Thursday, April 28, 2011

Steampunk Goodness



While more and more the word is making its way into popular vernacular, I realise that not everyone automatically knows what the heck it means. For example, when I say my debut YA The Friday Society (Dial, 2012), is a Steampunk Charlie's Angels without the Charlie. . . I imagine there are people out there going, "Charlie's Angels without the Charlie, sounds neat . . . but, uh, what the heck is Steampunk?"

Now, I might do a longer "history of" or "long winded definition of" later, but right now, since I have other stuff to talk about, I thought I'd do a very short definition here.

Steampunk is: contemporary science fiction set in a Victorian/Edwardian world.

Kind of like Jules Verne or H.G. Wells - except that Steampunk is a modern style. Modern authors writing as if they were back in the olden days. Verne and Wells were writing science fiction back in that period itself. So. Movies: think WILD WILD WEST, or THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN, or, to a certain extent, the most recent SHERLOCK HOLMES. Books: LEVIATHAN (Scott Westerfeld), THE HUNCHBACK ASSIGNMENTS (Arthur Slade), and SOULLESS (Gail Carriger). Basically ask yourself, "If I was living in Victorian times, and I was capable of creating, say, a machine that could fly to the moon, what tools from that period would I use to get there?" So . . . steam, for one thing, clockwork pieces, winches and wires and pulleys oh my!

Here's an amusing Steampunk image (if anyone knows the name of artist, please let me know):

See - a carriage powered by steam and clockwork pieces, with Victorian gentlemen hunting a tiny rabbit with science fiction like weaponry.

There is more to the genre than just the science fiction, though it is the core of it. There's a lot about reflecting current society, discussing class structure . . . and of course . . . there are the pretty pretty costumes.

Because Steampunk has evolved from not just a literary movement but into also an aesthetic movement.

Which brings me to my first thing:

I'm doing a Steampunk con this weekend, the Canadian National Steampunk Exhibition, and to augment my costumes (pictures to be posted post con) I decided I wanted some gorgeous jewelry to go with them.

I got into writing Steampunk just in the last couple years. A very good friend of mine, Katie, who I grew up with, went to arts schools with (she was a dance major, I was a drama major) was in New Zealand for a few years and coincidental also got into Steampunk . . . into making Steampunk jewelry that is.

When she came back we were amazed to discover our parallel attraction to Steampunk. And we agreed to an exchange. I'd give her a copy of TIMOTHY, and she'd make me a necklace (I, uh, loved two of them so much that I just bought the second one :) ).

Here's me wearing them - so you get a sense of their proportions - along with some closeups of them. Aren't they amazing??? (one of them is reversible!)

If you do indeed think they are amazing, here's her etsy page. Here's her email as well: tempusluna AT Please check her out.


On the second Steampunk note, as I already said, I'll be at the Canadian National Steampunk Exhibition this weekend. I'll be attending just as any other fan on Friday night, watching performances and checking out the artists' stalls. But Saturday is when I'm doing panels and such. If you do plan on coming, please come up and say hi. I'm a nice person, and "hi" is just such a lovely word.

Here's my schedule:

Saturday April 30, 2011
Toronto, Canada

12 Noon: Roundtable Guest Autograph Session, Melville

Step right up! Step right up! Get your memorabilia 10-in-1 experience right here! Yes ladies and gentlemen, you will see the finest talent the CNSE has to offer, in one place, at one time, and ready to sign autographs! Merchandise will also be available for sale.

Participants: Professor Elemental, Maureen Jennings, Adrienne Kress, and more!

3pm: Steampunk Young Adult Fiction with Adrienne Kress

The author of Timothy and the Dragon’s Gate, Alex and the Ironic Gentleman, and a contributor to Corsets and Clockwork, will share her thoughts on writing steampunk for younger readers. Plus, she will preview her upcoming new steampunk series, The Friday Society. Moderated by: Liana K

4pm: How I got into Steampunk, Beaufort West

By accident or by design? Hear how established pros in costuming and literature found their way into the theme of steam.

Panelists: Alexandra Gerlach, Adrienne Kress, J. M. Frey, Kenneth Shelley

6pm: Steampunk Literature, Beaufort West

What's good, what's not; what's required reading and what are some hidden gems you may have missed. Our panel of experts shares its reading lists from the varied perspectives of an academic, a reviewer, and a writer in the genre!

Panelists: Mike Perschon, Nancy Overbury, Adrienne Kress

1 comment:

Eliza Tilton said...

Steampunk is awesome. I love that it's so popular now.