Before I announce the winner of the ensemble contest, I’d like to thank everyone who entered–there were some amazing entries. I’d like to thank Donna Ricci of Clockwork Couture for sponsoring the contest and bearing with me as I figured everything out. I’d also like to thank our esteemed guest judge author Gail Carriger for taking the time to choose our finalists and winner. Did your ensemble final? I still haven’t heard from everyone. The finalists can be found here.
Okay, the winner of the $150 GC to Clockwork Couture is…
…drum roll please…
Mithril Designs and her “Absinthe Afternoon” Ensemble
Absinthe Afternoon by MithrilDesigns on Polyvore.com
Congratulations Mithril Designs. Please email me at suzannelazear (@) hotmail
Today we welcome John Sondericker, from Steampunk Tales magazine. We’ll also be giving away five copies of issue six.
John Sondericker III is the founder and publisher of Steampunk Tales, a modern electronic pulp monthly anthology of Steampunk fiction. Available for only $1.99 per issue on PC/mac, iPhone, eBook, and most mobile platforms, Steampunk Tales puts adventure in your pocket for less than the cost of a good cup of coffee.
John Murray Spear
That special place where creativity (plus insanity) meets technology can produce salacious tales of incredible dreams instantiated — or at least a failed attempt to do so. In pulp fiction it’s easy; our impossible dreams of steam-driven mechanisms capable of anything imaginable are within our grasp to create and operate. We’re only limited by our own imaginations.
Far distant from fiction are those who feel so inspired, whether by genius or madness, to actually bring these machines into existence. Some minds were brilliant, such as Nikola Tesla or Thomas Edison. Equally or perhaps even more interesting to the fiction fan are the nut-bags. John Murray Spear was one such man-bag, and his story — if you were to re-write the ending — would be one of the greatest steampunk tales in existence.
Born in Boston in 1804, John Murray Spear grew up as a member of the Universalist Church of America. He became ordained in early life but later quit the church and turned to Spiritualism, which was a new-agey movement that was popular from the mid 1800’s into the early 20th century. Spear then went on to claim to be in contact with a group of spirits called “The Association of Electrizers” who commanded him to build an incredibly awesome steampunk machine. He formed his own posse and away they went to get it done.
The following year, Spear and a handful of followers retreated to a wooden shed at the top of High Rock hill in Lynn, Massachusetts, where they set to work creating the ‘‘New Motive Power’’, a mechanical Messiah which was intended to herald a new era of Utopia. The New Motive Power was constructed of copper, zinc and magnets, all carefully machined, as well as a dining room table. At the end of nine months, Spear and the ‘‘New Mary’’, an unnamed woman, ritualistically birthed the contraption in an attempt to give it life. Unfortunately for Spear, this failed to have the desired effect; the machine was later dismantled.
In 1872, Spear claimed to have received a message from the Association of Electrizers urging him to retire from the ministry. He died in October 1887 in the city of Philadelphia, and was buried in the Mount Moriah Cemetery.
Well, bummer about that whole “not working” thing. Today he could have gotten boinged and sold his creation via Regretsy. The sad part is that a mechanical messiah leading us to a new era of utopia would be totally useful right now. Anyone else out there want to give it a try?
Thank you so much for visiting us, John.
Come visit their blog where they feature fresh contest from the coolest sites on the web and don’t forget to check out their forums and become a fan on facebook. For those of you who’ve been inspired to write Steampunk stories, here are their submission guidelines.
We will be giving away five copies of issue six of Steampunk Tales . We have copies for iPhone, eBook, and your PC/Mac. To win simply post a comment. The contest contest ends Thursday at 11:59 PST, winners will be announced on Saturday. We also have contests going on for clockhand earrings and for a pair of ear wings.
Stay tuned all week for some great guests. Tuesday, April 20th we welcome the one and only Smutketeers, who will be talking about their new series. Simply Willow and her beautiful jewelery stop by on Wednesday, April 21. Young Adult author Scott Westerfeld visits on Thursday, April 22. On Saturday, April 24th we have a very special treat for you, a release party for OM Grey’s debut Steampunk novel Avalon Revisited. Come join us for all sorts of fun and mayhem.