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Archive for the ‘gadgets’ Category

Got swag?  I’m running a contest over at my other blog.

Now, back to today’s post.

Kickstarter.

All the cool kids seem to be doing it.  It’s a grass-roots project incubator allowing the average person to seek investors for projects.  Investors usually get some sort of limited edition goodies for contributing towards the project’s goal.

There’s some neat steampunk projects going on right now. This is just a sampling…

Steampunk: History Beyond Imagination is a museum exhibit slated to open in October at Muzeo in Anaheim, CA,

The exhibit will introduce visitors to an era in which science and industry were combined to launch mankind into the 20th Century (and beyond) – to become a world where ordinary human beings could do the impossible. Historical pioneers like Charles Babbage and prominent personalities like Nikola Tesla will also be revealed for their contributions to the development of incredible technological advances.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/aeronautproductions/steampunk-history-beyond-imagination-museum-exhibi/widget/video.html

The League of S.T.E.A.M is seeking funding for Season II of their webasode series.

We will spend the money to purchase essential equipment to meet the various production needs we will face throughout the season, as well as provide opportunities for us to film in new and exciting locations for our audience to enjoy. We will create new equipment to help us tell our thrilling stories, and because of our team’s history of making functional props, we can guarantee you’ll be able to see this equipment in person at our live show ventures.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/leagueofsteam/adventures-of-the-league-of-steam-season-two/widget/video.html

Ever wanted an intergalactic transporter?

Chico Urban Artists Collective (CUAC) is building a 28 foot steampunk-style spaceship that we’re calling the Intergalactic Transporter (Mutant Vehicle) using a retired 1981 firetruck as the platform vehicle. The upper deck will be a dance floor, lower deck will be a chill space to hang out, and the exterior will provide additional seating and bike parking. It will be an interactive participatory conceptual art experience.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1905360854/intergalactic-transporter/widget/video.html

A Victorian Knitting Primer

The Ladies of Mischief is a collective of talented ladies who want to take the knitting and steampunk world by storm, combining the two genres into one amazing work of fantastic imagery, story telling, and creative artistry.

We have started up a blog filled with exclusive patterns, stories, journal entries, photographs and more. Please stop by to read up on each of the Ladies and follow all of their adventures.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2082319929/needles-and-artifice-a-victorian-knitting-primer/widget/video.html

There’s also a Pipe Organ Backpack!

I plan to make a light-weight, fully functional, small-scale WEARABLE pipe organ! I have a passion for strange instruments and I hope to create one of my own. My ultimate goal is to not only create this instrument, but to also document and share instructions on its design so that others can build them in the future. At the end of the project, I will post the instructions online for free.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1461644610/functional-pipe-organ-backpack-the-borgan/widget/video.html

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Today in celebration of National Steampunk Day, we, the Lolitas of STEAMED! offer up ten things you can do to get into the spirit of things:

10. Wear goggles to work (or if you’re already at work and have missed the opportunity wear them out to dinner). You’ll be amazed at the curious looks and questions you get, which is a perfect time to talk steampunk!

9. Try wearing a corset. That’s on the outside, please.

8. Wear a hat. Top hat, aviator cap, newspaper boy slouchy cap, bowler, it all counts!

7. Unplug and read a steampunk book – by lamplight. Okay you can use a candle if you must, but instead of watching the television tonight, why not escape into a great piece of steampunk fiction?

6. Talk with a British accent for the day. You may even call your boss, “Old Bean” unless of course, he or she is younger than you.

5. Use phrases like “My word”, “How splendid”, or “Please excuse me while I wind my gears,” or “Where did I park my aeromachine?” “Drat”, “Most peculiar” or even “Fire the mechanical monkies!”

4. Drink a cup of tea. Crumpets, clotted cream, jam and little fingers sandwiches are optional.

3. Learn to waltz. Waltz anyway. Why walk when you can waltz?

2. Go read Girl Genius (it’s updated every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at http://www.girlgeniusonline.com under comic. Warning: it is addictive, especially if you start at the beginning).

 And, the number one thing you can do is. . .

1. Try the Steampunk Drinking Game. Pick out a steampunk movie or book of your choice. Best played with others who don’t actually plan to go anywhere afterward. Beverage may be of your choice. For each item you come across, take the prescribed drink. Last person standing wins.
Aether = 1 drink
Airhship = 2 sips
Automaton = gulp
Bodice = 1 drink
Corset = down the whole shot
Gears = 1 sip
Goggles = three sips plus bite of lemon
Her Majesty and/or Queen Victoria = down the whole shot
Horse and/or carriage = 3 drinks
Inventor and/or mad scientist = 4 drinks
Inexplicable device = 1 drink
Mention of social rank (Duke, Marquess, Earl, Barron, etc.) = 4 sips
Parasol = 2 drinks
Presence of bioengineering = 4 drinks
Puff of steam = 1 drink
Raygun = chug
Top Hat = 3 drinks
Tesla coil = down the whole shot

Celebrate Steampunk!

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I’m going to be teaching Writing Steampunk Aether to Zephlin again, this is revised version of the class I taught last November (which was great fun) and a beginner/intermediate overview class covering the basic nuts and bots of writing Steampunk.  It runs July 5 – July 29, 2011 via a private email loop classroom.  The cost is $20.   More info here. 

 

Writing Steampunk Technology

The trick to writing about technology and your gadgets is to only reveal to the reader what your character might actually know.  Otherwise, it can pull us out of the story, feeling like both an author intrusion and an info dump.

For example, a society lady may give no thought to how something works, only noting that it might be noisy, messy, or shiny.  But an inquisitive child or a scientist might analyze its workings or even come up with improvements in their heads.

But at the same time, this isn’t a license to info dump or spend paragraphs waxing poetic about steam engines (even if it is in character).  Keep in mind – does the reader need to know this and does the reader need to know this now. 

Your technology should be showcased in your steampunk novel, but at the same time, you don’t need to point out or dissect every, single detail.  This screams “See, my novel is steampunk, look, look” and can take the reader out of the story.  Again, think about what your particular character would actually notice, what they may actually know about a particular item, its uses, origins, and inner-workings.

Also, your technology needs to be integral to your world building.  If you can take the tech out of your story, and it still stands, it’s not truly steampunk.

However, it may still have steampunk elements, and if you’re okay with this, then by all means, go for it.  Otherwise you may need to rethink your tech and world and brainstorm on ways to make it stronger.

Here’s a starter list of Steampunk tech here.

How is your tech integral to your world?

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This is the last week of Steampunkapalooza.  Thank you so much for participating.  We have some good stuff for you this week.

First off, we have some winners to announce.

We have a copy of Ren Cummin’s Reaper’s Return:

VVB

Now we have the Gail Carriger prize pack, which includes a copy of Blameless and and autographed fan.

Elmo Adams

Congrats.  To claim your prize please email me at suzannelazear (@) hotmail

Didn’t win?  Win a copy of one of Leanna Hieber’s Strangely Beautiful books or another swag and book bag from RT.

Today we welcome YA author Kady Cross.

In her other life Kady Cross is a USA Today bestselling author of more than 20 books. She is lucky enough to have a husband who shares her love for the slightly twisted, and all things geek, and a houseful of cats with whom she shares her darkest secrets.  When she’s not listening to the characters in her head she’s either trying to formulate the perfect lipgloss or teaching herself to solder. She has a weakness for all things girly, sugar skulls, and boots. Her love of books and makeup borders on addiction – from which she never, ever wants to be cured.

Steampunk Tech and Teens

by Kady Cross

First of all, I just want to say thank your for having me here today!

My book, The Girl in the Steel Corset (Harlequin Teen) comes out on May 31st of this year. It’s a Steampunk young adult novel about a girl named Finley Jayne, who has extraordinary abilities that often land her in deep trouble. This time is no exception, as she flees her job after beating up her boss’s son. She runs straight into the path of Griffin King, Duke of Greythorne and his friend Sam Morgan. Both young men as every bit as extraordinary as Finley, though in their own ways. There’s also Emily O’Brien, the technological genius of the group, and cowboy Jasper Renn, who can draw a gun faster than most people can blink. Together the five of them will uncover the plans of a criminal mastermind named The Machinist, while Finley seeks Griffin’s help in becoming less of a danger to herself and those around her.

One of the key elements to any Steampunk story is the technology. It’s simply not Steampunk if you don’t have some kind of science or machines. What I wanted to do with The Girl in the Steel Corset is create technology that today’s savvy teens can relate to, but still stay true to the Victorian ‘feel’ of the story. When we first meet Griffin King, he’s riding a velocycle at night. A velocycle is basically a motorcycle — a big, fairly heavy motorcycle with lots of brass and sometimes wood. However, they’re steam-instead of having a gasoline engine. It’s a somewhat plausible mode of transportation, plus it’s a lot cooler than a horse — unless it’s an automaton horse, of course.

A third piece of tech is the Aethernet — a computer built out of an old type writer, a mirror and some other bits of scrap — is a tongue in cheek reference to the internet. This is what Griffin uses to research the ‘cases’ he undertakes. He’s able to patch into Scotland Yard and look at their records, which comes in very handy when looking for info on villains, or doing Aethernet dating. 🙂

I also have such things as mechanical hearts, automatons, metal body parts and a life-size steel panther. There are dirigibles too. In fact, Griffin owns his own airship — the equivalent of a private jet.  There are many more gadgets in the book, and certainly much more science and technology, but I don’t want to give it all away.

The Girl in the Steel Corset is set in a world where innovation runs wild and anything is possible. It’s also a world being changed by evolution. The wellspring of life has bubbled up from the center of the earth and slipped to the surface, taking some humans to the next stage of development. These people have amazing and often terrifying abilities that they don’t understand themselves. For me this is the quintessential them of being a teenager — that of feeling like an outsider, or that people (especially adults) don’t understand  or respect you. My characters are figurative freaks, and literal ones as well.

So now I have a question for you: what kind of technology would you like to see in a Steampunk novel? If you’re not certain, how about telling me how you would evolve if you lived in Finley Jayne’s world.

~Kady Cross

http://www.kadycross.com

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First off, we have three copies of Tim Akers Horns of Ruin to give away. 

Gail Gray

Giada M.

Tina

Congrats!  Please email me at suzannelazear (@) hotmail to claim your prize.  Didn’t win?  We still have up for grabs a book by YA author Ren Cummins, a prize pack of goodies including a copy of Blameless and a fan autographed by Gail Carriger, and your choice of one of Leanna Renee Hieber’s Strangely Beautiful books. 

Today we welcome Steampunk author Philippa Ballantine. 

Philippa (Pip) Ballantine is the co-author with Tee Morris of Phoenix Rising: a Ministry of Peculiar Occurrence novel coming out soon from Harper Voyager. It contains airships, archives and large amounts of derry-doing. Find out more at ministryofpeculiaroccurrences.com

 Steampunk and gadgets and gears. Oh my!

By Philippa Ballantine

One of my favourite quotes about our upcoming book is from Warp Core Sci-Fi If James Bond wore a corset and drank Earl Grey it might be something like the adventures in Phoenix Rising.

The joy of gadgetry that can be found in the Bond movies is something that my co-author Tee Morris and I wanted to include in our series—after all we too are writing about a government organization, even if it is one in the nineteenth century rather than the twenty-first. So the tech support that Q gave the secret agents in MI5 might well be found in the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences—but powered by boilers and steam. Interestingly, since the term boffin wasn’t coined until much later, we invented a term for those that make gizmos—we called them clankertons.

Steampunk is a rising genre in fiction that can be dark and dystopian, or fun and optimistic. It can be set in the Victorian age, or on a distant planet—it doesn’t really matter. Steampunk is about many things, but above all its trademark is technology powered by steam—often fantastical and improbable. One thing that is constant however is the gadgets. Some are be used to keep humanity oppressed, others are just loads of fun.

For example a steam-powered listening device is in the Ministry’s arsenal. It’s larger than our own modern devices, but looks a lot more amazing, with valves and brass. It’s also far larger, which gives our agents some difficulty getting it into the opera.

A joy of working in steampunk as an author, is that you can get inspiration from things that might have been and imagining what might of happened if they had been made. A particular favorite machine in the genre is Charles Babbage’s difference engine. This device was made in the first half of the nineteenth century and was a mechanical calculator. However, one device that Babbage never got the funding to build was the analytical engine. This would have been a mechanical general-purpose computer, and could have been revolutionary for Queen Victoria’s empire.  Steampunk often takes this particular device and plays with what the resulting social and political change might have been. In our novel, it is used by the Archivist of the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences to keep track of the files…and also to make a spiffing cup of tea.

Research into the time period often throws up remarkable inventions that you might not know even existed, and giving them just a little ramp up. Before setting forth on this adventure I was not aware that there was in fact something called a steam-powered motor-bike. The sequel to Phoenix Rising has our heroine racing through the English countryside on a souped up version of what actually existed. Indeed, the movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang can be counted as steampunk because of that particularly amazing car.

Finally, as an author you can just let your imagination take flight in steampunk. Just create devices out of wild and fun imaginings. Automatons, of the clockwork or steam variety, are a staple gadget of the genre. For example Paul Guinan’s Boilerplate is about a steam powered robot and his adventures with famous people of the era. Inserting this comical looking robot into historical pictures eventually lead to it becoming a book and optioned by JJ Abrams to be a movie. Not bad at all for a collection of pistons and boilers.

Gizmos, gadgets, the wild and the possible all embroider the steampunk world of fiction. They provide a vital ingredient of ‘what if’ and twist the history of the Victorian era into all kinds of interesting shapes. They can also be jolly good fun!

 

 ~Philippa Ballantine

http://www.pjballantine.com/

What are your favorite Steampunk gadgets?

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First, I’d like to announce the winners of George Mann’s Ghosts of Manhattan:

FredTownWard

Elijana Kindel

Barbara Elness

Congrats!  Please email me at suzannelazear (@) hotmail to claim your prize. 

Didn’t win?  You can still win books by  Mike ResnickTim Akers,  or Ren Cummins, or a prize pack of goodies including a copy of Blameless and a fan autographed by Gail Carriger.

Today we welcome YA Sci-Fi author Beth Revis

Beth Revis‘ debut novel, Across the Universe, is out now. A former high-school English teacher, Beth can’t help but blog about writing, grammar, and publishing at Writing it Out. She is the founder of the new popular dystopian blog, the League of Extraordinary Writers and blows off steam by trying to come up with something witty in 140 characters or less, lusting after books on GoodReads, or wasting time on Facebook.   Beth Revis lives in rural North Carolina with her husband and dog, and believes space is nowhere near the final frontier.

The Top Five Things to Come from Steampunk and the Top Five Things I’d Like to See

 by Beth Revis

I’ll admit: I’m a noob when it comes to steampunk. Sure, I’ve read (and loved) Gail Carringer’s work, flirted with Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan, and I lust after the costumes, but as for seriously diving into the genre? I’ve worshipped from afar. That said, here’s the top five steampunk things that I adore…and the top five things that I want to see (so if all you steampunk-aphiles out there know of where I can find it, please let me know!).

First, in reverse order, the top five things I love from steampunk:

5. The “Punked” episode of Castle

I am a hardcore Fillionite, so, of course, I’m a fan of Nathan Fillion’s latest show, Castle. One of the very best episodes so far as been “Punked,” in which Beckett and Castle’s mystery takes them into the world of Steampunk NYC.

4. Steampunk Cakes

Cake Wrecks has a whole page dedicated to the awesome steampunk cakes that have been made over the years.  But I have to admit—my very favorite one is this little beauty:

I mean, come on! A cake that looks like a steampunk squid? Win.

3. Treasure Planet

I admit: I love me some Disney. And one of my all-time faves has to be the wonderful and under-appreciated movie Treasure Planet. A futuristic/steampunk/sci fi/awesome retelling of Treasure Island, this movie features not only a cool storyline, but an amazing soundtrack (don’t worry; it’s not a musical) and a great bad guy.

2. The Steampunk Mac

Let’s see how much of a nerd I can prove I am with this post. I love Nathan Fillion, Disney, and…I’m also a Mac FanGirl. But what would make me even more of a Mac FanGirl? If I could have this Mac:

 

Image credit: http://steampunkworkshop.com/daveveloz.shtml

1. The Costumes and Gadgets

Come on. Come on. The gadgets. The gadgets. And the costumes.

 

Image credit: http://steampunkcostume.com/

 Now, the top five things I’d like to see:

5. Steampunk Star Wars

Why can’t I have this? Holy wow, think of how cool it could be. Steam blasters instead of lightsabers. And dude! Think of it: Darth Vader Steampunk. Amazing. This has so much potential.

Image credit: http://www.oddee.com/item_96830.aspx

4. Roman Steampunk

There’s a lot of steampunk centered in Victorian times, but I think it would be cool to explore the Romans. In all honesty, it seems as if the Romans came pretty darn close to steampunk on their own. Push them a bit more in that direction—we could have a whole steampunk alternative history…

3. Steampunk not based in Europe/England

This is going to be my most serious request—does anyone know of some cool steampunk that’s not based in Europe, especially not based in England? I would sincerely love to read that…

2. Steampunk Fairytales or Superheroes

There’s a wide field of possibilities in this one. What if Tinkerbell tinkered with steampunk? Hansel and Gretl’s witch could be an automaton. Cinderella’s clockwork winds down at midnight.

Or take it another direction—what about superheroes? Gail Carringer blended paranormal with steampunk—let’s see superheroes blended with steampunk. Superman’s strong as steel because that’s what he’s made of. Or the X-Men—a wind-up Wolverine? Maybe even this…

 

Image credit: http://steampunkcostume.com/

1. More Steampunk YA

The number one thing I most want to see more of is steampunk for teens and kids. Scott Westerfeld  is doing great work with Leviathan, but I’d love to see more of this. Does anyone else have any steampunk YA or MG suggestions?

 

~Beth Revis

http://www.bethrevis.com/

http://acrosstheuniversebook.com/

So, who’s got some suggestions for Beth?  I know you all do…

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If you were to tell the story of this gal what would it be? Is she an airship pirate, or military general?

What is the eye piece for? Does it replace her own eye or is it an add on to detect automatons passing for humans? Did she steal that fancy coat?

And what about those wires on her left shoulders?

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