Tuesday, 22 May 2012

The Deadliest Game - steampunk space adventures!

For those who like their space adventure both steamy and retro, the future is looking positively marvellous! 

Remember Dr Grordbort's Infallible Aether Oscillators, and the excellent infomercials from my previous post?  Well, now you can see them in action in this amazing short film, featuring Lord Broadforce, his batman Caruthers, and reporter Ms Millicent Middlesworth as they venture forth on a 'scientific expedition' for His Majesty's Society for the Study of Off-World Species.

Based on the sci-fi world of Dr Grordbort created by writer and artist Greg Broadmore from Weta Workshop, and written by Nick Ward, the live action/CGI film was created by 11 students at the Media Design School over 22 weeks under the direction of 3D animation program leader James Cunningham.

The Deadliest Game follows Lord Broadforce, hero of the 'skirmish' on Phobos and the Venusian Wars where he personally 'bagged' 20,000 Venusian doomsquad troopers (or unarmed local villagers, depending on your viewpoint), as he rides into the wilderness collecting trophies for the Society, where these rare species will be preserved forever as wall-mounts...

See the film on line at Vimeo, or below.

Discover more about Dr Grodbort, bastion of society, armourer of the free Earth and inventor of the Infallible Aether Oscillators, as well as how to arm for the future and protect the children, at his aetherweb site.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

To go boldly - should we build the 'Enterprise'?

Fed up with lack of momentum on the Space Programme? Disillusioned with the reality of the 21st Century compared to what we were promised? Want to know how to build the USS Enterprise?

Nip over to Strange Undisciplined Dreams of Great Things to find out about the ambitious project to build the first starship - and how to help!


And get over to Retropolis for the best in retrofuture paraphernalia!

Friday, 4 May 2012

Tomorrow's World Today - the primer for Clockwork Watch

Stuck for something to do for the Bank Holiday weekend in London?

Well, you could take a trip down to London Bridge for the amazing immersive theatre experience, Tomorrow's World Today.  

Recreating a Victorian street scene in a tunnel under London Bridge station,  Tomorrow's World Today is the primer to Clockwork Watch, an immersive participatory story set in a steampunk vision of Victorian England. The first installment of the steampunk transmedia project, Tomorrow's World Today is the entry point to the three year long story.

In Tomorrow's World Today, British society has fallen on hard times, the gap between ‘haves and have nots’ grows wider by the day. The Saryn War has decimated the population, driving many below the poverty line. Parents push children out onto the streets to beg for handouts. Life for the lower classes in Victorian England is nothing short of bleak.

In these dark days, her Majesty’s Government looks to Science for hope and has dedicated a department to search for a miracle. With the words “think the unthinkable” ringing in their ears, a group of esteemed scientists and engineers set about creating a brighter future, using clockwork mechanics to achieve their goals.

A decline in trade, power shortages and the inability to manufacture energy-efficient products has left British industry in the doldrums, but on a local level – the amateur maker and boffin ethos thrives. People begin to innovate and experiment at home, creating a thriving cottage industry of inventors and alchemists. Government efforts to regulate the proliferation of gadgets, sciences and medicines have failed, so now it invites these makers to showcase their creations at “Tomorrow’s World Today”, an exhibition of science hosted at the offices of the London Necropolis Company at No. 10 Bermondsey Street Tunnel.

The narrative of Clockwork Watch is played out across graphic novels, interactive promenade theatre, freeform role-play, online adventures, an interactive book, and a feature film, telling the story of a British society recovering from a war that has decimated the population but has a thriving cottage industry of inventors and alchemists. The audience will become participants in this make-believe world and the "Tomorro's World Today" event features a Victorian cocktail lounge, live music and a steampunk market.

Created by Yomi Ayeni of Articipate Media, the world began with a shared story-world prologue with contributions from patrons who crowdfunded the project, including the first 40 people to pre-order copies of “The Arrival”, the project's first graphic novel.

"Don your amazing outfits, and step into a world where Victorian values collide with anachronistic technologies. The fun starts at 2pm on 6 May at London Necropolis Company at No. 10 Bermondsey Street Tunnel.

Participants will have character cards with tasks and information, move through sets, gather clues, join demonstrations and solve mysteries.

You are welcome to come in costume, as a character or as yourself."

If we understand correctly, then the excellent Professor Elemental will be appearing for your musical delectation!

For more details on this excellent project, visit their website, and get down to Bermondsey Street!

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Steampunk authors, bedtime stories, and theatre!

Once more into the lesser explored reaches of the aethernet!

In the past two years, steampunk fiction has become part of the mainstream, with thousands of anthologies, novels, and online narratives, to say nothing of how steampunk has filtered into the Hollywood movie production line (need I mention the Sherlock Holmes re-boot?). 

With the proliferation of publications, and online blogs, in the aether, there are some stalwarts which have stayed the course - Brass Goggles, obviously - although others have changed as the technology has altered.  Our good friend The Traveller's Steampunk blog has moved home, and the denizens of the Gatehouse, overseen by Mr Ottens, have ended publication of the Gatehouse Gazette while increasing the use of the blog to keep the Steampunk fraternity informed (past editions of the wonderful Gatehouse Gazette can still be obtained here).

Struggling new authors a few years back have become publishing sensations - including Toby Frost, with his excellent Chronicles of Space Captain Isambard Smith series - which is gratifying to see.

A few years ago, at the Gatehouse's Smoking Lounge (please drop by for a chat!), we were privileged to be joined by Robert Rodgers, and some of the denizens of the Lounge offered critiques of his work in progress, Arcadia Snips.

"In an era of bygone anachronisms and steam-powered ambulatory engines, a sharp-witted street thief with a heart of semi-precious metal must match wits with a cryptic cryptozoologist, an amoral assassin, a masked menace, and a secret plot to bring the city she loves to its knees. Arcadia Snips and the Steamwork Consortium is both a cautionary tale against reckless mathematics and an accurate historical account all rolled up into one."

Mr Rodgers subsequently joined forces with illustrator Tod Wills, to bring the world of Arcadia Snips and the Steampunk Consortium to the aethernet via "an illustrated steampunk novel", viewable online, downloadable in pdf format, and available to buy at his esteemed website. 

So, what of the current underbelly of the aethernet? What is hiding in the shadows cast by the beasts of the air?

Well, we have the world's first steampunk nursery book, Her Majesty's Explorer written by Emilie P Bush and illustrated by William Kevin Petty and published by Coal City Stories.

The story sounds epic for little developing minds, and follows "St.John Murphy Alexander [who] walks the world exploring for the Queen. He sees the most extraordinary landscapes, creatures and weather. He gets very, VERY dirty. Exhausted, he returns to HQ and gets ready for a well deserved rest and some sweet dreams."

It's available on Amazon now.

And hot off the presses is the news that the Open Eye Figure Theatre in Minneapolis will be presenting “Steampunk Delusions,” from 27 April until 12 May 2012.  Hardcover Theater and English Scrimshaw Theatrical Novelties have joined forces to present two steampunk tales on stage, a double feature including two adaptations of classic steampunk stories. 

Open Eye is recognised for bringing a visual feast of evocative figure theater to the stage. The company’s whimsical yet profound work surprises and delights whether experienced in the company’s historic jewel box theater in Minneapolis or in neighbourhoods throughout the Twin Cities with the Driveway Tour. From experimental object works to puppet shows in backyards to community pageants to miniature spectacles, Open Eye consistently creates a unique, contagious exchange between artists and audiences.

Steve Schroer, producing artistic director of Hardcover Theater, adapted and directed the first installment, “The Diamond Lens” about a man who strives to invent the world’s most powerful telescope. “To Mars with Tesla,” the second installment, was adapted by Joseph Scrimshaw and Adrienne English, and finds inventor Nikola Tesla making his way to Mars and facing off against his nemesis Thomas Edison.

This sounds an intruiguing venture, and worth a visit to Minneapolis is you are in the vicinity.  More details can be found at Boiler Room News or at the Theatre's own site.

Oh, and while we're at it, check out the plans for the first pan-European Steampunk Convention and get involved!

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

European Steampunk Convention

Ah, the product of the fevered imaginings of Marcus Rauchfuss!

Plans for the first pan-European Steampunk Convention plough full steam ahead through the aether. The goal of EuroSteam is to create a steampunk event literally spanning the whole continent 29-30 September 2012.

The steampunk scene is active in Europe, with local, regional and in some cases country-wide scene active, and the European Steampunk Convention seeks to provide a means to bring all the steampunks in Europe together.

One major event of the Convention will be The Second Steampunk and Gaslight Convention in Luxembourg, with another one in Prague. Other confirmed locations with events include - Vienna, Prague, Luxembourg, Porto, Madrid and Stockholm, with interest from Bulgaria, Croatia, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, the UK, Russia, and Transylvania.

All these events with be streamed, so participants can join in wherever they are. There will also be bands playing at some locations, with streams of the concerts planned (dependent upon costs). So, all you need is internet access and ideally a webcam. There will be a virtual meeting place for everyone on the internet where we can connect. Of course, it is more fun if you are surrounded by friends, but if you are the sole steampunk in your region, you can join in online!

How can you help?
The places where the events will happen, the technical equipment and the artists do not come for free. If you can contribute financially, then those heroes of the ESC will be eternally grateful, and even give you some stuff! Nip over to indiegogo, and see if you can help out.

Some musicians have offered to play just to be part of the event, and if you are a musician, a DJ, a technician, if you know, own or have access to a great location, get in touch. 
If you can provide mobile internet equipment, your assistance will be much appreciated.

And of course, you can spread the word! ESC is on Facebook, and has a blog, Aetherscope, to keep you up-to-date.

In the meantime, check them out on youtube

This should be an epic event of continental proportions!

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Graphically novel - space themed steampunk genius

And so, steampunk ventures deeper into the world of comics.

I have spoken before of the joys of Freakangels, which continues its weekly update every Friday - currently, figures from the past are causing ruckus in Whitechapel as the rain pours. If you've not experienced that Friday feeling, get over to Warren Ellis's site!
Previously, Mr Ellis brought us the magnificent Ministry of Space, which envisaged a world whereby the British had taken Nazi aeronautic engineers before the Americans, and pushed the British Empire into the solar system.

Now, with artist Gianluca Pagliarani, he brings us his the space miniseries Ignition City

A major new series by Warren Ellis, the writer who reinvented science fiction in comics, in the alternate-world style of the award-winning MINISTRY OF SPACE and
AETHERIC MECHANICS—a retro-punk "future of the past" where spaceships still belched smoke and arguments were still settled with laser pistols.
Set in 1956, this new five part series is centred upon grounded space pilot Mary Raven who discovers, on the island of Ignition City, Earth's last spaceport, that her father died on the wrong end of a ray-gun....

This looks very special indeed, and should go someway to satisfying those retro-future needs!

Comics and gaphic novels are an excellent way to bring new or fringe products into the mainstream. Many of you will be familiar with Dr Grordbort's inventions from WETA's excellent infomercial:

Well, the Grordbort universe franchise is expanding, thanks to the excellent concepts of Greg Broadmore. Dr Grordbort's Contrapulatronic Dingus Directory was the first release in the Dark Horse / WETA series last year:

and now the wonderful Victory - Scientific Violent Adventure for Young Men and Literate Women is out.

For those who have been hiding under a rock for the past decade, WETA is a five-time Academy Award winning special effects company based in Wellington, New Zealand. They did the special effects for Peter Jackson's The Lord Of The Rings, King Kong, James Cameron's Avatar and many other movies. However, not only are they FX experts, they also build Rayguns, collectible sculpture, handmade swords and a host of other goodies!

Designer and author Greg Broadmore first introduced us to Lord Cockswain in the Dingus Dictionary - a bluff British adventurer devoted to the study of extraterrestrial life by traveling to other planets and slaughtering it. Similar in vein to Toby Frost's excellent Captain Smith adventures, Victory carries on Broadmore's brand of satirical steampunkery. A collection of propoganda posters, ("Know Your Enemy: The Venusian Savage"), bestiaries , weaponry details and testimonials, the book imagines a universe where the sun never sets on the British Empire, because the British Empire has conquered every planet in the solar system.

For those who like their space adventure both steamy and retro, the future is looking positively marvellous!

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Online steampunk fiction, novels, writing ad infinitum

I really should come up with a proper title for these updates on steampunk fiction on the web. Anyway, about time we had another rummage around the aethernet for new fiction and new authors.

First up - kids, look away now! - and akin to the wonderfully titled Steamypunk (being the fanciful erotica of a steampunk world) - is the new Like a Corset Undone for those who like their punk very steamy indeed...

All the trappings of steampunk society--corsets, airships, and 'leaping technologie'--meet the simmering undertone of sexuality so well-hidden by Victorian morality in LIKE A CORSET UNDONE, Circlet Press's third volume of erotic steampunk stories. By turns kinky and romantic, the stories in Like a Corset Undone explores all the reasons to unlace, whether to rebel, or for more intimate purposes.
This is the third title in the series from Circlet Press - "The Intersection of Erotica and Science Fiction, Fantasy, & Futurism", previous collections being Like Clockwork and Like a Wisp of Steam. More titles may be found at the homepage, which also includes new stories. Vinne Tesla's Ontological Engine is also available via mp3, for those who like their steam via aural means.

More prosaically, over at Booksie, ("Share Your Poems, Short Stories, Novels, and more with the world"), we find Incorrigable by 'chopetov13', a new young writer from Russia:

Will Forthright faces the opposites of neglagence and faithful service after the boiler on his ship explodes.
This appears to be the second of his steampunk stories, the previous being Goggles and flames .

A revolutionary rails against the injustices of the system as a factory mechanic finds shelter in his labor.
Also present on the site are 'Acid Varrakin', whose first draft of their entry to the 2010 Somerset Novella writing competition, To Destroy a Symbol promises a

steampunk-themed story, based on the premise that the 1970s punk revolution happened in Victorian England. It follows the adventures of the squeamish, womanizing D.I. Tril Henderson in his struggle to put an end to the violence.
and 'Ati's' Hounded: A Tale of Baker Street, whereby the Hound comes to Baker Street...

The cobblestones rolled like drops of rain under the metal paws of the Hound. The sky had a sick yellow pallor, and glowed weirdly. The cobblestones, slick with fresh rain reflected the yellow light grimly. The world took on a different hue around the Hound. Smiles, what smiles there could be on such an unnatural day shriveled like poisoned trees. Open doors shut, and shades came down on windows. Groups of people dispersed, and people vanished indoors. The Hound continued it’s bizarre walk, each stride the twin of the last, every dull yellow gas lamp gleaming over it’s chrome skin and morphine fangs the same as the one before.

The Hound had come to Baker Street.

As an aficionado of all thing Sherlock Holmes, I shall dive into this one with relish!

Finally in this brief round up, a visit to the Writer's Symposium ("Our mission is to "Help Writers Write."), a collective of 20 professional writers and editors who usuall come together at the Gen Con Game Fair. News from their blog reveals that Paul Genesse - author of The Dragon Hunters - will be writing a piece for Jean Rabe's anthology Steampunked:

I was fortunate enough to be asked to write a story for Jean Rabe’s next DAW anthology, Steampunked. I’ve been working on a story idea and have come up with a setting that I think has not been done before in this genre. I don’t want to say what it is now. However, I was able to attend a panel on Steampunk at the World Fantasy convention a few weeks ago and it got my mind going.
Worryingly, it appears that Mr Genesse has only just got to the Vendermeer's Steampunk, so we shall see what emerges from his pen...