• Category Archives Steampunk
  • Ætherhertz – A Genuinely Awesome German Steampunk Novel

    In the past I have on numerous occasions complained about the way Germany and Germans are portraied in Anglo-centric Steampunk fiction (i.e. the authors had a tendency of making the Germans a) the villains and b) Nazis with Pickelhauben).

    Now I have the great pleasure of presenting a genuine German Steampunk novel to you and an awesome one on top of that. Ætherhertz gives you a first-hand look into what Steampunk Germany could really have looked like, with an accurate depiction of what society in the time of the Kaiser really was like and with amazing attention to detail.

    Ætherhertz has of course been translated into English for your reading pleasure, I am not forcing you to read a book in German, do not worry.

    Ætherhertz is a splendid read, the German original (by the same name) is still the Steampunk novel I meassure all other German Steampunk novels against. The world feels real, has beautifu Steampunk and Steamfantasy elements in it and presents a Steampunk world from a very different perspective to the one you may be used to.

    No colonies, no big cities (Baden-Baden is a rather small town, even today) and no threats to the British Empire. This novel is about the people, and it spans the whole spectrum, high-society, the poor, the military, the criminals and all of the people feel real.

    But before I sing more praise for Æthehertz, here is a short synopsis from the author herself:

     

    Baden-Baden 1910

    Since the turn of the century, a substance called Æther is rising from the waters, and it is changing the world. A blessing for the industry, a curse for the people, for some of them are being transformed into creatures from fairy-tales and legends. The so-called »Corrupted« are haunting the green mists, and themselves hunted and locked up in jails or asylums.

    It is in these strange times, the story begins:
    In the famous spa town of Baden-Baden, young women are being poisoned by a mysterious substance. While investigating the case, Fräulein Annabelle Rosenherz uncovers a conspiracy that threatens the whole Grand Duchy of Baden.

    But Annabelle is in grave danger herself, she has secrets of her own, and while she tries to solve the murders, she finds rejection and people obsessed by power, but also love.

    A steampunk novel set in the beautiful town of Baden-Baden: Stroll with us under the brightly lit gas lanterns, wander along the Lichtenthaler Allee, past the stately casinos towards the first class hotels and fashionable gathering places of the high society, but also towards the perilous secrets thriving in the dark and the misty heights of the Black Forest.

    Look here if you want to know more, or contact the author about a free copy for a review: Ætherbooks on Facebook

    Now available in ebook format: Aetherworld

     

    So please, if you are interested in Steampunk from a different perspective than the regular British Empire or US-centric ones, give this one a read, you will not regret it!


  • Steampunk Writers Around the World – Volume I – OUT NOW!

    It seems ages ago when my friend Josue Ramos and others came up with the idea of assembling a group of Steampunk writers from all around the globe to work together on a truely international and culturally diverse Steampunk anthology.

    The project survived through the financial crisis, although it lost its original would-be publisher but was then adopted by Lunar Press.

    So finally, after more years than any of us would have thought, I am honored to reveal the Steampunk Writers Around the World  Volume I anthology. Hot off the presses, a July release by Lunar Press, of Edinburgh, Scotland.

     

    FOREWORD By Kevin Steil

     

    THE STORY OF YOUR HEART By Josué Ramos – Spain

    EL ALFÉREZ DE HIERRO By Fábio Fernandes – Brazil

    HEIRS By Marcus R. Gilman – Germany

    PÓLVORA Y VAPOR By Aníbal J. Rosario Planas – Puerto Rico

    PROVIDENCE IN THE PACIFIC By Ray Dean – Hawaii

    LAS CADENAS INFINITAS By César Santivañez – Peru

    THE SWARM By Milton Davis – Africa

    LA HISTORIA DE TU CORAZÓN By Josué Ramos – Spain

    UNMADE By Suna Dasi – Scotland/India

    LA MALDICIÓN DE LA ESPINA By Elaine Vilar Madruga – Cuba

    THE GOLDEN APPLE By Petra Slováková – Czech Republic

    CUAUHTLIPOCA, EL ÁGUILA HUMEANTE By Paulo César Ramírez Villaseñor – Mexico

     

    The stories are truely divers and off the beaten track of „Steampowered Anglophones save the World“. My personal favourite is Suna Dasi’s UNMADE, which is the best Steampunk short story I ever had the pleasure to read.

    I only regret there are no Francophone authors in the anthology. Still, it is a fine selection of tales from all over the world and you can get it now right here!

    Oh yes, and my story of course features a propper Zeppelin and its crew, not just a blimp or dirigible, but a proper Zeppelin.

    So, grab yourself a copy, celebrate the diversity of Steampunk and an indipendent publisher!


  • Steampunk Writers Around the World – Teaser!

    A long time ago, a cabal of writers from all around the world hatched a plan to write an anthology of Steampunk short stories. Each author would write a story focused on their country of origin and the result would be a truly multi-facetted anthology going beyond the limits of usually rather Anglo-centry Steampunk fiction.
    I am a member of that cabal, and here is a teaser regarding the interior art of the anthology.

    More info soon!

     


  • Non-Euclidean Æthercast #44: Nerdy Hobbies, Cosplay, Teachers, and Cosplaying Teachers

    Today’s Non-Euclidean Æthercast is a happy rant about my experiences as a teacher when you teach children who are also gamers and cosplayers.
    All in all it is a win-win: Pupils are more attentive if they like a teacher and a teacher sharing their hobbies is (as far as my experience goes) more likable and also approachable. Case in point: A number of my pupils have added me to their list of friends on Steam.

    And this is Jukedeck I was talking about concerning the background music. (yes, I actually said juckebox in the podcast, I know and noticed it too late…)

    Header image © screenshot made by myself from Fallout: New Vegas

  • Steampunk and Happiness – #SteampunkHands 2017 – Part 1

    The motto of this year’s Steampunk Hands Around The World is „Steampunk – Making Life better“. Later this week, I will be recording a podcast concerning the topic. In preparation for the podcast, I went through the history of this blog, visited websites I used to visit more frequently when I was newer and/or more active in the Steampunk scene, just collecting positive aspects of the scene.

    The one thing I want to talk about today, is just the general sense of lighthearted happiness in the scene. Yes, I know, Steampunk also has its share of (bizarrely) Guardians of Purity (yes, for a made-up thing), Fashion Junkies, and Scene Nazis (i.e. „I get to decide what Steampunk is).

    But, when I look around at the vast majority of people I have had the pleasure to meet, from the scene in Barcelona to the Amt for Ætherangelegenheiten to BB Black Dog and other bands, to just the regular event goers:

    Most of them are just genuinely happy people or at least manage to generate a genuinely happy atmosphere at the places they congregate. The quality of that happiness is also in keeping with the (for lack of a better term) gentlemanliness of the scene, i.e. it is a very calm and pleasant happiness that makes Steampunk events nice places to just be at. It is vastly different from the more energetic happiness you get at Rock or Metal concerts.

    Also, and this is a very personal thing: Steampunk has brought additional happiness to my life. I will touch on that in more detail in the upcoming podcast, but I have to say that through the people I met, the opportunities I got and where those opportunities have led me, the base-happiness of my live has increased.

    Some example:

      • Several of my most awesome friends are Steampunks or connected to the scene (Anja Bagus and the Amt, Victor Sierra,Alex Jahnke, Admira Ravensdale, basically everyone from Barcelona, Mr and Mrs Vogt, everybody involved in #SteampunkHands and by extension Steampunk Writers around the World just to name a few) and friends make you happy
      • The books I wrote/participated in writing and the two awards that came from it
      • The opportunity to talk about Steampunk at Dortmund University
      • The Steampunk and cosplay people from Vienna (and what came from there, but I will talk about it, when I have the equipment complete)
      • And I could go on and on

    So, Steampunk is in itself and in the context of my life a source of happiness.

    So much for this happy rant. I hope Steampunk has or is making you happy, too.

    Header image © unknown, fair use

  • Announcement: Steampunk Hands Around the World 2017

    Steampunk Hands Around the World is returning for another installment in February 2017 and this year, the participants will be tackling the subject:

    Steampunk: Making Life Better

     

    This is the Press Release, as released by the head organizer and benelovent dictator, the Airship Ambassador:

    Steampunk Hands Around the World returns for it’s fourth year, continuing the celebration of the best that the global steampunk community has to offer.

    The 2017 theme of the annual month long blogathon is “Making Life Better”. Each day from Wednesday, February 1st through Tuesday the 28th, contributors will share some of their favorite experiences of how steampunk made a difference.

    Everyone, steampunks and non-steampunks alike, will be able to share in the information about who and what inspires us to keep exploring, expanding, and enhancing our community every day.

    Tying all of these experiences together are people. People who share their ideas, who teach their skills, who step forward to make a difference in large ways and small. Each and every one of us has probably already made life better for someone and some time, and we may not even know it. Together, we create our community, and we bring steampunk to life, in all of its many variations. WE make a difference.

    Steampunk Hands Around the World is just one of many opportunities during the year which brings people together, creating new connections and friendships. It is one of those events where we see into the whole of the community, and bring home those things and people who inspire us to do more and be more.

    Each day, the master list of blog links will be updated at the Airship Ambassador blog site. Follow along on Twitter with the hashtags of #SteampunkHands and #SHaW , and on the official Facebook event page.

    As many different languages are spoken around the world, it will be helpful to use a translation service to read each post in your own native language, such as Google. Language will not be a barrier in communication among us.

    If you would like to participate directly, or would like more information, please contact Kevin Steil at Kevin@AirshipAmbassador.com

    So, if you like to join, you are obviously very welcome! The more, the merrier!


  • Featured Website: SteampunkArtifacts

    It has been a while since I did a proper steampunk-related post on the blog, so I am going to remedy the situation right now by doing a little feature on this website:

     

    SteampunkArtifacts Logo (Light)

     

    SteampunkArtifacts came to my attention via my ætherbox, the owner of the website contacted me and inquired about the possibility of having a paid post, which is something I do not do. What I do instead, I just feature commercial sites if the y fit the blog and if I like them, which is the case here.

    SteampunkArtifacs, from beautiful Montreal, Canada, offers a wide range of Steampunk accessories from glasses and goggles to jewelry to corsets and hats. It does not offer Steampunk fashion per se but if you are looking for small thongs to steampunk-up your outfit, SteampunkArtifacts is a good place to go.

    Danny Sattar, the head of the SteampunkArtifacts team, has this to say about the website and Steampunk in general:

    Steampunk caught me up not long after I discovered it, with the rise in awareness and popularity it’s been going through in recent years, I just couldn’t stay away. The costumes, the culture, how could I not? It showed up in the movies I watched, the books I read. I met some people who really got me into it, and who explained to me the world of Neo-Victorian wonder. From there, I was hooked. But, getting into it was hard. Buying things was a nightmare, parts were so hard to find, especially at a reasonable cost. Of course, you can go online to some places, Etsy, for example, but the cost was so high- it wasn’t reasonable when I wanted to build a costume for myself. I just needed to find the parts, the little things that made it just right. The gears, the vests, I couldn’t find anything that was just right.

    So, I made my own website, SteampunkArtifacts.com. With it, I figured I could fill the hole in the market and provide people just like me, who had an existing passion, with all their finishing touches and focal points. I wanted so badly to help draw people into it, to make the world more open and accessible for people who were dipping their toes in as well, so to speak. And the key to that was just to offer everything, little things for newbies, bigger, bolder things for people who knew what they were after. And all of it, with the help of my passionate team of misfits, at a good quality. No horror stories of things falling apart, breaking, no nightmares over returns. Good prices, and good products, that could help spread the reach of Steampunk and Victoriana a little farther than before.

    And it took a little while to build, a few goggles, some masks and watches were all we had to start with when we first published our website. But now, we have a much wider selection, corsets, hats, all manner of jewelry as well as everything we began with, but with much more variety. Mad Hatter Hat? We have it. Cufflinks? We have several varieties. Do you need some gears to finish off a work of art? We sell those too, in different colors, even. Witch Doctor Masks? We have those, studded ones. Far to many goggles and glasses to list, and the watches and jewelry are to many to describe. We wanted to become the shop for good quality parts to pull the outfit together. To sell some of the most recognizable themes and styles that can settle just right into the wide variety of looks that we know our customers are trying to achieve. Our biggest aim is to sell to the quirky, the odd, the just out of mainstream, and make sure they look just the way they want while being themselves, and to spread the love of steampunk and make it more accessible to anyone who wants to come join a bustling culture of Neo-Victorian fantasy.

    So, why not sidle over and check it out?


  • Oh Great Old Ones, I am writing a Novel!

    Lately I have not managed to update this blog as often as I would like to. Apart from the usual reasons of dayjob and family, another thing has crept up:

    I am actually writing a novel, and this time it is pretty serious. This is actually my second attempt at writing a novel. My first one was a steampunk novel, a sizable fragment of which is still on the harddrive of the computer I am writing this blog entry with. Unfortunately, that particular novel is not going anywhere any time fast.

    BUT: Luna Press of beautiful Edinburgh in beautiful Scotland will publish an anthology which includes a short story that is based on a sub-plot of that novel and features most of the original main characters. Maybe there will be more in the future.

    Here is a teaser for that one, it is called Heirs

    Below LZ Württemberg, foothills stretched towards the horizon, slowly merging with Mount Hasan. Here, long ago one of the greatest cities of early mankind had thrived.
    Two days had passed since the Prince and his team had left the Württemberg and gone on their errand. All Von Kober and his crew could do was wait, either for a message from the ground or something else. It was the something else that worried him. Too many something elses.
    How strangely moods transformed perception, he thought. Down there was a magnificent, exotic, almost alien landscape. He should be sitting there, drawing sketches of the volcano in his diary. Instead, he scanned the ground and the sky. Every boulder a sniper’s hiding place. Every cart a mobile gun. Every speck on the horizon the scout of a fleet, even the goat herders made him nervous.
    Von Kober almost hoped for something to happen, to give him a vent for his tension. He fixed his binoculars on yet another point in the sky. After a few moments he adjusted focus and magnification.
    “Richnow, possible airship north-north-west, take a look.”
    The second navigator swiveled the fixed observation telescope around, it took him a moment to find his mark.
    “Confirmed, Herr Kapitän. Airship. French configuration. Heading our way.”
    Von Kober hurried up the ladder to the bridge and took the master-tube.
    “Attention all stations. We have just spotted a French airship. Power up the turrets but do not extend. Boiler room, I want the Württemberg able to go to full speed faster than ever before, come up with something and do it fast.”
    “Herr Kapitän.,” came Richnow’s voice from below. “The airship has just gone on a parallel course to ours. Ah, there’s the name…” he paused.
    “It’s the Toulon.”

    The Toulon.
    Every member of the Imperial Zeppelin Corps had heard of her, Captain Baquoy’s vessel. 
Captain Baquoy, a living legend.
    Captain Baquoy, the French Empire’s most highly decorated captain. While on single patrol, ambushed by a pirate squadron over Siam. Came out of the engagement with six kills and not a single casualty on his side. 
Captain Baquoy, a personal friend of…
    Oh my God! Albrecht thought. Is that it? Is that what is going on down there?

    The project I am working on now, which is already significantly more advanced than the steampunk novel ever was, at just below 38.000 words is a completely different one. For one, I am writing it in German and it is dark fantasy, not steampunk at all.

    This is the first sketch of the cover:

    ObsidianSketchSmall

    The final cover image is also done, alll (c) Nele Diel and all rights reserved by me. No copying, distributing, download etc. in any way shape or form without written permission (except fair use).

    Some bullet points concerning the novel:

    • The main protagonist is a black, female necromancer
    • The technology level is roughly late bronze age
    • The necromancers are the good guys

    So, if the updates are not coming as often as usual, now you know what I am up to.


  • FREAKSHOW – Lies of the Machine’s First Album Is Here! LISTEN!

    From beautiful Hungary, the country of my ancestors (some of them, anyway) comes not only one of my favourite Steampunk bands but also one of my favourite bands in general: Lies of the Machine.
    I have been following Lies of the Machine for some time now and was really excited when they announced the release of their first album.

    The wait was long but it was well worth it. Apart from a few songs they played before and that I saw them perform live at Steamtropolis in Bochum, there is also brand new material, never hear before, neither by me, nor the universe in general.

     

    Before we come to the playlist, one more thing:

    Lies of the Machine are yet another example of how incredibly diverse the music in the Steampunk scene is. Other bands play electro-heavy music with a sSteampunk theme, others psychedelic rock, others punk and Lies of the Machine?

    Well, it is actually really hard to say. It is some sort of slightly psychotic punk rock with what I guess could be Hungarian folk elements. In any case it lives up to the title of the albumFreakshow and it was well worth the wait. Feast your ears on that one, a full review will follow.

    Here is the complete album, completely officially free of charge for you to listen to:

     

     


    And here are some more websites for you to visit:
    Interactive digital booklet Treat yourselves to this one, it is beautiful, weird and just epic!

    Bandcamp

    Facebook

    Instagram

     


  • Radio Retrofuture – Steampunk and Skepticism

    A few weeks back I had the gentleman, scholar and all-around splendid chap Bonsart Bokel as a guest on my podcast and now we collaborated again. This time, I was a guest on his æthereeb show Radio Retrofuture.

    We were talking Steampunk and how skepticism fits in there. The short answer is: Neatly.
    For the long answer, check out the video: