Adam Savage builds a steampunk rickshaw to be pulled by a Boston Dynamics robot

The fine folks at Boston Dynamics, busy building our future robotic overlords, have loaned Adam Savage a Spot robot for the Tested team to play with.

For his first project, Adam built a gorgeous steampunk/Victorian rickshaw for Spot to pull. The results are glorious.

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Robert Conrad, star of "The Wild Wild West" TV series, has died

TV actor Robert Conrad, best known for his portrayal of Jim West on the very quirky, proto-steampunky 60s sci-fi Western, The Wild Wild West, has died. He was 84.

When I was a kid growing up in the late 60s, I loved The Wild Wild West, although frequently, I had no idea what was going on. I basically hung around for the goofy Batman-like super villains and the crazy steam-driven contraptions. Here's an example of the show at its wackiest.

Read the Robert Conrad obit on Deadline.

Image: Public Domain Read the rest

Steampunk nearly went mainstream, then nearly vanished

John Brownlee traces the rise and fall of steampunk, a genre and aesthetic I know is close to many hearts 'round these parts. (Some of my own thoughts on the matter are quoted.) The arrival of smartphones was a key moment, he writes, putting technology permanently within reach -- and beyond it.

Divorced of their gear-cog trappings, the best parts of steampunk live on as a wide-scale design and political movement known as Right to Repair. This movement, which is picking up steam among state legislatures (and vehemently opposed by major tech companies like Apple), is ostensibly about combating forced obsolescence and breaking the modern consumer electronic upgrade cycle, through legislation that forces companies to make their products repairable by the end user. In other words, it’s about empowerment and transparency: the right to understand the technology you depend upon.

From that perspective, steampunk never died at all. It just lost the “Jules Verne goth” aesthetic and went mainstream.

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Roger Wood's latest haul of wheeled, steampunk clocks

Roger Wood (previously), the bonkers steampunk assemblage clock sculptor, just sent this to his Klockwerks mailing list: "This is what I created in February." Read the rest

"London Cries": the merchants' patter of 19th Century London

One genre of 19th Cen illustrated pamphlet was the "Cries of London" (previously), which celebrated the market traders' characteristic sales patter, which were catalogued as a kind of urban birdsong. Read the rest

Astronomea: a gorgeous, handmade, astronomy inspired desk lamp

Art Donovan (previously) writes, "Delivered. A very special design commission for the Project Director of NASA's James Webb Space Telescope. A 'white glove' delivery, in fact. The first lamp in 28 years that I simply could not trust to survive the ravages of FedEx." Read the rest

Teacup holsters

Apparently, teacup holsters have been a thing since at least 2016. But it was just today that I was introduced to them (through this post humorously captioned "Open carry, in the UK..."). Needless to say, I'm a big fan.

Want one? There are many different varieties on Etsy: Leather ones, fancy Jacquard fabric ones, and someone's even selling sewing patterns for them.

image via LeatherHeds

Thanks, Argyre! Read the rest

Rudy Rucker's latest steampunk novel: "Return to the Hollow Earth," a voyage starring Santa Cruz hippies and Edgar Allan Poe

Rudy Rucker writes, "'Return to the Hollow Earth' is my new steampunk novel of the Hollow Earth." Read the rest

Hiroshi Unno's 'The Art of Fantasy, Sci-fi and Steampunk'

I can not read or understand very much of Hiroshi Unno's The Art of Fantasy, Sci-fi and Steampunk, but it is a visual treat!

This tome collects images and art from novels, early fantasy and romance to steampunk. Unno catalogs the incredible maturation of fantasy art work from the 19th century today.

I spent a couple hours leafing through this book, and it will live on my coffee table for quite a while.

The Art of Fantasy, Sci-fi and Steampunk by Hiroshi Unno via Amaozn Read the rest

Intricate steampunk leathercraft bags

Yeochang Yun makes lots of remarkable handmade leather items, but this colorful steampunk piece with cogs and locks is especially impressive. Below are a few other examples: Read the rest

Charles Stross's "Dark State": transdimensional, nuclear-tipped mutually assured destruction by way of a first-rate spy novel

Dark State is the sequel to Empire Games, a reboot/latter phase of Charles Stross's longrunning, excellent economic science fiction/high fantasy Merchant Princes series.

Vinegar Valentines: Villainous Victorian woodcuts that lament the irritations of engaging tradesmen

Spitalfields Life highlights a selection of the "Villainous Valentines," Victorian-era prints that illustrate the irritations of hiring different kinds of tradesmen, accompanied by appropriate doggerel. It's like a bougie mirror-world version of London Labour and the London Poor, with illustrations by way of John Tenniel. Read the rest

Three impossibly beautiful assemblage clock-sculptures

From Roger Wood's Klockwerks mailing list. Read the rest

Kickstarting a new Girl Genius collection

Phil Foglio (previously) writes, "Studio Foglio is kickstarting a new Girl Genius Collection! The Incorruptible Library covers the adventures of Agatha Heterodyne and her friends as they journey beneath the streets of Paris. There they encounter hidden subterranean civilizations, forgotten labyrinths filled with secrets, and a healthy dollop of Adventure, Romance, and Mad Science!" Read the rest

Translate between Charles Babbage's computing jargon and modern terminology

If you're intending to build an analytical engine with a six-sided prism to run Charles Babbage's weird cardboard vaporware program, you will need some help with Babbage's notes, as old Charles was inventing a whole technical vocab from scratch. Read the rest

Lovely cast aluminum and brass science fiction sculptures

Scott Nelles is a Wisconsin sculptor who works in cast brass and aluminum, making beautiful, whimsical pieces with a strong science fictional flare tinged with strealined dieselpunk. Read the rest

It’s about Time: Reading Steampunk’s Rise and Roots

In Like Clockwork: Steampunk Pasts, Presents, and Futures , Rachel A. Bowser and Brian Croxall present a lively, engaging collection of essays about the past, present, future (and alternate versions thereof) of steampunk culture, literature and meaning, ranging from disability and queerness to ethos and digital humanities. We're proud to present this long excerpt from the book's introduction.

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