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!

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