Posted in Airpirates, Airships, Da Vinci, Fictional Inventions, Jules Verne, Victorian Technology, tagged Airpirates, airship pilots, Da Vinci, hoverboards, Jules Verne, steam-powered, suzanne lazear, Victorian Technology, Western Steampunk on May 18, 2009 |
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One thing I am fascinated by are flying machines and how they so easily—and quintessentially—fit into the steampunk genre. After all, what’s steampunk without airships?
Jules Verne enchanted us all with balloon travel in “Around the World in Eighty Days” and “Five weeks in a Balloon.” Who wouldn’t want to travel in a helium filled balloon? But aircraft get even bigger—even today, such as blimps and dirigibles, which are used for tourism, camera platforms, advertising, surveillance, and research. It’s not that far off to think of them on an
even grander scale, such as passenger ships as elegant as the Victorian steamers, transporting people from one place to another with speed, elegance, and spectacular views.
They could be grand and elegant passenger ships of gleaming wood and polished brass, or could be patched and clunky cargo haulers, or these vessels could be filled with the most fearsome people to haunt steampunk skies—air pirates!
But ships aren’t the only things that can fly. I’m also fascinated with the idea of personal aircraft—such as the idea of “detachable wings” – small powered gliders with wings reminiscent of a Da Vinci sketch. One could almost imagine a ruffian in his leather aviation cap and brass goggles soaring through the sky on such a contraption.
Hoverboards also enthrall me. A steampunk teen could easily be dodging the police on some sort of brass and wood flying skate/surfboard powered by rockets, the sun, or who knows…
Finally, we can’t forget the flying car—whether it simply floats or has giant purple bat wings. This is yet another fabulous, flying machine that could find a home in a steampunk world.
Don’t even get me started on floating cities.
What’s your favorite flying machine—fictional or fact? Do you wish you could fly out the window on a red dirt devil? Soar the skies in a giant airship? A poster will be chosen at random on Friday to receive a bag of “productivity pixy dust” to inspire you and a small sparkly tiara.
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Or, as its billing more accurately put it, the “Girl Genius Victorian Mad Science Ball,” held on April 4 in San Mateo, CA. Put on by the Period Events & Entertainments Re-creation Society, the ball was set in the world of the Girl Genius graphic novels, which meant the very imposing Baron Wulfenbach (and his massive raygun) acted as host. And I mean imposing. The gentleman had to have been 6’4″ in jackboots, and if he had asked me to dance, I would not have been able due to the knocking of my knees!
My companions and I, despite having just disembarked from the airship from Paris, which meant we were still in traveling clothes, were welcomed with open arms. After a dance lesson (the rotary waltz is much more difficult than the Viennese, I discovered), the ball began. And the costumes! From airship pilots in skin-tight jodhpurs to mad scientists in lab coats to ladies in every state of dress (and undress) you could imagine, it was a spectacle.
My favorite dance was “Lancers,” where the ladies face the gentlemen in a long set, and one figure involves drawing swords and charging across the floor. My 18-year-old partner particularly enjoyed this–understandable in a young man to whom the waltz was a new and unnerving experience.
We danced for a couple of hours and then retired. Next year I am determined to have an 1880′s walking costume for the occasion–or else a new ballgown!
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