grandmother holds the key to keeping them from being prisoners forever.

When Danielle Ackley-McPhail approached me about writing a story for Gaslight and Grimm, one of the first stories I pitched to her was a steampunk retelling of “The Dragon and his Grandmother.” The image of a magical, steampowered mechanical dragon came to mind almost instantly. The machine’s “grandmother” would have been involved in his creation, sort of like a Dr. Frankenstein character. The thought of three soldiers wanting to escape warfare for a better life immediately brought to mind one of my favorite Victorian novellas, The Man Who Would be King by Rudyard Kipling. This suggested a setting in Northern India on the border with Afghanistan. With all these pieces in place, “The Steampowered Dragon” came together quickly.

I’m honored to have written a story for Gaslight and Grimm, which has given me the opportunity to tinker under the hood of a rarely seen classic tale and then show it off to the world. I hope our tales inspire new generations to see these stories as the living, (fire)breathing tales they were always meant to be.




David Lee Summers is the author of ten novels and numerous short stories and poems. His novels include Owl Dance, a wild west steampunk adventure which tells the story of a microscopic alien swarm manipulating events in 1877 New Mexico, and The Solar Sea which imagines the first voyage to the outer planets aboard a solar sail spacecraft. His short stories and poems have appeared in such magazines and anthologies as Realms of Fantasy, Cemetery Dance, and Human Tales. In addition to writing, David edited the quarterly science fiction and fantasy magazine Tales of the Talisman for ten years and has edited three science fiction anthologies: A Kepler’s Dozen, Space Pirates and Space Horrors. When not working with the written word, David operates telescopes at Kitt Peak National Observatory. Learn more about David at davidleesummers.com.


Links to Gaslight & Grimm

Blog – https://especbooks.wordpress.com/
Website – http://www.especbooks.com/Projects/GaslightAndGrimm.htm
Kickstarter – https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/e-specbooks/gaslight-and-grimm-steampunk-faerie-tales
Kindle – http://www.amazon.com/Gaslight-Grimm-Steampunk-Faerie-Tales-ebook/dp/B01E6C03OA/
Print – http://www.amazon.com/Gaslight-Grimm-Steampunk-Faerie-Tales/dp/1942990316/
NOOK – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/gaslight-grimm-jody-lynn-nye/1123660280?ean=9781942990321
GoodReads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28522644-gaslight-and-grimm
GoodReads Giveaway – https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/183549-gaslight-and-grimm


After reading David’s post I had to go find my copy of Grimm’s Complete Fairy Tales. Can you believe it doesn’t have a publication page in it? There must have been a book jacket lost along the way…The tale David adapted is #200 in my book and I can’t wait to read it along side David’s when Gaslight & Grimm  goes live May 29th!!


**The book was for all three of us but I kept it for myself. Please don’t tell my brothers 😉



11 thoughts on “Tinkering with Steampowered Dragons

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