Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Steampunk Reviews and Steampunk Aristocrat

An interesting new blog has appeared very recently, bridging the gap between the blogosphere and audio-visual reviews.

Brass and Brown Leather aims to be a different kind of blog, produced by the Lady Victoria, "steampunk aristocrat and the creator of Steampunk Reviews" on YouTube. Her reviews seek to bring steampunk to the masses, and cover films, books, clothing, and everything across the steamy aether. Her latest brings a review of The Etched City by Australian KJ Bishop. Her next review features Abney Park, a band which needs no further introduction from me.

More than this - and here is where things become more interesting - Victoria

opted to create this little blog to give those who are interested a further look into the machinations of a woman who has made it her goal to incorporate the steampunk aesthetic into her lifestyle in whatever way possible.
And thus, two postings in, we begin to observe the transformation of Victoria into a full-fledged aristocratic 'punkette, and her journey should prove interesting, both for those embarking upon this journey themselves, and for those further along the jetstream.
A brave step, and one which should be supported heartily! I would urge experienced 'punks and 'punkettes to drop in with helpful hints and advice!

Monday, 13 July 2009

The Obscure Cities, or, Urbicande

To my unending shame, I realise that I have been remiss in my explorations. I return from a sojourn into the hinterland with news that many have already made the journey to the Obscure Cities.

A series of graphic novels originating in Belgium, the Urbicande is a long-running project by the genii Francois Buiton and Benoit Peeters which explores the wonderful societies of the architecturally unique cities of the title. The series is currently being updated and expanded, with new English translations, which will hopefully open up this incredible world to a wider audience.

Set in an alternative reality, and obsessively detailed and chronicled, each novel is set in a different city, each with its own dark secrets. Drawing on a vast array of sources, including art nouveau, Pugin, modernism, alternative histories, the industrial revolution, biology and more, Buiton and Peeters have created a deep, rich world which draws you in ever deeper. This world is consistent and solid, drawing upon real events and people to weave complicated and integrated tales across the novels, and is a joy to read as well as view. From airships to children integrated and welded into machines, to the elderly and insane living in the highest peaks of immense skyscrapers, this is a dark and labrynthine journey into the unknown.

A vast community of enthusiasts has grown amongst the aether, and I would urge you to explore them. Such wonders may be found here, here, here, and a good precis (with links) may be found here.

New Steampunk authors, blog, magazine!

Two excitingly new sites hove into view through the Clouds, semaphoring madly, both featuring new steampunk writing!

The first is a new blog, by Ms C Taylor, of New England, USA. She started writing several years ago and hasn't stopped, recently starting a new blog - http://asteampunkreverie.blogspot.com/ - dedicated to steampunk, writing in general, and writing in the steampunk genre.

Ms Taylor has

debated for some time as to whether or not to start one, but with my first steampunk novel completed and the second in the series underway, I thought it would be a good idea. As I've gone through researching my book, I've come across such a wealth of information on the victorian age, in addition to steampunk, that I thought I would share.
and her blog is welcome indeed. As she notes, "if you are a writer and have tried to get your works published, then you will know it is no easy feat", and she welcomes your comments, experiences and suggestions.
The blog also features the first few pages of Viridis, her steampunk romance with a mystery woven through. I look forward to seeing how this tale, and her blog, progress, as I'm sure this would be a help and haven for burgeoning writers of the steampunk genre.
More excitingly, she is launching a competition for budding authors! Please, visit, debate and engage!

Second to signal across the cirro-stratus is Mr Teador Reljic from the clouds above Malta. Schlock is a monthly anthology featuring short and serialised fiction, illustration and photography.
A monthly magazine produced by a genre-fiction collective from Malta, the aim is to publish original works of speculative fiction, exploring various subgenres through experimental fusions in style and format. Schlock’s contemporary themes take a playful and irreverent look at genre fiction, given individual flair by a monthly rotation of writers and artists.

The June 09 edition of Schlock Magazine is a steampunk themed issue:

Join us as we plumb the laudanum laced depths of Victoria’s brilliantine Empire, into a world of fairy tales and forgotten cities, imperiled queens and imperious concubines, a sensuous medley of mechanical ravishments unlike anything you’re likely to experience ever again.

Stories from our stately coterie of contributers are graced by illustrations and pictures courtesy of Ellen, Marco, Malicia and Mark. To top it all off, we’ve enlisted the help of Malta’s finest photographers Denise Scicluna (http://www.denisescicluna.com/), Matthew Attard Navarro(http://www.whoishutch.com/) and Mark Casha (also our resident designer) to realise a garden party of truly debauched proportions with participants drawn from our very own Schlock storytellers. Not forgetting especial thanks for the aesthetic prowess and multifaceted wardrobes of Mlles. Sarah Micallef, Carla Said, and Maria Muscat. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Stories include: Catharsis by Ellen Pace; The Prince and the Priest by Bettina Borg Cardona; Bee Brains by Peter Farrugia; All Due to Clockwork by Marco Attard; The Wind-Up Time Machine by Kris Green; The Architect’s Epiphany by Daniel Vella; A Simple Request by Teodor Reljic; Frou Frou Paints the Town Pink! by Lara Schembri; The Killing Machine by Michael Vella
Steampunk is alive and well in Malta, and this collective deserves some serious attention! Please, visit their site.