Archive for June, 2009

There are lots of similar genres and terms for Steampunk and things that are Steampunk-esque. Here’s a *very* brief summary of some of the really neat things I found. This is by no means definitive or exhaustive.

Alternate History—This is a really broad category because alternate histories are infinite and Steampunk is only a small part. This is when you actually explain how and why your Steampunk world got to be this way which could range from rebuilding after WWW III to portals to hell to earthquakes to aliens and beyond
Fireside Science Fiction–“Cozy” Sci-Fi where Victorian gentlefolk end up doing god-knows-what, god-knows-where, but it all ends well and laugh about it over brandy and cigars in the study afterwards
Gaslamp Fantasy–Set in a Victorian-esque fantasy realm these stories have tight bodices, slapstick, mayhem, mad science, and paranormal elements
Gaslamp Romance—same as above, but with more sex and a happily ever after and could be set in either a fantasy realm or the “real” (ish) world
Neo-Victoriana–Recreating Victorian life using modern tools, materials, and methods (most “traditional” Steampunk works have advanced technology but use Victorian materials not modern ones)
Retro-Futurism—Combining elements of the past with future technology but can be applied to any era not just Victorian
Scientific Romance–An early, primarily British, term for science fiction, also used to describe Verne’s works. Now used for Victorian based-science fiction
Steampulp–What if I was stuck in a bodice ripper and had to fight my way out before the brass robots ate me? Also another name for Steampunk, since the “punk” leads people to think stories are dystopian or anarchist (like cyberpunk) where in actuality they usually aren’t
Victorian Science Fiction–Gentrified name for Steampunk though often denotes fiction actually written in Victorian era, as opposed to stories set in Victorian times
Voyages Extraordinaire –Larger than life Victorian adventures, a la Jules Verne
Wild/Weird West–Steampunk meets the 19th Century American West. Lots of mad scientists, saloon girls, cowboys, and giant mechanical beasts


Do you have any other neat Steampunk terms to share? Cool linkys? Any of these inspire you? Or is this information overload, lol?

I have *one* tiara left (I’m going to have to go back and see if they have more. I bought them all out last time I was there, lol.) These are really beautiful art-deco style mini tiaras. This one is black with stones in shades of gold and yellow. Perfect for a Steampunk princess. One lucky poster will snag it…I’ll post the winner on Friday. 

Have a great week!

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Classic Steampunk Novel Review: The Anubis Gate by Tim Powers

Review by Helen Pilz (www.helenpilz.com)

I write historical time travels.  My work-in-progress deals with going back to Jack the Ripper’s Victorian London. (Like author Jana Oliver, I want my novels to be as historically accurate as possible. Talk about years of research! )

After browsing our Age of Steam blog’s Steampunk book list, I picked up The Anubis Gate by Tim Powers.

The Anubis Gates (1983) is a time travel fantasy novel by Tim Powers. It won the 1983 Philip K. Dick Award and 1984 Science Fiction Chronicle Award

Plot Summary excerpted from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Anubis_Gate

In 1801 the British have risen to power in Egypt and suppress the worship of the old Egyptian gods. A cabal of magicians plan to drive the British out of Egypt by bringing the gods forward in time from an age when they were still powerful and unleashing them on London, thereby destroying the British Empire. In 1802, a failed attempt by the magicians to summon Anubis opens magical gates in a predictable pattern across time and space.

In 1983, ailing millionaire J. Cochran Darrow has discovered the gates and found that they make time travel possible. Darrow organizes a trip to the past for fellow millionaires to attend a lecture by Samuel Taylor Coleridge in 1810. He hires Professor Brendan Doyle to attend and give expert commentary. One of the magicians, Doctor Romany, happens to spy the time travelers and kidnaps Doyle before he can return. Doyle manages to escape torture and flees back to London, now trapped in the 19th century.

Time-trapped American Doyle battles the Egyptian magician for his live and the life of the British Empire.

Recommendation: The Anubis Gate doesn’t have the commonly thought of Steampunk technology elements such as steambots, airships, but it has time travel, alternative history, magic, an immortal werewolf, and well done twist and turns.


I give The Anubis Gate five out of five watch wheels.

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Recently I was having dinner with my niece who was visiting from out of state. We were having a nice conversation about steel-boned corsets and steampunk when she asked me if I’d heard of a singer named Emilie Autumn.

I hadn’t.

She told me to youtube her.

About a week later I needed some inspiration for my steampunk YA WIP, so I went on youtube and looked her up. Music is a huge inspiration for me (all those years of classical music lessons as a kid, lol), so why not seek out some steampunk music for a steampunk story?

All I can say is Wow.

Emilie Autumn calls her music “Victorindustrial.” Basically it’s industrial-type music mixed with harpsichord and violin sung by a women with pink hair and a corset. It’s steampunk meets Gothic-Lolita at it’s finest. The lyrics are soulful, the music haunting, her voice is amazing, and some of the titles are just hysterical (Like “Miss Lucy has some leaches.”) Truly I am astounded and fascinated by how incredibly cool she and her music are. It sounds like her stage shows are amazing, too bad she won’t be in the US for awhile.

I’ve become mildly obsessed with the song “Opheliac” (“Shallot” is my niece’s fave, and I like “Across the Sky” as well.)

Check this out. The actual song starts around 2:30.

Anyway, happy weekend and happy father’s day!

I’m cross posting this over at my personal blog . Come by and say hello.

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There’s nothing quite so effective at broadening one’s horizons than going to a science fiction con when one writes in a different genre (in my case, teen fiction). But when I got a look at the schedule for BayCon and saw that it was heavily flavored with steampunk, I knew I had to go for at least part of it. So, I put on my lace-up Oxfords, my middy blouse, my traveling coat, and my top hat with goggles, and assayed forth to explore Pyrocumulon, the city in the clouds and the theme of the con.

First stop for me, of course, was the vendors’ hall, where a person can find everything from a straw Regency bonnet to an Elizabethan leather waistcoat to a medieval sword, plus books, T-shirts, jewelry, and everything in between. I must say, the dragonfly necklace I picked up goes surprisingly well with a number of things in my wardrobe! And one of the sellers of steampunk clothing told me he appreciated seeing someone “with her look pulled together.” Heh.

I attended a panel on metaphysics and spirituality in science fiction, moderated by an Englishman who teaches philosophy at the university level. It was fascinating to hear how many of the panelists create their worlds by determining the worlds’ religious beliefs, since that has a direct bearing on the way the characters shape their societies.

The next panel was a discussion of the popularity of the Twilight series. From bloggers to those who write parody to a university prof who uses the Twilight books in a course on the literary development of the vampire, the panel was an interesting mix. There was no one conclusion about what makes the series so fascinating to its readers, but the hour of discussion was entertainment at its best!

automatonsThe last panel I went to was a costuming panel on developing the steampunk look on a budget. My favorite costumes worn by attendees were made by a young couple who came as “steampunk atuomatons.” They explained how they created their windup keys and I had to take my hat off to their ingenuity–for if that isn’t a trademark of steampunk, what is?


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Thank you so much to everyone who commented on our list of naughty Victorian words!  I just love all your great suggestions!

The randomly selected winner of the sparkly tiara is…

(drum-roll please)

~*~Alison D!~*~

“I’m guessing that eventually “mollisher” was just shortened to “moll” – ganster’s moll, etc.”

Congratulations!  Please email me at suzanne lazear (@) hotmail (no spaces) .

I also have a few fun steampunk linkys for you to kick off your weekend…

 If you were a steampunk character what would your name be? Find out with the Steampunk Name Generator

Take it a step further and find out what sort of steampunker you’d be with the Steampunk Archetype Quiz

Then take your new-found personality on an adventure with Choose Your Own Victorian Adventure

Have a great weekend!

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You’ve got to love Victorian slang.  Who doesn’t love the idea of calling a leg “a limb”?

Recently I was trying to find out the racier slide of Victorian slang for a work-in-progress and thought I’d share a few of my favorite “naughty” Victorian slang and euphemisms.    Some of these are phrases that could be used between loving couples, others were used by polite gentleman looking for a romp separate from marriage, others were used by the lower class—who were much freer with their sexuality.  

Prostitutes—dollymop (an amateur or part-time prostitute), dancer, actress, entertainer, tail, great horizontal (high-class prostitute to the rich), night flower, harlot, toffer (posh prostitute), femme galante, covey (a collection of them), three-penny-upright (cheap and up againt a wall)

Woman of dubious moral virtue/forward girl— mollisher ( a villain/gangster’s woman), tart, bobtail/bangtail/wagtail, dirty puzzle (nasty slut), athanasian wench, quicunque vult, cockish wench, biter, cleaver

Mistress—one’s convenient, tackle, sweet heart (also a girl’s lover), wife in water colors (engagement easily dissolved), left-handed wife

Madam—Abbess, dame de maison, Aunt

Brothel maison de tolérance, bordello, coffee house, cab

Man who cheats—Abbot (favorite client of an Abbess), Corinthian (man who frequents brothels), Dark Cully (keeps a mistress and only visits her in the dark of night)

A woman’s privates—bite, cock alley/cock lane, fruitful vine, (old) hat (frequently felt), laycock (miss or lady), madge, muff, quim

Breasts—dairy, dugs, kettle drums

A man’s privates— arbor vitae, ballocks, bawbels/bawbles, lobcock (large and relaxed), plugtail, tallywag, tools, whore pipe

Backside—blind cupid, cooler, nancy

Sexual acts—beast with two backs (couple in the act), bedfordshire (going to bed), to dock, dog’s rig (to copulate until you’re tired then turn in), melting moments (a large couple engaged in sexual congress), prigging, roger, to ride rantipole (to do it with a tart), wap, tip the velvet (go down on a woman)

~What are your favorite historial slang words?   I have another tiara to give out to one lucky poster.  Who doesn’t need a sparkly tiara?~

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