Tag Archives: “guest blogger”

The Sunshine Steam: An Account of the Inaugural Florida Steampunk Society Exhibition East, Part 2–Guest blog by S.J. Chambers

Note: This is Part 2 of a two-part series about S.J.’s steampunk adventures in Florida. Read Part 1 here.

Abney Park at the Florida Steampunk Society Exhibition East, Daytona Beach Resort, Florida.

The main event was Saturday night.  Opening with Cog is Dead, an intermission performance by local artist Perego, the audience was thoroughly warmed up for headliners Abney Park. This was my first time seeing the “quintessential” Steampunk band live, and I was really impressed with how the band’s energy fed into the audience and vice versa.

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The Sunshine Steam: An Account of the Inaugural Florida Steampunk Society Exhibition East–Guest blog by S.J. Chambers

Note: This is Part 1 of a two-part series about S.J.’s steampunk adventures in Florida. Stay tuned Wednesday this week for the rest!

Dr. Imro: Impressive medicine cabinet of Dr. Imro, Provider of epic potions, tablets, and lotions. Made to be worn like a backpack for house calls.

When I first heard there was going to be a Florida Steampunk convention, I had two reactions. The first was “Yay! Home state representing.”  Second was, “What on Earth would Florida Steampunk be, exactly?”  Would it be corset jumpers and flip-flops? Solar blocking monocles and Mecha-Gator surf boards? There was only one way to get an answer, and it was to check it out myself.

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Victorianism without Victoria: on Mexican Steampunk – Guest blog by Hodson & Translated by Miguel Ángel Manzo Martínez

Note: This article is also available to read in Spanish on El Investigador’s website / Este artículo está disponible para leer en español. Thanks go out to El Investigador’s Editor-in-Chief Araceli Rodríguez, and magazine writers Hodson and Miguel for their time and effort in getting this piece together for Beyond Victoriana.

There are many reasons why the Victorian era is considered the Golden Age of the British Empire. Not only the economic and social stability came at a time where social inequalities were as big as scientific advances, but the huge explosion of advances in production, communications and transportation allowed the existence of a global colonial government facilitated by the ability to improve the response time of all regional governments.

At a time when the great modern empires grew and spread across five continents populated by man, Victorianism quickly became the spirit of the time. The idea of progress and mastery of time through greater efficiency in transport and production was a constant among all the nations of the world, and those who had the power to launch big technology and conquest ventures, had secured a bright future in the international area.

The Victorian era was undoubtedly the light bulb that shines light upon this century. It was the time when big government combined a vision of the future and the present into an immediate moment that inspired prosperity and development.

For those living in First World countries, it is easy to imagine a glorious past that never ceased to be, and it is done through an alternate technological advanced reality. Whether it’s a world of steam or of world war, to imagine that moment of past glory is not a particularly difficult endeavor.

But I dare to say that for those who live this kind of retro-futurism from the Third World, must be a little more difficult to imagine a glorious past drawn from the very distant past of their own 19th century. Just remember that the Victorian era was the era of colonialism. The steampunk retro-futurism of the Victorian era in England is diametrically different from Latin American’s Victorian era, for example, at least conceptually.

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#101 “Afro-Celtic Post-Roman, Icepunk Regency Novel”: A Review of Kate Elliot’s COLD MAGIC — Guest Blog by Maeve Alpin

You may be familiar with Kate Elliot’s previous books, the Crossroads Trilogy, The Crown of Stars septology, the Novels of the Jaran, and The Golden Key, her collaboration with Melanie Rawn and Jennifer Roberson. Cold Magic, an adventurous multicultural steampunk novel is just as marvelous.

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#100 On Madam Tinubu – Guest Blog by Eccentric Yoruba

Note: This essay is cross-posted with permission from Eccentric Yoruba.

Madam Efunroye Tinubu was among the most prominent and powerful Yoruba women in pre-colonial Nigeria (early to mid 19th century). Other renowned Yoruba women from that period were Iyalode Efunsetan Aniwura and Madam Omosa, both of whom deserve posts of their own.

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#99 On Jewish Folklore in Steampunk: A Review of Steampunk Torah and Merkabah Rider — Guest Blog by Rachel Landau

"Beis Midrash" by Boris Dubrov. Click for source.

“Hey, did you know giraffes are kosher?”

This made worldwide news in 2008, when a rabbi certified that giraffe milk was indeed kosher. The giraffe chews its cud and has split hooves, and its milk curdles.

Thus: kosher! How wacky of those Jews!

But this wasn’t news to me: I learned this in the third grade, along with the other rules of kashrut and shechita. We don’t eat giraffes, of course, not just because they’re endangered, but because according to Jewish law, you need to slice the arteries at a certain point, so that the blood drains most quickly and the animal dies without prolonged suffering. We know where that place is on a cow, but we’re not sure where that would be on a giraffe. So giraffes are off the menu – but they’re on the approved list.

To me, this story exemplifies much of Jewish law and modern Judaism. With a few basic axioms – just like Euclid’s – you can build a logical framework that supports any question you might have. Accept that G-d exists, and that He gave the Torah to us, and then hundreds of logical implications follow. This is the logical Judaism, the way we make sense of four thousand years of heritage and dense books and missing links. And it does make sense, one law leading to another, one interpretation and one rabbi at a time.

One of the main sources of the interpretation is the Midrash, a collection of interpretations, stories, and parables that explain the text of the Torah.

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#97 The Path Without End: An Anishinaabe Steampunk Film — Guest Blog by Elizabeth Lameman

Note from Ay-leen:  On the blog, I reviewed Professor Lameman’s one-shot comic The West Was Lost. It’s a pleasure to have her speak here about her newest Native steampunk work, The Path Without End.  This short film will be screened at the upcoming art festivals: imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival, October 19-23, 2011, in Toronto, Ontario and the Skábmagovat Film Festival, January 26-29, 2012, in Finland.

The Path Without End is a retelling of Anishinaabe stories of Moon People who traveled here from the stars by canoe.  The title is a direct reference to Basil Johnston’s retelling.  In this telling, I recreate the Human and Moon lovers as they travel, propagate, and face the unending chase of colonization.

I have been largely inspired by my mother, Grace L. Dillon, whose scholarship is in what she refers to as Indigenousfuturism.  She advocates for Indigenous writers of science fiction.  In fact, Indigenous peoples have been telling science fiction stories from the beginning.  In a sense, in The Path, the planets are both the cosmos themselves but also spiritual planes and representations of the landmasses on earth.  There is no single reading of the story.

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#95 The Sworn Virgins of Albania–Guest blog by Historicity (Was Already Taken)

Note: This was cross-posted with permission from Historicity (Was Already Taken).

The Kanuni i Leke Dukagjinit (The Code of Lekë Dukagjini) is an oral law code which ruled the lives of those residing in the Northern Albanian area for at least five centuries. It was first codified in the 15th century by the Albanian Prince Lekë Dukagjini, but it was not written down until the 19th century. For this reason, scholars are unsure as to its origins.

The Kanun is divided into 12-14 sections (depending on which version you are looking at) dealing with church, family, marriage, house, livestock, property, work, spoken word, honor, damages, criminal law, judicial law, and exemptions and exceptions. In short, it governed every aspect of daily life.

Of women, the Kanun says: “A woman is a sack made to endure.” Under the Kanun, women are the property of their fathers, and later of their husbands and their husbands’ family. There were very few jobs women could hold, and many establishments they were not allowed to enter.

However, what is fascinating about the Kanun is that it provides a way for women to regain control over their lives; it is a loophole, of sorts. In fact, you could even call it empowering if you are speaking from a pre-feminist standpoint.

The loophole was that women had the ability to become a man in the eyes of both family and society. The women who became men were, and still are, known as sworn virgins. Upon taking a vow set forth in the Kanun, a woman would dress like a man, act like a man, work like a man, and command the respect accorded to a man; the only thing she was not allowed to do was to engage in sexual activity.

Sworn virgin Shkurtan Hasanpapaj worked for many years as a high ranking officer for the Communist Party. She supervised many men, and none questioned her authority as a man even as the government body they worked for strove to stamp out adherence to the Kanun.


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“Can Steampunk Look Towards the Future?” Vintage Tomorrows Screening Report on Tor.com

What does a futurist, a cultural historian, and one of the world’s leading tech companies have to do with steampunk? Perhaps, well, a lot more than you think. The Tomorrow Project by Intel is a series of conversations with leading scientists, engineers, thinkers, historians, and science fiction writers about how today’s most imaginative minds can construct new ways of seeing the future. One of their documentaries, Vintage Tomorrows, filmed by Byrd McDonald of Porter Panther Productions and produced by Brian David Johnson, proposes that steampunk is one method people are using in order to understand the impact of technology today. A highlight of my weekend at New York Comic Con was watching a rough-cut version of this film, where the question of steampunk, technology, and social change comes into play.

[Read the Rest on Tor.com]

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#94 Luis Senarens, Penny Dreadful Author from Brooklyn–Guest Blog by Miriam Rocek

An illustration from Jack Wright and his Electric Stage; or, Leagued Against the James Boys published in 1893

It’s no secret that what we currently call “steampunk” has its roots in the speculative, imaginative fiction of the 19th century. People often cite Jules Verne as the founding author of the steampunk genre, but he was one of a number of authors who wrote fiction dealing with elaborate, futuristic technologies. During the 19th century, there was one man referred to as “the American Jules Verne,” whose works are full of quintessentially steampunk elements. There’s a steam-powered mechanical man, racing across the American plains, a bullet-proof, electrically powered 19th century stage-coach, hot in pursuit of the Jesse James Gang, not to mention an electrical flying machine. The stories revolve around a boy-genius inventor, and all of them are set, and were written, before 1896. The author’s identity was appropriately exciting to the imagination; he wrote under the intriguing pseudonym “Noname,” a mysterious, unknown presence, producing fantastic works at an astonishing rate, including twenty-six stories in 1893 alone.

Before there was television, before there were movie theaters, before there were comic books, there were dime novels. Called “penny dreadfuls” in England, these were cheaply printed, floridly written adventure stories, lurid, exciting, and intended for a popular audience. They were read by children and adults, men and women. They were working class entertainment, easily purchased, easily hidden from a schoolteacher or other disapproving authority figure, and easily devoured in a single day. They ranged from romances to detective stories, from horror to western, covering every genre that might appeal to readers eager for excitement. The works of Noname were wildly successful dime novels, telling stories of adventurers and inventors.

What is interesting about Noname, apart from the stories he created, is that he was two people. Much like the Dread Pirate Roberts, “Noname” was a pseudonym that was handed down from one man to another. The second, and by far the most prolific of these two men was in reality Luis Senarens, a Cuban American man from Brooklyn, who was just sixteen years old when, in 1879, he took over writing a series of dime novels about a boy inventor and adventurer named Frank Reade.

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