Steampunk magazine #9

Margaret Killjoy sez, "Steampunk Magazine #9 is out and available for order. The pdf is up as well. New orders and pre-orders will be going out this weekend! 118 ad-free, Creative-Commons pages of steampunk mad science, lifestyle, fiction, and history. Including an interview with Cory Doctorow and how to make hydrogen airships out of condoms."

SteamPunk Magazine 9 (Thanks, Margaret!) Read the rest

Kickstarting the next Girl Genius volume with Kaja and Phil Foglio

Kaja and Phil Foglio have launched a Kickstarter to fund the printing of volume 12 of the wonderful Girl Genius webcomic, and to reprint the older books. These are multi-award-winning, independent steampunk delights, and $30 gets you "an actual, dead-tree, SOFTCOVER copy of Girl Genius Volume 12: Agatha Heterodyne and the Siege of Mechanicsburg. 192 pages in full color. Shipped to you by means of one of the largest government agencies on Earth!"

Printing the actual books is our biggest single expense. The first print run of a typical volume costs in excess of US$25,000. If that seems high, you must remember that we print eight thousand of them, and they usually run to around 120 pages. Our latest volume, number 12, will be even more expensive, as it comes in at 192 pages, and we’ll be printing nine thousand of them, because eight thousand wasn’t enough last time. Exciting? Yes, but one can’t pay the printer with excitement.

We also have to ship the books. Actually, we have to ship them twice. Once from the printer to the fulfillment center, and once again from the fulfillment center to the customer. And whether a book is shrink–wrapped with thousands of its friends onto a pallet and loaded into a truck, or carefully packaged for individual shipping, several thousand pounds of books cost serious money to transport.

It's got a short fuse on it because they want to get the books in hand in time for San Diego Comic-Con. Act now! Read the rest

UK Home Office commissions a super villain-catching-machine from Prof. Elemental

Professor Elemental receives a commission from the government to build a marvellous snooping machine.

The steampunk creations of Will Rockwell

John Biggs interviews steampunk designer Will Rockwell: "He began his career as a TV producer but he always loved to tinker with metals, leather, and wood – the three components of good steampunk." [TechCrunch Makers] Read the rest

New Bob Basset mask with added angularity

A new piece from Ukrainian steampunk leather mask-maker Bob Basset. I like the angular forms here -- there's something a bit Roman in it, to my eye at least.

DW new. Steampunk Art Leather Mask Read the rest

Assemblage raygun

The latest piece from mad assemblage sculptor Roger Wood is this delightful ray-gun: "Another mental health break from clocks with this Steampunk ray gun and charging stand." Read the rest

Steampunk DJ mask from Bob Basset

The wonderful folks at Bob Basset in Ukraine have a new piece up, the "Steampunk DJ Mask," of which I'm rather fond.

New Steampunk DJ Mask Read the rest

PDX event for "Vintage Tomorrows: A Historian And A Futurist Journey Through Steampunk Into The Future of Technology"

Hey, Portlandians! Brian David Johnson and James H Carrott are doing a talk and signing for their new book, Vintage Tomorrows: A Historian And A Futurist Journey Through Steampunk Into The Future of Technology, a fascinating look at the historical significance of steampunk, and an exploration of what the popularity of steampunk today's means about tomorrow's technology, at the Cedar Hills Crossing Powell's on March 25 at 7PM.

Steampunk, a mashup in its own right, has gone mainstream, with music videos from the likes of Nicki Minaj; America’s Next Top Model photo shoots; and Prada’s Fall/Winter menswear collection featuring haute couture, steampunk style. Some steampunk fans revile this celebrity. But James H. Carrott, co-author of Vintage Tomorrows, says that’s just how cultural change happens. “Things get appropriated; they affect the culture in some way or another, and the people who are at the heart of trying to make that change move onto the next key idea.”

So what is steampunk, exactly, and why should we care? Carrott, a cultural historian, says “steampunk is playing with the past.” The world that steampunk envisions is a mad-inventor’s collection of 21st century-inspired contraptions, powered by steam and driven by gears. It’s a whole new past; one that has a lot to say about the futures we want to see.

In Vintage Tomorrows, Intel’s resident futurist Brian David Johnson (@IntelFuturist) joins Carrott (@CultHistorian) in a globe-spanning journey to dig beyond definitions and into the heart of this growing subculture. Through interviews with experts such as Margaret Atwood, China Miéville, William Gibson, Cory Doctorow, Bruce Sterling, and James Gleick, this book looks into steampunk’s vision of old-world craftsmen making beautiful hand-tooled gadgets, and what it means for our age of disposable technology.

Read the rest

What is good and important about steampunk

Nick Harkaway's essay "The Steampunk Movement is Good and Important" does a good job of answering charges that steampunk is cover for racism or colonialism, and does an even better job of explaining the attraction of steampunk technological visions to a modern artist:

Just as it would be tragic to ignore the advantages and consolations of the cognitive - and those who denigrate it in favour of a romanticised understanding of the instinctual or the mystical slander themselves - so equally it is idle and spurious to contend that we are cognitive entities riding around in bony control centres in our skulls, peeping out through windows in the face. We are not just brains with mobile life support. The emerging understanding of embodied cognition is the last nail in the coffin of that idea. We are bodies which think, and we’re at home with Steampunk because it is an ethos of design and creativity which acknowledges the humanly physical, that which we can understand with our fingers. It values our bounded selves, whose world is the middle earth between the flea and the horizon line in which objects obey Newton and relativity is barely more than an academic interest. It is a cognitively limited and incomplete sort of place. In terms of our senses, though, it’s all there is, and Steampunk is about being able to have the wonders of technology while still valuing, acknowledging and respecting that restricted view.

From that one central aspect of its identity, Steampunk mounts a challenge to grey-black plastic industrial design, to the faux-sanitised world of consumer technology and to techno-/neo-colonialism.

Read the rest

Top hat with a zoetrope inside

For a mere $500 (which is truly a bargain here), Etsy seller Ramonpiper will make you a custom top-hat with a zoetrope inside it, whose moving images can be viewed through a porthole in its high cylinder.

Articulated, flapping steampunk wings

"Fully articulated. the wings rise and fall, assisted by custom carved black walnut handles. The wings are affixed with bonded vinyl/leather straps."

Insect Inspector leather mask

The latest from steampunk/fetish maskmaker Bob Basset is the "Insect Inspector": "Leather, Brass, Glass, soviet gas mask parts."

Insect Inspector. Steampunk art Leather Gas mask. Read the rest

Steampunky concept motorcyle

This is the creation of Mikhail Smolyanov, whose concept bike designs are, to a one, wonderful to behold. Funnily nostalgic, gloriously impractical, and beautifully rendered.

Solifague Design (via Kadrey) Read the rest

Edwardian Ball and World's Faire 2013, captured in video

"Operatic shenanigans at the Edwardian Ball 2013, with the Vau de Vire Society, excessive corsetry and several steampunk googles sightings!"

Britons rejoice! The Foglios' Agatha H books come to the UK

I've previously reviewed Phil and Kaja Foglios' Agatha H books, these being prose adaptations of their spectacular, award-winning Girl Genius comics. Now, the UK's Titan Books has brought out the first two novels in handsome paperback editions, reasonably priced for all to enjoy.

The transition from comic to print works surprisingly well. While the action sequences sometimes feel a little like a script for a comic, they're always funny and delightful. The effect is a little like the high-speed feeling of reading a fast-paced comic, but with the depth of character that you get from a prose-novel's capacity for introspection and internal monologue.

In the Girl Genius world, the Industrial Revolution has all but destroyed the world, thanks to the Sparks, industrial wizards who are born with the mad scientist's ability to make uncanny machines and lifeforms that upend order and send villagers fleeing to the hills. Finally, Baron Klaus Wulfenbach brings some order to the chaos by conquering Europe and grinding it under his (surprisingly benign) iron heel. Agatha Crumb is a lab assistant at Transylvania Polygnostic University, ward of two "constructs" (reanimated corpses) that dote on her and care for her in her parents' absence. When her benefactor is killed by the Baron's men (and monsters), she is forced to flee, but before long, she is the Baron's prisoner aboard his flying airship castle, "the only capital city that was able to patrol its own empire."

Filled with folgian touches -- Borscht-belt comedy accents, things that go sproing, adorkable sentient machines, and laugh-a-minute slapstick -- Agatha H is a tremendously fun addition to the Girl Genius canon.

Read the rest

Bob Basset steampunk leather mask art-calendar

Bob Basset -- Boing Boing favorites, steampunk and fetish maskmakers -- have issued a rather lovely art calendar for 2013 with Mell Ghandy.

Bob Basset and Mell Ghandy Art Calendar 2013 Read the rest

Space: 1899, RIP Gerry Anderson

A fitting tribute to Gerry Anderson, who died yesterday in his sleep at the age of 83.

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