A Report from Motor City Steam Con’s ‘Victorian Salon’ Nov. 5

When you’re a vagabond like me, it can be really hard to meet new people and make friends. Being a Steampunk, I’ve already got a tribe, it’s just a matter of finding them! Luckily for me, the Midwest seems to be a hotbed of Steampunk activity. This past summer, the first Motor City Steam Convention was […]

Book Review: The Victorian Steam Locomotive: It’s Design & Development 1804-1879

In the forward to G. D. Dempsey and D. K. Clarke’s (2015) The Victorian Steam Locomotive: It’s Design & Development 1804-1879, Dr. Pete Waterman begins by stating that even people who are enthusiastic about the age of steam power can sometimes be blasé about its history. It is hard in this day and age of technological wonders to comprehend the magnitude of the innovative process behind the development of the steam engine. In just over 90 years we moved from the simple idea of boiling water, to making steam to generate power, to the steam engine we know to this day. As Waterman explains, the engine design has not significantly changed since the Victorian era; it has been tweaked here and there, but essentially remains the same. For those of us who are steam train enthusiasts, we might say that it is hard to improve on perfection!

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.

Steampunk Tea Parties: A Holiday Tradition

Steampunk-themed tea parties are particularly popular in North America during the winter. Knowing a bit about the history of tea and the rituals surrounding its consumption can help a participant enjoy the experience. There are also some traditional resources and touches of whimsy that can help you host a party of your own.

From Hell – Movie Review

Jack the Ripper, the nickname given to a serial killer immortalized in the London newspapers of 1888, was a gruesome departure from our prim and proper view of the Victorian era. Because of the distinctive way the killer(s) dispensed his victims, the string of murders committed in the East End neighborhoods like White Chapel and Aldgate […]

The Steampunk Capital of the World?

Fans of science fiction, fantasy, and steampunk may find themselves asking—why does New Zealand have all the cool places to travel? First Peter Jackson chose New Zealand for the film locations of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies: now there is an entire tourist industry dedicated to taking travelers to all the stunning film locations. If this is not enough, tourists can visit Flock Hill, Purakaunui Bay, and Auckland City to see where The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe was filmed. Of course, fans of the X-Men can visit Otago and feel like they are walking through scenes of X-Men Origins: Wolverine. But for the true immersive experience, steampunk fans can visit Oamaru, a town dedicated to the steampunk aesthetic: a town whose residents claim they are living in the Steampunk Capital of the World.

Steampunk is More Than its History

In 1987 K.W. Jeter coined the term “steampunk” in a letter to Locus magazine.  Jeter used the term to qualify the neo-Victorian writings that he, James Blaylock, and Tim Powers, produced.  This term played on “cyberpunk,” which was a popular genre in the late 1980s.  Enthusiasts embraced the term “steampunk” for this type of speculative fiction and it was applied […]

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