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Archive for May, 2009

sediaby Marie-Claude Bourque 

I find it pretty daring of me to be blogging about Steampunk when I know nothing about it, nothing at all. But I am fascinated by it, those cool gadget and even cooler fashion.  A time where everything, even the most far-fetched ideas are possible.

I do have my own work-in-progress Steampunk novel, but it is still too early in the making to be discussing any of it. And I do feel I have so much research to do still.

So what better project for me than to read what’s out there in the world of Steampunk fiction and report here. I don’t plan to assign ratings to these books or anything, but maybe just discuss them, tell you what I’ve learned and what I found inspiring.

larklightSo here it is, a list of Steampunk books I’d like to check, starting with a novel I have already started and should be discussing next month. Feel free to add your suggestions. I am sure I will miss some really important ones.

The Alchemy of Stone – Ekaterina Sedia

Extraordinary Engines: The Definitive Steampunk Anthology – Nick Gevers

Steampunk by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer (anthology)

The Light Ages by Ian R. MacLeoddiamond age

The Diamond Age: Or, a Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer by Neal Stephenson

Girl Genius Vol. 1: Agatha Heterodyne & the Beetleburg Clank by Phil Foglio, Brian Snoddy, Kaja Foglio (graphic novel)

Clockwork Heart by Dru Pagliassotti

Larklight by Philip Reeve

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Vol. 1 by Alan Moore

Whitechapel Gods by S.M. Peters

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…and the winner of the “Fabulous Flying Machines” contest is….

~*Lynne Marshall*~

“Personally, I’ve always wanted to have a flying car, but I wanted to be the only one with one so I could pick up and fly around all the traffic without further competition.”

Congratulations Lynne, you’ve won a bag of productivity pixy dust and a sparkly tiara.  Please contact me at *suzanne lazear @ hotmail* (no spaces).

A little Friday bonus: 

There’s a new steampunk TV show in Australia for preschoolers.  Personally, they remind me of a cross between the “yip-yips” from Sesame Street and the Telletubbies.  But their steam-powered spaceship is pretty neat. 

 

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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?

Dupuy Lome Dirigeable

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 Airship from the Golden Compasseven 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. 
steampunk airshipThey 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 fascinated250px-Leonardo_Design_for_a_Flying_Machine%2C_c__1488 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. 

skysurfingHoverboards 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. 

Happy Dreaming!

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Steampunk blog

STEAMPUNK

The newest trend in jewellery and clay

I love reading and writing as much as the other members of this little group do. But what I am also passionate about is sculpting with polymer clay (think Fimo, Premo or Super Sculpey) and some of the things created with this clay are magical, breathtaking and downright sublime!

  There is a broad spectrum of artists that use this medium – from jewellery to fairies to home décor – but what I have noticed lately is that a certain theme seems to be the ‘in’ thing at the moment and that is Steampunk.

STEAMPUNK ANGEL BY NICOLE WEST               

 

This is the first piece that came to my attention back near the end of 2008 when this very popular polymer clay artist presented this piece on Ebay. There was much discussion and research into steampunk as many people had never heard of it – bizarre, I know, where have these people been living!

  It wasn’t long after this ‘Steampunk Angel’ was released that other work appeared, like this latest one on Ebay by Joanna Waite of Enchanted Whimsies.

 

 

  Or this one from C D Lite Studios –

 

But the biggest influence I have seen is in Jewellery. The sheer imagination some of the jewellery artists have put into their work is amazing, just take a look at these samples taken from etsy.com

 
 

My favourite Steampunk jewellery artist on there has to be Catherinette Rings just because they are so different –

 

Another favourite is Dawn Schiller of Oddfae who did a little pocket watch sculpt that was simply enchanting (excuse me if I gush!) –

 
As you can see from this rather picture heavy post Steampunk has had a big influence on the jewellery and clay artists out there so now is the best time to get some weird and wonderful accessories or a little sculpture to get your friends talking!

  To end this blog I’ve been saving the best for last. Jessica Joslin has been making these pieces of bone and metal for a long time so is not new to Steampunk and I find her work surreal, freaky, beautiful and emotive.

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jules_verne_middle_ageJules Gabriel Verne

February 8, 1828 – March 24, 1905

Jules Verne was born and raised in the port of Nantes in France. His father was a prosperous lawyer. In order to continue his father’s practice, Verne moved to Paris, where he studied law. His uncle introduced him into literary circles and he started to publish plays under the influence of such writers as Victor Hugo and Alexandre Dumas, whom Verne also knew personally. Verne’s one-act comedy The Broken Straws was performed in Paris when he was 22. In spite of busy writing, Verne managed to pass his law degree. During this period Verne suffered from digestive problems which then recurred at intervals through his life.

In 1854 Charles Baudelaire translated Edgar Allan Poe’s works into French. Verne became one of the most devoted admirers of the American author, and wrote his first science fiction tale, ‘An voyage in Balloon’, under the influence of Poe. Later Verne would write a sequel to Poe’s unfinished novel, Narrative of a Gordon Pym, entitled The Sphinz of the Ice-Fields (1897). When his career as an author progressed slowly, Verne turned back to stockbroking, an occupation which he held until his successful tale Five Weeks in a Balloon (1863) in the series VOYAGES EXTRAORDINAIRES.

 Also during this period he met Honorine de Viane Morel, a widow with two daughters. They married on January 10, 1857. With her encouragement, he continued to write and actively try to find a publisher. On August 3, 1861, their son, Michel Jules Verne, was born. A classic enfant terrible, he married an actress over Verne’s objections, had two children by his underage mistress, and buried himself in debts. The relationship between father and son improved as Michel grew older.   

In 1862 Jules Verne met Pierre Jules Hetzel, a publisher and writer for children, who started to publish Verne’s ‘Extraordinary Journeys’. This cooperation lasted until the end of Verne’s career. Hetzel had also worked with Balzac and George Sand. He read Verne’s manuscripts carefully and did not hesitate to suggest corrections. One of Verne’s early works, Paris in the Twentieth Century, was turned down by the publisher, and it did not appear until 1997 in English.   

             Jules_verne                  

 Jules Verne’s stories caught the enterprising spirit of the 19th century with its uncritical fascination with scientific progress and inventions. His works were often written in the form of a travel book, which took the readers on a voyage to the moon in From the Earth to the Moon (1865) or to another direction as in A Journey to the Center of the Earth (1864). Many of Verne’s ideas have been hailed as prophetic. Among his best-known books is the classic adventure story Around the World in Eighty Days (1873).

Hetzel read a draft of Verne’s story about the balloon exploration of Africa, which had been rejected by other publishers on the ground that it was “too scientific”. With Hetzel’s help, Verne rewrote the story and it was published in book form as Cinq semaines en ballon (Five Weeks in a Balloon). Acting on Hetzel’s advice, Verne added comical accents to his novels, changed sad endings into happy ones, and toned down various political messages. 

From that point on, and up to years after Verne’s death, Hetzel published two or more volumes a year. The most successful of these include: Voyage au centre de la terre (Journey to the Center of the Earth, 1864); De la terre à la lune (From the Earth to the Moon, 1865); Vingt Mille Lieues sous les mers (20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, 1869); and Le tour du monde en quatre-vingts jours (Around the World in Eighty Days), which first appeared in Le Temps in 1872. The series is collectively known as “Les voyages extraordinaires” (“Extraordinary voyages”). Verne could now make a living by writing. But most of his wealth came from the stage adaptations of Le tour du monde en quatre-vingts jours (1874) and Michel Strogoff (1876), which he wrote together with Adolphe d’Ennery.

cc64726ff11b8d2eIn 1867 Jules Verne bought a small ship, the Saint-Michel, which he successively replaced with the Saint-Michel II and the Saint-Michel III as his financial situation improved. On board the Saint-Michel III, he sailed around Europe.

In 1870, he was appointed as “Chevalier” (Knight) of the Légion d’honneur. Verne became wealthy and famous. He remains the most translated novelist in the world, according to UNESCO statistics.

On the BOOKS page of this blog is a list of many of Jules Verne’s 54 novels.

 

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MYSTIC TAXI IS A FINALIST!                                                     

My steampunk urban fantasy is a finalist in the paranormal category of the Romance Through The Ages contest from RWA’s Hearts Through History chapter. And to think I almost didn’t enter! I wasn’t sure if Mystic Taxi would qualify because technically it’s not a “historical” but an alternate history of a industrial age era circa turn of the century. But I made it!

GREAT NEWS, KAREN!

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