1889: Journey To The Moon (The Far Journey Chronicles)

BOOK: 1889: Journey To The Moon (The Far Journey Chronicles)
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Kring and Wier vault to the head of the burgeoning steampunk genre with this hyper-extrapolated, richly detailed saga. Every nut and bolt is tightened in place, and the cast of characters is a rogue’s gallery of 19
Century mad scientists, outlaws and adventurers. I haven’t had this much fun going to the Moon since H.G. Wells sent Bedford and Cavor into the sky.

—KW Jeter, author of
Infernal Devices
Fiendish Schemes


Reads in the best way like a lost Jules Verne and H.G. Wells collaboration. Sense of wonder and the magic of great storytelling drive this fast-paced, steam-driven tale to a stunning conclusion with some adventurous stops along the way.

—Joe R. Lansdale, author of
Cold In July
The Bottoms


1889: Journey to the Moon
is a rip-roaring steampunk thrill-ride with a wonderful cast of characters. Bring on the sequel!

—Bill Crider, author of the
Sheriff Dan Rhodes Mysteries


Kring and George Wier elevate the steampunk genre to its pinnacle in 1889: Journey to the Moon. More than Verne, more than Wells, these two have created a thrill-a-minute adventure with a menagerie of unlikely characters, such as Billy the Kid, Nikola Tesla, George Custer and so many others. And what's truly amazing, the science is plausible! This book will astound and entertain. Add in the special bonus of authentic language, dress and mannerisms, and you have the makings for a classic SF/steampunk novel that will go down in history—or rewrite it!

—T.R. Harris, author of
The Fringe Worlds





1889: Journey to the Moon


A Steampunk Novel






Copyright © 2014 by Billy Kring and George Wier

Published by

Flagstone Books

Austin, Texas


1889: Journey to the Moon

(The Far Journey Chronicles, Part 1)


First Ebook Edition

August 2014


ISBN-13: 978-1500689018

ISBN-10: 1500689017

BISAC: Fiction / Science Fiction / Steampunk


Cover images courtesy of Dreamtime.com

Cover design by Elizabeth Mackey


All Rights Reserved.


This is a work of fiction. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means without the prior permission of the Publisher, excepting brief quotes written in connection with reviews written specifically for a magazine or newspaper.



Books by Billy Kring


The Hunter Kincaid Mysteries:


Outlaw Road


The Ronny Baca Mysteries:


L.A. Woman


Romantic Suspense:

Where Evil Cannot Enter


Books by George Wier


The Bill Travis Mysteries:

The Last Call

Capitol Offense

Longnecks & Twisted Hearts

The Devil To Pay

Death On the Pedernales

Slow Falling

Caddo Cold


After the Fire


With Milton T. Burton:

Long Fall From Heaven


With Robert A. Taylor

The Vindicators—Book One: Last Defense





1889: Journey to the Moon



The Far Journey Chronicles - Part 1








For the wives, Elizabeth Bradley Kring and Sallie Wier, this volume is humbly dedicated.



Dramatis Personae



The Crew and Passengers of the


Judah Merkam,
— Electrical engineer and inventor.

Jack Ross
— Steam engineer and inventor.

Abigail (Stoff) Ross
— Former fiancé of Judah Merkam and wife of Jack Ross.

Billy Gostman aka William “Billy” Bonney (McCarty)
aka “Billy the Kid” —

Nikola Tesla
— Famed electrical wizard and inventor.

John Koothrappally
— Mathematician and linguist.

Jonathan Conklin aka “Jack the Ripper”
— Surgeon aboard the

Denys Jay-Patten
— Big game hunter, explorer and swordsman.

Ekka Gagarin
— Chief Officer of the Arcadia. Caucasus native, war veteran (Russian invasion).

Two Hats
— Sioux warrior seeking vengeance against General Custer.

Edward Teach IV aka “Blackbeard”
— sky pirate.


Other Characters


General George Armstrong Custer, USA
— Army General tasked with capturing the

Pat Garrett
– Sheriff of Lincoln County, New Mexico.

Will Quinlan
– Ensign, sky pirate.

Percy LeJeune
– Sky pirate, second in command to Edward Teach.

– Circuit rider Judge, Colorado.

Qui Dak Nan
– Chinese immigrant, chef and karate instructor of Two Hats.








Letter from Judah Merkam to Abigail Stoff:



June 15, 1871


Miss Abigail Stoff

17 Magnolia Ave.

Woodbridge, Virginia


My Dearest Abby,


It is with a great deal of excitement, and dare I say, trepidation, that I begin my electrical experiments. As you know, I have corresponded with Drs. Faraday and Maxwell, and each are in agreement, if not upon my basic principles, then that I am at least well-founded scientifically in my hypothesis with regard to the nature of the electrical aura and its potential use.

I know that you should like to hear platitudes, sweet nothings upon your delicate lobes, and were I there at your side I would so engage myself, for there is nothing fairer than you. But my work calls me and I thought I might draft a quick correspondence to you.

My only real problem is one of kinetic energy. No, not personally--not my own bodily energy. I refer to “machine” energy. For I badly need a machine that should produce tremendous quantities of force, for it is force I require. Currently (I make a pun, dear) the state of technology in this world is that of steam. Steam runs trains. It runs ships and factories. Steam powers the world. But steam is crude and it is, at the same instant, dangerous and unforgiving. I should not like to be nearby when the engineer neglects the dial on the boiler!

I must close. I will write you as soon as is practicable. Please convey my well wishes to your Father and your Dame. I miss them, their conversation, and our evenings together in the Drawing Room.

I am afraid when next we meet I shall ask for your hand.


With sincere fondness,





Article in the Picayune Press

January 3, 1879






Dr. Judah Merkam, who stunned the world with his announcement of an engineering and scientific break-through, is not accepting interviews these days. Three nights ago his “Magnificent Engine” was tested before a carnival crowd in Brookhurst, Illinois. The resulting fire and injury to his workingman, Jack Ross, shocked the crowd of several hundred gawkers first into silence, and then into a stampede to clear the area should the dreadnaught explode with pyrotechnic spectacularity.

As the reader is aware, Merkam has attempted to convert the powerful force of steam into a type of electrical energy with which to empower flight. Merkam's “Magnificent Engine”, however, apparently arced a bolt of purest lightning into the side of the boiler.

The esteemed Dr. James Clerk Maxwell, upon hearing the news, telegraphed his comment along the wire this morning: “Electricity is not a fairground toy. In an earlier time it would have been considered an element of Zeus's justice. Today, it is within the purview of the serious laboratory scientist only, and buffoons must be debarred from playing with it, if not for their own safety, then for the safety of those more innocent, if not more nosey.”

Merkam has retreated to Colorado, where, it is reported, he hopes to continue his “research” in seclusion.




Letter to Jack Ross from Judah Merkam:



August 17, 1887



Jack Ross

1112 State Street

New York


My Friend Jack,


I have every hope that you have fully recovered from your injuries of eight years ago. As you know, I have ever felt responsible for the accident. I hope this missive finds you well.

The truth is, I am writing to you for reasons selfish in the extreme. I need an engineer. I need “Steam” Ross. If you could come to Colorado Springs, I should be most grateful.

I have found a way to channel the electrical aura--the “flow”, as you used to call it--but I may not tell you the secret in a letter, lest it fall into the hands of the unscrupulous.

As I told you all those years ago, my designs will allow man to break free of the iron-grip bonds of this planet and catapult us into the ether. And now, that other orb awaits.

That's right, friend Jack. We are going to The Moon. The Planet Luna.

Don't think me daft, for I have the answer.

Come and see, I beg you.


Your estimable colleague,




Judah Merkam


Letter from Denys Jay-Patten to Judah Merkam:



January 4, 1888



Denys Jay-Patten

Swali Kraal

Mbale, Uganda


Greetings Jude,


In hopes of finding you hale, I wished to express my excitement and convey the amazing results of our consult of last year. The 6.5 JPM (I so christened it, using the first letters of our last names) is extraordinary in all aspects. I designed the rifle to be lighter than any of its contemporary cousins. When fired, there is no recoil, smoke or report, other than a sharp hiss of steam, which is momentary in nature. The 6.5 bullet needs no gunpowder, so more rounds may be carried.  Also, because of mineral amendments I added to the base of the projectiles, they leave a glowing trail of light from barrel to target. A Bright green trail emanates from the standard 6.5 bullet, and bright red from my new, exploding 6.5 bullet. Both are quite visual, I must say.  

Your suggestion of placing the miniature electrical flow engine within the gunstock allowed convenience and protection for the mechanism itself. It was a simple matter to align the necessary components to the water chamber situated in front of the trigger mechanism.

I must tell you, the results far exceeded my hopes. In one instance, and to make sure my claim was not seen to be exaggerated boasting, I tested the weapon on an impala, the witnesses being two Swahili chiefs and my dear friend, the Right Honorable Cecil Rhodes. The three men, without assistance from my person, measured, verified, and signed an attestation to the findings, which were thus: I fired a single round and hit the impala in the heart, killing it instantly. In deference to your country’s measuring system, they measured the kill shot to be a distance of nine hundred seventy three yards, eight inches. My new explosive bullet is perhaps even more impressive. A single shot into the chest of a charging cape buffalo left only the head, and completely decimated the rest of the brute to atoms. 

I have used the 6.5 JPM with so much success in recent months that the Ugandan Premiere proclaimed me the greatest elephant hunter in Africa. The remitted check to you is your share of ivory sales. I realize it is a considerable sum, but I could do no less.


With affection and friendship,




P.S. I am intrigued by your mention of this new adventure. I wait to hear more!

Article from the Wardencliff Journal, May 9, 1888







BOOK: 1889: Journey To The Moon (The Far Journey Chronicles)
6.84Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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