A Plethora of Valentines

The celebration of Saint Valentine’s Day officially began in 496 when the Roman Catholic Pope Gelasius I declared it a feast day. In Rome the day originally was designated for the celebration of Lupercalia, a three day pastoral festival (February 13-15) where the celebrants strove to both eliminate evil spirits and increase fertility. When choosing holy days, Christians were known to place them close to pagan festivals in an attempt to ease Christianity into Roman life and to displace the original event. The Roman Catholic Church may have given the day its modern name, but the romantic nature of the festival remains to this day.

The Language of Flowers: A Victorian Tradition

For centuries people have attributed meanings to flowers, herbs, and various plants. Interest in floriography, or the language of flowers, soared during the reign of Queen Victoria. This cryptologic style of floral communication could “say” what members of the society dared not speak aloud: the rigid social constrictions of the upper class helped to create a “language” that is indeed beautiful to behold.

Review of The Best of Spanish Steampunk

I received this anthology as a gift and opened it with a great deal of anticipation. Short, speculative fiction has been my favorite genre for many years and reading an entire anthology of steampunk stories would be a treat on a cold winter day. But as I read, I found myself to be puzzled: there were ghost stories, gaslight romances, alternate histories, and references to Victorian authors and their creations, but very few elements that reflect the steampunk aesthetic.

Soar: An Animated Short Film Airship Adventure

Soar is one of those magical animated short films that demonstrate more storytelling ability than a feature film. It tells the fantastical tale of a young girl who befriends a tiny boy pilot who’s dropped out of the sky. Through the course of a single day, she must find a way to fly her new friend back home before he is stranded on Earth forever.

The Asylum: Steampunk Festival Destination Travel

Looking for an unusual steampunk-themed travel destination for 2016?

Billed as the largest and longest running steampunk festival in the world, the Asylum takes place this year August 26th to August 29th in the historic City of Lincoln. Many of the venues that house festival activities have ties to Victorian England and lend an authentic sense of time/place to a festival which celebrates, in part, a reimagining of that era. But steampunk is more than a neo-Victorian celebration, and additions like a costume parade, professional tea dueling, “illicit” market, and craft zones add flair to the proceedings.

Fun & Unusual Facts About Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol”

How many times did it snow in London on Christmas day during Charles Dickens’s lifetime? Why did Frank, the character played by Bill Murray in Scrooged, apparently think that Christmas Eve fell on November 23rd? Why are Viserys Targaryen and Norman Bates featured in an article about A Christmas Carol? Read on to learn the answers to these questions, and so much more . . .

Steampunk Stress Relief: Adult Coloring Books & Events

Coloring is an activity that many people would associate with childhood, but recently the activity has found a different demographic. Adult coloring books are topping bestsellers’ list worldwide, but it is not simply due to the enjoyment of the activity. Medical researchers have studied the therapeutic properties that the simple act of coloring in a drawing can provide; these health benefits include a decrease in stress and anxiety. And there are a wide variety of books available, including those dedicated to steampunk.

The Steam Garden & the Haunted Tower: Japanese Steampunk Destination Travel

As 2015 winds to a close, we can look forward to all of the new travel and event opportunities available for 2016. Although there are many places and festivals anyone interested in steampunk can visit in North America, international interest in this style of speculative fiction/art is growing as well. One country that has developed a large steampunk fan base is Japan: Enthusiasts have embraced “wa-yo-setyuu”–the style of fusing East and West—and have created an aesthetic that uniquely reflects Japanese culture/history and yet is easily recognized as steampunk.

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