Steampunk is such an imaginative world. I love seeing an induvidual's new ideas, clothing, gadets, etc come to life. But being a bookworm makes me love steampunk literature the most. The Falcon Lord series by D.A. Metrov is quite the page turner. It brings you into a fantasy, steampunk world like I've never experienced. He takes the liberty to create a unique hybrid of genres that gave me an experience like no other. While the world he'a created takes patience to understand, it is not so extravagant that it frustrates the reader. It is just enough ingenuity to intrigue the reader and let you escape. As a fan of fantasy novels and epics, I love the adventure of a new world but The Lost Isle really took me for a new ride as the steam powered machines brought elements of modernity and themes of industrialization. The story follows the lone sixteen year old, second assistant game warden, Brighton Aviamore who trains the giant falcons to serve and protect his country. And while it is a traditional hero's journey, the plot takes several turns I was not expecting, creating suspense and magnificent character development. The novel delves into modern themes of wars over fuel, protection of the environment, as well as traditional themes of a broken family and adolescence. Metov creates lovable characters in daring situations, tugging at your heartstrings and overall hoping for good to overcome evil.I absolutely loved the blend of traditional and modern themes, characters, and settings so I was able to be lost in the steampunk world while also analyzing my own world. It's a must read!
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All things Steampunk!
Steampunks tend to put their own twist on holidays, and Valentine's Day should be no different. After all, the Victorian period is known for romanticism and the culture of courting and love. So for those looking to add a touch of the classic to a modern holiday, you really don't need to look all that far to find it.
One way to add that touch of the anachronistic is to look for something that's more traditional. For instance, a carriage ride through the park or around town might be something special. Particularly if the two of you take it in costume. While February is a bit chilly for a walk in the park, if there's an indoor conservatory or a particularly nice greenhouse, then that might be another event to add to your roster. Especially if you want a touch of the hot-house in your Valentine's Day. Even a tour of the museum, particularly if you have a museum that focuses on science and industry or art, might be something notably high brow for a good day time activity.
For those who want a little more adventure in their Steampunk Valentine's, it's up to you to create a mystery. For instance, if you have access to a GPS that supports it, you might want to try a game of geo-caching. It's like a treasure hunt, but your significant other gets the coordinates and has to follow them up. It could lead to a buried treasure in the park, a rendezvous in a downtown club, or something else entirely. For those who prefer a less high tech solution, and something a bit more period, an old fashioned series of clues written on scrolls might be just the thing. Whether it leads around the house or around town though completely depends on how many people you want to get involved in the game.
Alternatively, for those that want a quiet Valentine's Day, gift giving can showcase creativity and thoughtfulness. For instance, an old-fashioned card with calligraphy on a gift-wrapped box containing a traditional Valentine's gift might be just the thing to spice up the day. It doesn't have to be expensive, but often the creation of a period-looking piece with a science fiction twist will take a lot of work and planning. For that reason it's a good idea to have a sewing room or a study that you can work in without your Valentine finding out what you're making for him or her until you're ready to unveil it.
Whatever you choose to do for the big day though, make sure that you do it in a way that's meaningful for you. Perhaps it's preparing a full English breakfast and spending the day in bed, or maybe you're going to go to a convention. However, no matter how grand or subtle the gesture, Valentine's Day is all about doing something for that special person in your life; shouldn't you share your love of steamy things too?
With the surge in success of books like “50 Shades of Grey,” there has been an up-swell in the amount of erotica available on the market. Even the Steampunk genre has seen entrants into the field like “Steam Lust,” an anthology of erotica that did its level best to include as much brass and leather as it could in between its sex scenes. However, so many of the entrants into erotica, and specifically into Steampunk erotica, are so focused on putting the sex scenes in the center ring that they forget that sex, like any other element, is there to progress and support the story. That is, in short, why I wrote “The Unusual Transformation of Abraham Carver.”
This ebook, which takes the form of a short story trilogy, is my contribution to the extra-steamy side of the Steampunk genre. Iris Carver's husband Abraham is slowly dying of a rare bone marrow disease, and he has only one hope to survive; a transplant through an experimental procedure from his older brother. Joseph Carver, who has been sentenced to hang by the neck until dead, signs the papers after Iris “persuades” him, and the procedure is a success. However, Abraham is not the man he used to be. His habits are changing, and there's something shadowy living behind his eyes, glimpsing out at the world. Will Iris discover how much of her husband is left, before it's too late?
What I wanted to do with this story was to make it different from other erotica, and even other Steampunk, on the market. It's a dark tale, verging on horror, that focuses on the personal journey that Iris and her husband take regarding the unexpected side effects of the procedure. The elements of science are also subtle, with smaller advances except for the MacGuffin of the medical drama. Also, while this story is most definitely an erotica tale (no sense calling a spade anything but what it is), it uses the sex scenes to provide insight to what's happening inside the characters involved. The sex is there to enhance the plot, and to increase tension, rather than just to titillate the reader. With some erotica you could cut out the smut and have a complete story left behind. With “Abraham Carver” though, doing that would eliminate swaths of the plot and leave you with a nonsensical story.
For readers that would like to see erotica and Steampunk where the sex is more than just pornography, and where the cogs are fully moving and functional, then “The Unusual Transformation of Abraham Carver” is what you've been looking for. A love letter to both “Beauty and the Beast” as well as “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” it incorporates elements of the genre while still standing alone in its own, shadowy little section of the library.
“The Unusual Transformation of Abraham Carver” is currently available Pink Petal Books http://pinkpetalbooks.com/The-Unusual-Tranformation-of-Abraham-Carver-by-Neal-F.-Litherland-Jupiter-Gardens-Flare-Undina-Press.html, but it will soon be available on the Kindle and Nook as well....
Just before the supposed Mayan Armageddon, Pink Petal Books released “End of Days,” a collection of post-apocalyptic romance stories. The first of these three stories is “Heart of the Myrmidon,” a retro-futuristic tale by Neal F. Litherland, and his second publication through this particular company.
Back to the first person. When I saw that there was an open call for submissions that were “post-apocalyptic romance with a happy ending,” I decided to pick up that gauntlet and craft a whole new world. Into that strange punch bowl I mixed in the trope of the space marine, a dash of Greek myth, an alien invasion, a statement on battle fatigue in veterans and a blasted world that had to go back in order to go forward. What came out was Pollux, a survivor of the Battle of Armageddon.
Pollux, as the title of the story implies, is a Myrmidon. Genetically altered humans, Myrmidons are giants that gained half their DNA from the alien invaders, the energy-based Hyperion. Huge in stature, Myrmidons were trained by mankind's greatest warriors from birth to fight and die when the alien armada came. And for 20 years these lab grown titans did just that, fully expecting to lay down their lives for men and women they would never meet when the invaders came. But while many of them died, a startling number survived. That was 8 years ago. Now the world's surface has been destroyed, the planet altered, heat and dangerous rains falling on the remnants of the old cities. Below, mankind survives and tries to fix the damage it did while falling back into many of its old habits. But Pollux, like many of the other Myrmidon, wanders the above and below grounds and wonders what to do now. Weapons without a war, their service done, they search for a purpose in a world that doesn't need them.
Though limited in scope (I'd like to revisit this world and write a novel if there's demand for that kind of project) the world that Pollux lives in has regressed in order to survive. Because the Hyperion were energy based the most effective weapons were WWII-era style cannons and shrapnel, with speed shooters and hot lead some of the best weapons of war. The whole world, in fact, feels like a twisted Wonderland, where technology advanced but the world is still operating like some strange combination of 1940s war time and 1920s Prohibition. The archetype of the big bruiser with a few medals for valor in a drawer who's looking for a cause or a case fits very naturally, despite the post-apocalyptic setting.
At its core, “Heart of the Myrmidon” was an attempt to inject humanity back into the archetype of the super-soldier. I felt that too often that lack of mercy or humanity is glorified, and I wanted to see what would happen if all that emotion was put back into the monster. How would someone with real desires, real emotions and real feelings react to the perception of what he is, and to the things he's has to do? How much strain can he take, and where is his breaking point? Those are all questions that I think this story asks, and that I feel apply not just to this story, but to nearly all stories.
Generally speaking, collections of short stories are going to be very hit or miss as a reading endeavor. All it takes is one really poor inclusion to leave a bad taste in the reader's mouth, and half a dozen other authors may not get their tales looked at as a result. When it comes to “Steampunk II: Steampunk Revolution” that certainly seems to be the case.
The collection starts off on a high note with the introduction. It explains, roughly, that the tales in this particular collection are geared towards inventions and discoveries that can enact widespread change. Maybe it's the amalgamation of flesh and steel, or the discovery of alien artifacts that have taken technology in never-before-dreamed directions. No matter the macguffin, these stories are meant to show the reader big, sweeping changes that could affect not just a city, but the entire world.
In a truly technical sense, the stories included follow through on the letter of the introduction. However, the spirit of adventure and of new discoveries feels, at times, like reading a history textbook that isn't terribly interesting. The bar's already set fairly high with the inclusion of big names like Cherie Priest and Carrie Vaughn, and then once the reader gets jazzed up on the introduction, what you're expecting is a slam dunk. Gears should be turning, bullets should be flying and monsters of science should be around every corner. But just as the book tries to whisk away the sheet and show you the miracle of the modern age, the wheels come off and it collapses into a scrap heap.
There is nothing, in a technical sense, wrong with the tales in this book. As with anything, there will be an audience that can read and enjoy them. However, there is little to no spirit in most of the stories. Passive tenses run rampant, sucking the life out of what could be exciting tales, and lazy writing leads to the creation of caricatures not unlike the depiction of ethnic minorities by Robert E. Howard at the peak of his fame. There is very little action, and very little in the way of truly new or interesting steampunk devices that haven't been done in a different way before. One or the other might pass, but both of these sins together make the book nearly unreadable for people looking for something really revolutionary.
In short, “Steampunk III” commits all the errors you can in style, while still presenting stories where the grammar makes sense and the plot math works out. There are heroes and heroines, bizarre oddities and daring attempts at innovation. However, everything moves in sepia tones and is being recited by a narrator from the past century. Were it possible to breathe a little life into it, and to cut away from the mummified and stilted tropes, it would have been a much more satisfying read.
Greetings! *tips tricorne hat in your direction*
I've been forever interested in transmedia storytelling. Where a bunch of artists get together and tell an immersive story. And now there are two transmedia steampunk books coming out: Steampunk Holmes and Steam Patriots! They're produced by Noble Beast Publishing, and they look like they're of utmost quality.
Steampunk Holmes' book is already out, and it's an incredible read. And now Steam Patriots has started a Kickstarter campaign! I'm really looking forward to it.
Steam Patriots is a re-imagining of the Revolutionary War, in the world of Steampunk. Think Benjamin Franklin with a lightning gun and the Redcoats coming in airships!...
Steampunk, by and large, carries a feeling of nostalgia for technology and trends that have gone by along with the Victorian era. However, just as with fashion, that which is old becomes new again in technology as well. For instance, if you were to look very carefully into many of the “revolutionary” alternative energy sources that are being examined today, you'd see that they were by and large discovered in the 1800s. Whether it's solar power, wind harvesting or even hydrogen fuel cells, they've all been seen and used before. And while many people think of steam technology as dead, it is in fact very much alive and active in today's modern world. And there is a chance it might become even more active as ideas are refined and developed.
In today's technological world, the phrase of the day is supercritical. It sounds period and dramatic, and it is an extremely powerful force. When most people think of steam they think of the white cloud that comes out of a kettle; that's actually water vapor. Steam is gaseous water, and it contains potential work, but if you can see it then all the work has gone right out of it. When you get the right balance of the proper components, especially pressure, you can create supercritical steam. This type of steam is almost a liquid again, but it contains all the heat and work potential of heavily pressurized steam. That sounds like a Steampunk macguffin if ever there was one.
Supercritical steam is used mostly for creating electricity. In fact, 80% of American electricity is created with steam technology. The difficulty of course is that in order to create the supercritical steam in the first place you need a lot of heat; nuclear level heat. And in fact nuclear power plants use the heat of split atoms to generate this highly efficient kind of steam power. However, giant solar mirrors that focus intense solar heat into water also have a similar effect. Geothermal power too can also reach these levels of intensity and thus make this useful, workaholic substance. You run it through an electric turbine, the energy is transferred and is converted into electricity....
While there is a great deal of fantasy and whimsy in Steampunk fashion, the style and feel comes very solidly from the 19th century. That being the case, much of the really period influences call for multiple layers of clothing. For men that can men shirts, vests, jackets and coats, and for women it can mean a bevy of slips, skirts, blouses, corsets, jackets and overcoats. While that can be frustrating during summer time conventions, with Fall and Winter coming it's prime time for those warm, layered looks.
For your main protection from the elements, long winter coats are your best bet for cold weather Steampunk styles. For a military look traditional trench coats, with shoulder epaulets, is your best bet. Gabardine or faux leather work well for rain coats, and belted coats provide a more period look that also sculpts your shape. Alternatively though, greatcoats, capes, stoles and shrugs along with dusters and riding coats are also attractive, period pieces that are more than functional. They can be left intact, or slight modification like clock gear buttons, patches and ranks on an airship, or other things can all be added to grant the garment an air of something from the world next door.
Hats are also a major feature of Steampunk that was inspired by the historical requirements of fashion. Everyone wore hats during the Victorian era, and afterward until nearly the 1960s (at least in America). So whether you choose to wear a top hat (stove pipe or shorter), a newsboy cap, a riding hat or something else entirely you have a wide variety of headgear to choose from. And if you want to accessorize your hat then all you have to do is decide your Steampunk persona. Are you a daring pilot that needs her glasses on her cap? A gunslinger with a bullet band over his right ear? Perhaps a spy who keeps a veil drawn over the left side of her hat brim, tilted to the side to tantalize anyone that looks at her. It's all a matter of taking a period piece and customizing it for your needs.
The last major article you should turn your attention to is your footwear. While high heels and lustrous leather are fashionable, they aren't always practical in the great outdoors. However, it is always important to keep to your theme whenever you can. Spats, for instance, provide a very easy way to cover modern boots and give them a period appearance. They can also hide zippers, which can be the bane of people trying for a truly period look. If you wear boots then blousing your pants into them is an option, particularly if you want to draw attention to your footwear. There's no sense in spending a lot of money on a pair of tanker boots for no one to ever admire them, after all.
Beyond these major points what's left are accessories. Scarves are particularly good, and you can tie them in a number of ways to lend character. Putting a pin on your scarf, whether it's a crimson eye or the Medal for Ignoble Gallantry (sold in some of the finer Steampunk Emporiums), gives you just one more touch of the fantastical. Your gloves, whether they're dress whites, gentleman's leather or fingerless wool can all add character and keep you warm while you walk through a winter wonderland.
I've had the honor of being interviewed about my Steampunk art for the Sun Journal newspaper. I mostly make Steampunk hearts out of clay. The article was released today and I can't really describe how happy and excited I am right now! I was very nervous during the days leading up to the interview. I also had a really terrible head cold that zapped all my energy making all the cleaning I had to do more difficult than usual. (I was interviewed in my studio and it was a bit messier than I would have liked) I was also really excited of course.
I’m just starting out and this is a really great opportunity for me. I got all dressed up in my usual fancy outfit and wore one of the hats that I made. I set out a small display of what I felt were some of my best pieces and arranged my typewriters. When the man from the Sun Journal arrived to interview me he was very nice and quite easy to talk to. Most of my fears dispersed, but I still had trouble explaining myself at times. Trying to describe how and why I make hearts is always a little challenging to explain. The photographer was also friendly. She took quite a few pictures of me in front of my display holding Ira my leopard gecko.
The advice I would give to any other artists with an interview before them is mostly to just stay calm and not get tongue tied. Try to plan out some of what you want to say before hand and have examples handy.
Here is a link to the article: http://www.sunjournal.com/news/lewiston-auburn/2012/09/30/makers-lewiston-artists-heart-pins-break-mold/1254529
Alice in Wonderland is one of the most well known of Victorian stories, particularly given how the whimsical can become horrific with a simple matter of tone or the turn of a page. It is the very familiarity of the Wonderland cast, and how truly bizarre they can be made (or have been made) that makes them perfect targets for Steampunk Halloween costumes. But the question remains; who is most appropriate for your persona? And how will you add the necessary sci-fi to your fantasy portrayal?
Perhaps the most popular character for players is the Mad Hatter. Containing everything that is Wonderland in a single personage, the Hatter is both successful and proper, while at the same time completely off his rocker. The hat would obviously be the most important mark of the character, and it could (and should) be made as complicated and complex as possible. Instead of just one card in the band, why not half a dozen, some of which are upside down or which have marks that make no sense? Also, why not put a vest on the hat? Or, for costumers that love the ridiculous, a hat on the hat? It's also a good idea to keep the tools of the hatmaker's trade on your person, such as a measuring tape, magnifying loupe (a monocle would do in a pinch) pencil, pins, etc. And if you really want to be in persona, measure people for hats, and tell them to bring money that doesn't exist to pick it up on days that have already gone by.
Maybe you prefer someone a little more sane for your costume? Alice is always a popular choice, especially if you can find the Disney version's blue dress and apron. However, if you want to spice it up, try playing Alice with an adventuring look. Wonderland is a dangerous place, and you get tough or go mad. Perhaps Alice has traded in the dress for a blue corset and dungarees, and the sensible shoes for a pair of tanker boots? Add in a map case and a spy glass (perhaps draw out a map that keeps changing, or which has directions no one's ever heard of?) and she's the same lost girl trying to find her way back home.
The same basic theory works with nearly any of the Wonderland cast. For instance, if you're the Queen of Hearts then you want to focus on the color scheme and the correctness of the time period. A black and red corset, the proper skirt and shoes make for a good start, but why not add in some opera glasses or goggles? Perhaps a perched and intricate cap instead of the usual crown? Perhaps you're playing the White Rabbit... why not find the most intricate looking time piece that you can? Or carry multiple pocket watches on their own chains and set to different times? A pilot or cyclist's goggles would also be a great idea, since he does tend to move at a fast clip wherever he goes. Or, perhaps you're lucky enough to have a partner and you could get a Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum then maybe you might want to go for the bully boy look? Striped shirt rolled to the elbows, identical tattoos underneath. Walking sticks and bowler hats, some snappy suspenders and heavy, workman's boots?
There are endless little touches that you can do, and practically endless characters that you could play. Whether you want to turn a playing card guard into a British regular (putting his suit on the unit patch and his number where his rank goes, mayhap?) or you want to put together your own, sleek Cheshire Cat as a man about town (all done up in purple, tufted ears sticking up out of a dashing hat) then the options are all available to you. All you need is the inspiration, and the proper accouterments to bring off just the right effect....