Stxeamtown is a futuristic novel set in a post-apocalyptic land in a society closely resembling that of its Yesterworld. As the citizens in its four major colonies try to recreate the Glory Days while ignoring their setbacks, they find themselves repeating the same mistakes of their past. The social and political animosity between the colonies creates both distrust and isolation. The clannishness reinforces prejudices that keep the people from finding unity and brotherhood. It is the love between a young couple from different sides of the Stream that eventually brings their people together in this classic steampunk fantasy.
Trip is the vice-president of a Team living in the Aboveground, a community of rooftop dwellers residing atop the factories of Steamtown South. He begins a romance with Lyrica, the sister of a Team Lead living in the Aboveground of North Steamtown across the Stream. After communicating in Morse for weeks on end, Trip takes the perilous trip across the Conveyor Line into North Steamtown where the couple is united at last. Trip’s presence is eventually discovered by members of Lyrica’s Team, and they are forced to flee together on the Conveyor back to the South Side. Once again they are detected, and the members of Trip’s set (*quartet) come to the couple’s rescue before they are ‘crossed out’ and banished to the Low Ground. The five adolescents escape to the streets of the South Side where none of them had set foot since they were small children. Together they assimilate into the industrial society where a new chapter in their lives begins.
Trip and his friends travel east to Border Town, also known as Bartertown, which sits on an island that connects both sides of the Stream. They make connections with the Traders, a Team that is looked down upon by Northerners and Southerners as ones who ‘take but do not make’. Trip and his friends begin to understand how those of the Aboveground go undetected, as the great chimneys of the cities cover the skies with an eternal cloud of steam. Yet their revelations are dismissed by the Traders as urban myths. They eventually convince the Traders to allow them to negotiate a deal with Allo Provera, one of the biggest textile industrialists in the Southland.
Trip impresses the wealthy Provera with his wisdom and understanding, and Allo begins teaching him the secrets of their society as well as the deeper mysteries of its politics. Trip is eventually hired as an Emissary of the Southland and is sent to the North Side to improve their business relationships. He brings his friends with him as his diplomatic entourage, but their past is uncovered and the secrets of the Aboveground brought to light. The Enforcers stage a full-scale invasion of the Aboveground, and only Provera’s intervention helps to avoid disaster for Trip and Lyrica’s ex-friends.
Set in a futuristic industrial world filled with mechanical wonders and moral contradiction, Stxeamtown is a satirical look at the modern world and its continuing struggle to maintain a balance between its achievements and its social standards. For young adults and speculative fiction buffs, Stxeamtown is a steampunk classic not to be forgotten.