Hello fans and followers!
In case you aren’t aware, I moved full time over to SteampunkJournal.org in 2016. Many of the articles and reviews on this site have been updated and reposted to that website already. Plus, I’ve added tons more content both there and on my author website. In an effort to keep from “competing with myself,” I will soon begin the process of removing the material from this site and permanently closing it down.
I am also going to launch a monthly newsletter through my author website starting in November. Subscribers will receive a FREE e-copy of my 150-page reference collection, The Steampunk Handbook. This is the very best of my articles from both For Whom the Gear Turns, the Journal, and guest posts, all in one convenient place. Plus, about 1/3 of it is all new material that has never been posted online. The book includes the history of Steampunk as a genre, tips and tropes for “punking your steam,” and descriptions of various books, movies, and other media in the Steampunk genre to help you find even more to love!
Why give it away for free, you ask? First of all, I’m incredibly grateful to everyone who has helped and supported me over the past 5 years as a Steampunk blogger and author. So, this is the best way I could think of to say THANK YOU. So come on over to Phoebedarqueling.com and put your email address into the bar at the bottom. When the book is finished, I will send you your FREE COPY in both epub and mobi formats!
I am still in the process of doing the final revisions, but check out this awesome cover made for me by P.R. Chase. You’re the first ones to see it 🙂 The goal is to have The Steampunk Handbook ready to send before my appearance at TeslaCon Nov 15-18. Later, it will also be available to purchase, but I’m starting out offering it exclusively as a free gift to my awesome fans.
My second reason for giving away this book is that I’m celebrating! Both of my novels were recently picked up by publishers and I am over the moon about it. I’ve already revealed the cover of Riftmaker, my YA portal fantasy adventure coming out Feb 14, 2019.
My official announcement for the second novel is coming up soon, but I’m keeping the details under my hat for the moment so Riftmaker gets a chance to shine for a little while before sharing the spotlight with No Rest for the Wicked, an adult paranormal thriller. People who subscribe to my newsletter are going to get all the details first, so head on over to my author site and put your email address in the bar at the bottom to sign up!
So THANK YOU once again for being fantastic followers, commenters, and sharers over the past 5 years. I look forward to hanging out with over at the Journal, through my author site, or on my Facebook group, United we Steampunk Divided we Fall.
I have started work on the sequel to Riftmaker, and I am planning to include a super cool Steampunk submarine. I have been collecting images for inspiration so I thought I’d share the fruits of my labors with you. When possible, I have credited the artist but most of these images came via Pinterest so if you see something miss-credited or you know who was the brains behind a certain sub please let me know.
There is some debate about whether or not something can truly be called “Steampunk” if it was created before the term was coined in 1987. Personally, I like to include all kinds of things under that umbrella if they feature motifs and styles that would appeal to Steampunk fans no matter when they were made. Remedios Varo was a Spanish artist who lived from 1908-1963, and her beautiful artwork could certainly fit into the Steampunk canon even though it predates the movement by decades. She is clearly influenced by Gothic and Surrealistic styles, as well as by the works of other Spanish artists such as Pablo Picasso and one of my personal favorites, “El Greco” who was active during the late 1500s and early 1600s. Here is a sampling of her artwork to inspire your own creations.
There are lots of artists doing interesting and often Steampunkish things with insectoid forms, or even the insects themselves. Check out my gallery of just a smattering of these amazing works of art.
I found out from following the Pandora Society that both the Indiana and Kentucky Steampunk Societies are having a competition this month. Both states are looking for new designs for pins based on each one’s state seal. I am pretty clumsy in the Adobe design suite, but overall I am quite pleased with what I could do.
Above is my submission for Indiana, which substitutes a teacup-wielding robot arm for a torch and gears for stars (source material at left). The Kentucky design is below, and I decided to focus on the motto, “United We Stand, Divided We Fall” rather than the picture on the seal. I was hoping to capture a “Writers and Makers Unite!” sort of vibe. What do you think?
The prize is free admission to either the 2015 or 2016 International Steampunk Symposium, which is held in Cincinnati annually. I am already planning my visit in 2016, and getting to contribute to the Midwest Steampunk efforts would be icing on the cake.
In order to enter I have to post my design on my own site, but voting doesn’t start until Feb. 17 so I’ll let you know how to cast your ballot for my designs once voting commences. Want to try yourself? Here are the details.
Wish me luck!
Ever since watching the campy Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes I have been thinking about mechanical dragons. I have been sitting on a photo of the new mechanized Malificent-as-a-dragon from Disney’s parade for months, so I went out and scoured the interwebs for some more scaly Steampunk friends to join her. I hope you enjoy the gallery!
While I was in Lincoln for Weekend at the Asylum in September I got a chance to meet several of the Steampunk world’s writers and traders. During the run of Longitude Punk’d at the Royal Observatory, the Cutty Sark was also featuring a tea-riffic exhibit of Dr. Geoff’s printwork. And then at the markets for Asylum, I got a chance to meet that man himself selling his wares. We traded stickers and had a nice little chat, and I got to see more of his whimsical work. Most of his work has a military bent, while other pieces dabble in the risque, but for me that is the fun!
The good Doctor also offers a variety of Steampunk-inspired pins and patches to compliment his work on paper, and you can see what he has to offer on his website.
That’s right folks, it’s time for a monster mash. One popular way to “punk your steam” is to add elements of the supernatural to the tales from history, offering explanations that incorporate ghouls such as vampires and werewolves rather than what the history books say, as well creating brand new narratives where monsters play a role. Also, the Victorian era saw the birth of Spiritualism, the belief that spirits of the dead could and often did communicate with the living. All Hallows Eve, which has now been shortened to Halloween, celebrates the creepy and costume, and Steampunk seamstresses and seamsters, make-up artists and makers the world over use it as a chance to showcase their talents and share their knowledge.
Halloween has always held a special place in my heart, and in fact I launched this blog on October 31, 2013, so October is also my countdown the my first blogging birthday. Join me all month long for reviews of Steampunk movies and books that feature monsters and witches, costume construction tips from the sessions I attended at Weekend at the Asylum, LARP-ing games to give you an excuse to dust off your costume early, and other spooky fun surrounding the history of ghost stories and the practices of Spiritualism.
Do you have a scary or supernatural Steampunk story or photos of your Halloween creations that you would like to see appear on this blog? Send them my way at ForWhomTheGearTurns@Gmail.com. I can’t guarantee that I will post everything I receive, but I would love to get some submissions from readers. Make sure that you include the name you would like your creation attributed to as part of your email.
Besides the amazing outfits and incredible sessions, there was also an exhibition of Steampunk arts and crafts during the convention. There were some fun gadgets, punked paintings and imaginative accessories on display all weekend in the Tennyson Suite of the Bailgate Assembly Rooms. Check out the gallery below, and if you want to know about any particular work or artist, feel free to leave me a comment. I took pictures of almost all of the labels for the gizmos and I can pass them on if you want more info.
My blogger buddy Bia Helvetti just pointed out this amazing movie-in-the-making and I couldn’t wait to share. According to the website for Adventures of Victoria Clarke:
“Stylistically, “Victoria Clarke” borrows heavily from the world of Steampunk, and its sub-culture sometimes referred to as Dieselpunk. Unlike traditional steampunk, which is Victorian-based, we are rooted in the pre-WWII world of Hollywood, and so borrow technology from World War I and Art Deco design influences. However, because Victoria’s family is solidly rooted in Victorian London, fanciful technologies, the designs of Edison and Tesla, and the writings of HG Wells and Jules Verne heavily influence both the design aesthetic and story elements.
The story is based in history, yet features fantastical machines, characters and events that only exist in the alternative reality of our created world. The tone is fun, retro and sexy, and punctuated with periods of intense comic book style action.”
The film was partially funded through a crowdsource website called Indiegogo, but they were short of their goal so proceeding has been slow. The website was last updated in June though and reports progress on the screenplay as well as the amazing images above. The plan is to make not only the movie, but a graphic novel series as well. I really hope to see more progress on this enterprise, it looks amazing and the character of Victoria sounds really interesting. Here is another blurb from the site about how she is more than just a pretty face:
I admit it, I am actually wiggling in anticipation of how awesome Steam Tour is going to be. I booked all my shows for Ed Fringe, ordered my Britrail pass and I am dreaming of all the delicious pub grub in my future.
So here’s the plan for week 1:
۞ Jekyll and Hyde
Main Theatre @ Spotlites @ The Merchants’ Hall
- Sat 9 August, 21:30
And after the performance, let’s meet up for a cocktail at the Jekyll and Hyde Pub nearby! I’ll wear my goggles so you can find me, and I’ll bring some “My Other Beep Beep is a Whoosh” airship stickers along for purchase, just one pound per awesome bumper sticker to show off your steamy side 🙂
۞ Victorian Vices – Sweeney Todd and the String of Pearls
Niddry – theSpace Above @ theSpace on Niddry St
- Mon 11 August, 18:00
۞ Victorian Vices – The Picture of Dorian Gray
Niddry – theSpace Above @ theSpace on Niddry St
- Mon 11 August, 20:00
۞ Whisky Tasting
Bennet’s Bar @ Bennets Bar
- Tue 12 August, 14:00
۞ Dolls of New Albion: A Steampunk Opera
Venue 45 @ theSpace @ Venue45
Clockwork Hart Productions
- Tue 12 August, 22:45
۞ 21st Century Poe: Moyamensing
The Vault @ Paradise in The Vault
- Wed 13 August, 17:50
۞ City of the Dead Haunted Graveyard Tour
Outside St. Giles Cathedral @ Black City of the Dead Signs
Black Hart Entertainment
- Wed 13 August, 21:00
۞ Arthur Conan Doyle Experience
The Sanctuary @ Arthur Conan Doyle Centre
Arthur Conan Doyle Centre
- Thu 14 August, 14:00 (x2)
۞ Morgan & West: Parlour Tricks
KingDome @ Pleasance Dome
Corrie McGuire for Objective Talent U
- Thu 14 August, 19:00
Upstairs @ Greenside @ Nicolson Square
The Egg Theatre Company
- Fri 15 August, 10:20
Pleasance Beyond @ Pleasance Courtyard
Action To The Word
- Fri 15 August, 21:20
To help me get ready for the H.G. Wells Sourcebook I am going to write for Steam Tour: An American Steampunk in London, I decided to read several of his scientific romances. I read the Time Machine and The Island of Doctor Moreau several months ago, but it is always interesting to read an author’s whole canon in quick succession. My goal is to read War of the Worlds, First Men in the Moon, Tales of Space and Time and The Door in the Wall at minimum before the ezine comes out, but if you think I am missing something even better than what is on that list let me know!
My experience with War of the Worlds was a bit backwards, because I read League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Vol. 2, and the events of that book are closely related to Wells classic tale, and very faithfully adapted it turns out.
Like many of Wells books, this story started as a serial in magazines rather than as a novel from the beginning. The serial ran during 1897 and it was later compiled into a book in 1898. It is divided into two parts, The Coming of the Martians and Earth Under the Martians. The name of the Surrey-based narrator is never revealed, and he tells the harrowing adventure through his eyes as well as through his brother’s account of what happens to London itself when Martians descend and start an invasion.
One thing that I love about Wells stories is how much of the scientific knowledge of the times he includes in his tales. For instance, the arrival of the Martians is preceded by strange explosions visible on the surface of the red planet, and it takes the Martian pods several weeks to arrive to the outskirts of London. It then takes over a day for the metal to cool down enough for the pods to open. In the meantime, people have started to gather and even sell refreshments around the first pit where they crash-landed. I love that detail, and I absolutely believe it would happen that way. Soon, the festival atmosphere turns to terror when the Martians assemble their deadly heat ray, our narrator only escaping because he had been sent on an errand and was not in the pit with the scientists who first try to make contact. Through a series of near-misses and some quick thinking, the narrator survives the first wave of attacks by the be-tentacled Martians and their huge fighting machines, and tells the story of (in his view) the apex of society falling to pieces in the face of a cold and calculating enemy. He is surprisingly pragmatic about the whole affair, often likening the human race to insects or rodents who are disturbed by the machinations of people. This is not true of most of the people he meets on his way though, and there are several different kinds of madness worked into the narrative.
This is a tale of invasion, but also of devotion between a husband and wife, which took me by surprise. I have only just started to look at Wells personal life, but he carried on a number of affairs during his second marriage after divorcing his first wife, so the commitment shown by the narrator seems inconsistent with what I know of the author.
The first time I ever heard of War of the Worlds it was the story of its broadcast on Halloween 1938. The accounts vary, but in the days following several newspapers reported a wave of fearful folks who believed a real invasion was taking place. They opted to present 40 minutes of the hour-long tale as a series of simulated news bulletins, and this coupled with a lack of commercial breaks added to the realism. There was a disclaimer at the beginning of the show, but anyone who tuned in late could have gotten the impression that they were hearing something that was going on in real time. Most likely, the newspaper accounts of a panicked populace were blown out of proportion because of the competition between traditional print media and the new radio technology. (What?! The news was sensationalized? Never!)
I can definitely see why this book has been adapted and re-adapted several times and in different media. The aliens and their technology remains alien and stands the test of time better than say, First Men in the Moon. It is definitely worth a read, not just because it is a classic but because it is a genuinely interesting social commentary that transcends the time in which it was written.
Have you read it or seen a movie version? What did you think?
The Statue of Liberty, or Liberty Enlightening the World as it is really titled, is among the most iconic landmarks our little blue and green sphere has to offer. My favorite day of my NYC vacation was the one we spent on boats going around the bay and to Liberty Island and Ellis Island. I thought I knew the whole story of this copper colossus, but I learned some great stuff during my visit.
So where did that big green lady come from?
It all started in France. Ostensibly, the statue was a way to mark the friendship between the US and France, and to acknowledge the love of liberty they shared. In reality, it was a resounding raspberry directed at the leadership in France, Napolean the Third. Nap III, as I like to call him, was actually elected to the presidency through a popular vote, but when he was told he could not run for a second term he led a coup and got himself kingafied like his dear old uncle before him. So this huge investment in time and resources was a metaphorical middle finger to Nap III and his total bulldozing of liberty as much or more than a nice gesture to the US. She is facing France directly, her unwavering gaze falling on the very people who, in the eyes of the project directors, were violating liberty the most.
The projected completion date was 1876 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of American independence, but it hit a few hiccups along the way and it was not actually erected until 10 years after the original goal date. As you can imagine, creating a statue that not only measures over 300 feet tall take a lot of engineering imagination, but this statue also had to be able to travel across the ocean and be reassembled on the other side. As an added challenge, the US was in charge of making the pedestal, so the French sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi couldn’t know exactly what to expect when he reached Liberty Island. The torch-bearing forearm of Lady Liberty made an appearance at the 1876 in Philadelpia, and was then displayed in Madison Square Garden until 1882, and the head was a part of the Paris World’s fair in 1878.
In addition to Bartholdi, whose Bartholdi Fountain can still be seen in the US Botanical Garden, such notables as Joseph Pulitzer and Gustave Eiffel also were involved in the construction. Pulitzer was integral to the fundraising effort to complete the base and got the funds by advertising the chance to get your name in the newspaper for any size contribution to the cause. At that time, newspapers were a fairly new commodity, and hundreds of thousands of people sent in their pennies to see their names in print. Eiffel was brought in to assist Bartholdi with the huge feet of engineering the skeleton for the statue, and he created a structure that not only could support the weight of the copper sheets that made up her skin, but would also allow it to expand and contract with the change in seasonal temperatures as well as sway slightly in the high winds of New York’s harbor.
There are many more statues on Liberty Island than just the lady herself. Phillip Ratner created a series of Rodin-like bronzes commemorating those men and women who contributed the most to the completion of the monument.
When the statue was finally ready for its inauguration only men were allowed to attend the ceremony. Angry ladies commissioned boats and led a protest at sea during the event. This is especially ironic given that the famous poem, The New Colossus, was written by a female poet, Emma Lazarus. It was written and donated as part of the fundraising campaign for the pedestal, and now graces the pedestal itself. But Emma herself was barred from attending.
Here is the poem:
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
I have run across one reference in Steampunk literature so far to the statue of liberty as seen by dirigible in The Girl in the Clockwork Collar (Steampunk Chronicles 2). Have you run across any in your Steampunk wanderings? Let me know so I can add them to this post.
Enjoy this gallery of the statue as it was being built, as it appears today and with some fun variations by different artists. If I am missing a credit and you know who did a particular piece, please let me know!
Check out more more Circulus videos at their youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/CirculusTV
I am really happy with my newest experiment! What do you think?
Once I figured out out how to do a hot air balloon I knew I couldn’t stop there! Here is my first (though definitely not my last) attempt at a 3D dirigible/airship. This shadowbox measures 12” x 12” and the back is finished so it can hang on the wall or stand alone on a shelf. I used a combination of glossy and matte papers, but the shiny parts aren’t nearly as shiny in person as they look on the photos. I have a light source directly above my photo area that can give a false impression with its glare.
Each 12 x 12 shadow box takes approximately 10 hours to complete. They start their lives as canvases and are covered by cardstock and paper, then embellished with mixed media accoutrements. I made the dirigible and the boat using a similar method to my Christmas ornaments. Check out the tutorial here.