Sunday, January 29, 2012

Steampunk on Sunday: Municipal Darwinism

But first, before the heavy stuff, please pop in over to
 for some lovely Steampunk images.
There are some very useful cogs and gears 



Just the kind of fabulous machines you'd find in 


(us flying rabbits should stick together)
asked me what I thought was a good Steampunk book to read 
and I have to admit, if I wanted a good Steampunk book 
I'd start here,

Adult Cover

Now admittedly, Mortal Engines doesn't have a Victorian theme.




It's set in a dystopian future, after the Sixty Minute War.
The great cities of the world are mounted on huge wheels  
and rumble over the ruined world, 
scavenging and salvaging smaller settlements,
 recycling their resources and enslaving their people.
Hence Municipal Darwinism, with the great cities being the top predator.

Cool, right?

In this dark world is Tom, a daydreamer with romantic aspirations.
He rapidly loses his first love, his hero and his home, in the space of about five minutes; 
flung out into the derelict empty world that exists beneath the vast wheels of the traveling cities.

Yes, it has Steampunk tropes. Machines, steam, villains,
mechanical soldiers, engineers and airships.
But, more than that it has a driving story, original characters and a bitter-sweetness 
that is found only in the best children's fiction.

Like Harry Potter, the books in the Mortal Engines Quartet
(Or in the USA,  The Hungry City Chronicles)
are published in covers for both adults and children.
I'd give you twenty minutes of why I think it's important 
for adults to read good children's fiction, 
but the best reason is that the good stuff is good for everyone, not just kids.

Children's Cover
If you can FIND a copy, I recommend it. 

And if you can't find a copy,
apparently there's going to be a film. 






Sunday, January 22, 2012

Steampunk on Sunday and the End of the World

Steampunk on Sunday is postponed due to the tornado inclement  weather. I'm having a Tornado Martini, on the grounds that it calms my nerves and it may be the last martini  I ever have, whereupon it needs to be a good one, with three olives. You, whoever you are, need to keep your weather radio and wind-up torches handy and be ready to take to the shelter.

On a side note, wind -up radios and torches (For our American friends, that's a flashlight, not a stick with fire on the end) are SO Steampunk. Someone needs to mod one with cogs and lots of brass.

Please, wherever you are, be careful, and be safe. Tornadoes are funny, unless you're actually in one. Then they're Wrath of God.

(Monday. Everything is ok. A bit of hail and some gusty wind here. We were lucky and I feel for anyone who is caught in one of these things. Take the weather seriously and take best care of you and yours)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Steampunk on Sunday : A Steampunk Heart.

Oh, I'm excited to bring you this week's feature! 

A polymer clay artist whose creations I've admired for a while on Deviant Art.
 This bird was one of the earliest things I favourited on DA.
 I was delighted by its perky pose
and the balance between the charm of its shape,
the steampunky finish and the incongruity of its formidable weaponry... 

Gunther-Ready To Fire.


Kimberley, 
or
 is a talented artist 
and hardworking and witty and kind.
 Her art embraces two broad themes.
 Delightful miniature cakes and candies made into jewellery. 

Licorice Allsorts! LOOK at the detail!

Minty Goodness!

And exquisite, detailed animals and
offal of steampunky inspiration.

Yes, I said offal.
Just look at these hearts!




with stitches reminiscent of that most
steampunky of surgeons,
Dr Frankenstein.

A darkly romantic heart, 
with a rose and barbed wire.


When you turn it over, a little hatch reveals its workings. 
Magical and gorgeous.


The hearts and cuff-links are all available on Kimberley's Etsy Shop

But wait, there's more.
 The internet is all about information 
and anyone who contributes to that in a meaningful way is an 
Angel of the Internet.

Kimberley puts out some of the most interesting 
and informative tutorials on polymer clay that I've seen.
Want to make fluffy icing for tiny cakes?

Want to use a new material, like liquid polymer clay,
she'll hold your hand and talk you through the possibilities.

Want to, (get this!) add SCENT to polymer clay?
(I've got your attention now, haven't I?)

Monster Kookies has a blog, a facebook,website, a DA gallery 
and an Etsy shop, all of which are filled with good things.
She's also a good soul, Monster Kookies raised $819
Living in a tornado region, I applaud her effort.

But back to the birds, as these drew me first to her work.

Ra, the Mechanical Birdie

Leberecht, the Mechanical Birdie


Barnaby, the Mechanical Bunneh!



And tentacles!



there's lots to see, over in Kimberley's blog or her DA and,
 more to the point, 
the ideal heart for your Valentine in her Etsy

Like this one



Did you see the attention to detail?
The centres of the flowers are tiny-weeny screws!







Monday, January 9, 2012

Steampunk on Monday: Disappointment

Well, I WAS going to do a rave review of a book
for my Steampunk on Sunday.
 I even bought the book, new.
 New! 
But I have to admit, so far, I am profoundly unimpressed.

The book in question?
That darling of steampunkers everywhere,
Soulless


Trite. 
Trite and silly and vapid and a zeppelin-sized disappointment. 
It was written to a dreadful formula of Romantic Novel Heroine
 (She's plain, but in a good way! She's spunky! 
She answers people back! Gasp!)
meats (heh heh..meets...) tame werewolves and cookie cutter vampires. 
The heroine is supposed to be English with Italian parentage,
 but she's quite clearly American 
and, while I applaud a writer who dives into her material, 
I'm less enthusiastic about a writer who seems to have done very little research
 apart from the odd BBC historical drama.

There was clearly a checklist of every steampunk cliche. 

Airship (check)
Goggles (check)
Redundant technology (check)
cogs (check)
Bustles. What is it about bustles? 

*sigh*


I'll finish it.
 I hate not finishing a book, 
and if my opinion changes I shall come back and say so.
If you really want to try it, it's here at Amazon.

I suppose there is a difference between the novels that created the Steampunk genre, 
which were challenging and original and exciting, 
and novels  which are designed for steampunkers; 
(people in goggles and top hats and bustles. like me)

Hubby says, if I feel this way, why don't I write my own?

He might have a point.

Love and hot tea to you all.





Friday, January 6, 2012

The Gambler

Of course, there are Steampunk cards! For fortune telling, Bezique and magic tricks...


These little delights are made by Bicycle, famous American card-makers since 
1885 and the card of choice of magicians and card-sharps.

Are we still sure Steampunk isn't going mainstream?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Steampunk on Sunday: Happy New Year.!

And in keeping with the theme of the New Year, I've been looking at clocks and time. 
Time-travel is a central theme of Steampunk,
 as it allows for the delights of anachronism, alternative histories 
and all the fun that goes with wearing the wrong skirts in the wrong era.
  See this excerpt from The Time Machine and ladies' fashion.




To go with the Time Machine, you need a clock. A good, reliable clock. 
I went on a search for a clock-type screensaver and I found some gems.
 See this one, which sounds like a solidly-built timepiece, 
with a deep, brassy chime on the hour. 
It would be perfect for the computer in the Steampunk Study.



The screensaver is from 3planesoft.com.   
They also make a gorgeous Steampunk.themed clock screensaver 
with its own little engineer gnome, who pops out to check on things and stoke the boiler.



These are both lovely, but they're not free.
 I'm considering buying one for the Steampunk Study, just for the lovely chimes.
 If  I can't have an antique grandfather or mantel clock, I could have the soundtrack, right?

In the end, I went for a free clock screensaver, from a wonderful game called 'Cogs'.
It's a puzzle game, with cogs, (obviously) and steam and brassy pipes. 
There's a free demo, which I found very absorbing, 
and if you're looking for a Steampunk game, 
this is a gentler option than, say, Bioshock Infinite. Or Fallout 3.
There's the free downloadable screensaver of a clock.here. 
It's silent, but it keeps good time and I actually used it to usher in the New Year.


Hubby likes it so much he  asked for it to be on his computer, too.