Help Wanted, Steampunk Style
Once in a while I step back from a character I’ve created and wonder how they’d fare in the real world. The heroine of A Study in Silks is a case in point. Evelina is a capable young woman but she spends a great deal of her time prodding dead bodies and chasing monsters of both a magical and mundane nature. One side of her family is circus performers and the other is Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes. It’s all very exciting, but hardly a practical lifestyle.
And while Evelina can spend all three books of The Baskerville Affair trilogy larking about with sorcerers, steam barons, lost princes and dragons, does she have what it would take to endure a desk job? What job could she hope to get if plucked out of her Victorian, steampunk universe?
Name: Miss Evelina Cooper
Address: Hilliard House, London
- Wollaston Academy for Young Ladies, recent graduate. Areas of special accomplishment include chemistry, botany, and returning zombies to the grave.
- Spent several years learning clockwork repair and maintenance as an informal apprentice for grandfather’s business.
Previous work experience:
- Ploughman’s Paramount Circus: tightrope, trapeze, tumbling.
- Assistant to Mr. Sherlock Holmes, consulting detective.
Additional skills and accomplishments:
- General magic with particular talents in communication with and manipulation of nature spirits.
- Successfully achieved fusion of magic and mechanics.
- Skilled in the waltz, quadrille, Schottische, and other ballroom dances.
The formal work experience is a bit thin, but there might be something out there for our girl. Sure, she has experience working with a master of detection, but as she rapidly discovers during her first murder investigation, the whole crime-fighting gig isn’t as neat and tidy as Dr. Watson makes it sound in his stories. Still, there’s always private security.
If that doesn’t work out, I suppose someone versed in combining magic and machinery would make an amazing barista, and I’ve always thought a touch of wizardry was essential for working with computers. Perhaps laying zombies to rest might come in handy for human resources?
Of course, I didn’t create my characters for the here and now, but for a larger than life universe filled with unimaginable wonder and steampunky goodness. Maybe it’s just safer to leave the door between fact and fiction closed. I wouldn’t want to find out one of my characters just became my day job supervisor. After all I put them through during the trilogy, I shudder to think what they might put on my performance appraisal.
(originally published at Smart Girls Love SciFi)