Reading Jack Shear's post on Krevborna's influence got me thinking about what influences when I write for Scarabae. This might be a more unique situation as compared to Krevborna as the setting has had multiple writers conjure the city of islands together. So, this is my personal mix of what inspires Scarabae when I sit down to write about it. I don't have anything in particular order.
I would say that Spelljammer is the biggest influence in my interpretation of Scarabae. A host of various races outside the norm Human, Dwarf, Elf, Halfling schema that sort of, kind of get along. Also, just make the space-going vessels air ships, underwater craft, or sailing ships and you can still use the same crazy designs. Adding a little more hardboiled and pulp? I'd go with Eberron and it's inclusion of Magi-tech (Runetech? Arcanotech)- it also has air ship designs that would work in Scarabae. Finally, for a touch of horror, I'd say Ravenloft with an emphasis on zones that had early gunpowder. Actually, any of the realms in Ravenloft could be imported and used as various islands, continents, and countries that surround the Five Isles of Scarabae. For Video role-playing games, I'd go with The Elder Scrolls series which managed to make characters out of not just Humans, but also creatures such as Argonians, Khajiit, and Orcs.
When writing stories of crime, gangsters, and murder. I tend to look for my love and appreciate for writers such as Raymond Chandler or Dashiell of Phillip Marlowe and Sam Spade fame. Dealing with a seedy and rather corrupt series of islands, novels such as Farewell, My Lovely and Red Harvest make excellent breeding ground for ideas (probably the latter, the former makes for a better mood piece). But this is a fantastical world, of course. I'd include the works of Solomon Kane by Robert E. Howard as our heroes confront pirates, monsters. For seagoing threats I'd go with 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Verne (maybe go with the comic over the novel if you want awesome giant squid pictures). Also, if you want it just plain messed up, go with H.P. Lovecraft's material - but his is a D&D world. So of course, someone like me had to drop the H.P.L. - Finally, I'd like to include Steampunk material such as Boneshaker as inspirations for steampunk, living in squalor, and perhaps dealing with a looming threat - Boneshaker is dealing with a virulent gas leaking out of Seattle turning people into zombies.