• Category Archives Steampunk
  • Vintage Gothic Steampunk Vibes of Alice Underground

    From sunny Los Angeles comes another musical jewel from the murky borderlands of vintage and Steampunk, Alice Underground, and in best Steampunk fashion, they style themselves as a „time-travelling caravan“.

    Please feast your eyes and ears on Superman:


    Alice Underground – „Superman“ von cyberprvideo

    And this is how the band describes itself:

    Alice Underground is a time traveling caravan to an anachronistic era set in a locale that’s both familiar and fantastical. For the five members of the LA-based group, however, this has been a journey by happenstance. What was a one-off show now has the quintet chasing mythical characters and architecting a swamp cabaret aesthetic.

    Five years after its fateful first show, the LA-based quintet now issues a stunning debut, Cambria Sessions. An album bathed in the blue hues of broken dreams, noir romance, and Golden Age Of Hollywood opulence.

    Alice Underground whisks listeners and concertgoers away to an elegant underbelly teeming with deviant jazz, punk rock vigor, vaudevillian theatrics, and sensual emotionality. The group’s oeuvre varies between originals that feel like they were plucked from an American Songbook from a Tim Burton-themed time capsule, and jazz standards reimagined to showcase Alice Underground’s gift for conjuring longing and lasciviousness. The group counts as influences David Bowie, Ella Fitzgerald, Trent Reznor, and Billie Holiday. Fittingly, Alice Underground has been described as “gypsy jazz with a proto-punk edge.”

    The quintet’s dark seductiveness, gothic glamour, and mythological imagery of the character Alice as a conceptual muse have endeared it to fanatics of steampunk, fantasy, and cosplay. Live highlights for the band include appearing at Los Angeles County Museum Of Art’s New Year’s event Golden Stag, hosted at the famous Los Angeles Park Plaza Hotel, and performing at the closing ceremonies for the Anime Expo in Los Angeles. There the group played originals, and backed cult artist Yoko Takahashi, singer of the theme song for the popular animated Japanese television series Neon Genesis Evangelion.

    Alice Underground is Tash Cox vocals, bass, piano; Sasha Travis, vocals; Scott Landes, guitar, piano; Gordon Bash, standup bass, piano, guitar, vocals; and Steve Kefalas, drums, percussion. The band members boast eclectic and impressive resumes. Lead vocalist Tash Cox formerly sang with The Beta Machine, which included members of A Perfect Circle and Eagles of Death Metal. Tash has also sung in many operas, Neely Bruce’s, “Circular 14: The Apotheosis of Aristides” being her favorite. Scott Landes has played with Collide, Android Lust, I, Parasite, and ¡BASH!, among others. Steve Kefalas has also been a member of Android Lust, I, Parasite, and ¡BASH!. Gordon Bash is an active jazz and rock musician, that has appeared on America’s Got Talent playing with William Close. He heads up the punk/rockabilly band ¡BASH!, and is also the bassist for the popular ska band Save Ferris. Sasha Travis is a singer, producer, director, and all-around artist. She has directed and produced for the Labyrinth Masquerade Ball, and Golden Stag events, written and directed for the Astra Dance Theater, and been a long time co-collaborator at Sypher Arts Studio.

    The Cambria Sessions is threaded with a wildly fishtailing story of two girls moving to Hollywood to make their dreams come true. Detailing the narrative are the intertwined voices of Tash and Sasha. The story is rife with surrealism and mythology, with subtle allusions to Joseph Campbell. In the end, the protagonists flee Hollywood for the safe haven of Cambria, the beautiful wine country expanse in Northern California.

    The album’s lead off single is the slinky “Superman.” The dizzying track swings mightily with whimsically zigzagging melodic passages and a seductive urgency oozing from voices of Tash and Sasha. The song intimates a love triangle. One of the girls is far too preoccupied with a male lover whose bravado has gotten him into a dicey situation. “It’s about how in love, we either put someone else on a pedestal, or we struggle with being put on a pedestal,” Tash explains. “I don’t need a superman—I just want to love as a human being.” The video for “Superman” is a collaboration with fashion photographer turned director Jean Renard It’s a feast for the senses boasting a cross section of LA’s finest dancers, eye-popping visual technology, and steamy film noir imaging.

    Alice Underground_1

    Other standouts on the Cambria Sessions include a nostalgic and impressionistic version of the jazz standard “Fly Me To The Moon” and, the sultry and dark, “LA Is Burning.” Traditionally, the evergreen “Fly Me To The Moon” is a swinging track that soars with optimism. Alice Underground’s rendition is reflective and romantic, evoking the moment right before dreams slip away. Gordon says: “We went for that ‘hero with her hair flying in the wind’ feel. It’s right before the girls escape for Cambria. It’s very Thelma & Louise.” The city smolders, and the torch ballad “LA Is Burning” wafts in from the rubble. “There is a lot of pain in that one,” Scott shares. Tasha adds: “It evokes that sentiment of feeling alone in a faraway place, engulfed by loneliness.”

    The odyssey to Alice Underground began in the goth/industrial/metal scene. Outside of Alice Underground, Tash, Scott, and Gordon play with the group Mankind Is Obsolete. While on tour with the group Android Lust, they befriended the New York-based band’s drummer, Steve. When Steve relocated to Los Angeles, he joined the trio. Sasha came into the fold when Tash heard her softly singing during an arts and crafts project. The two instantly had a deep connection. “We are both from Texas, we are preacher’s kids, our names rhyme, and we’re both Scorpios,” Sasha explains. “We were meant to be soul sisters.”

    Alice Underground also has an extended family of thinkers, artists, and dancers. Shawn Strider, the creative director of the Labyrinth Masquerade Ball and producer of the Golden Stag events, helped forge the concept of Alice Underground and continues to contribute lyrics and story ideas. Others in the close circle include saxophonist Joe Berry (M83, Taylor Swift, Save Ferris), cellist Eru Matsumoto (Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Demi Lovato), and hotshot Nashville guitarist Jordan Roepke (Restless Road).

    Every myth has a valuable story within the narrative, and in exploring the fantastical realm of Alice Underground, the band members have been artistically and personally transformed. “There have been so many amazing moments with this band that truly feels like family,” Tash marvels. “It’s changed my life—these people brought music back in my life,” Sasha confides. Gordon adds: “I love what we have done. We’ve created something indefinable.” Steve concludes: “We got thrown into the fire with these jazz shows, and I’m so proud we found a voice and means of artistic expression within a genre many of us didn’t know before. “

    I will follow up on this with an interview of the band which will yield some more information, but this is for another day.


  • Book Feature: Cog and the Steel Tower – Steampunk for Young Readers

    Another wonderful thing came in via the Ætherbox, proving once more Steampunk is alive and well, the creativity unbroken. Even better, here comes a novel aimed at younger readers, so this is an ideal way to introduce youngsters to the worlds Steampunk creates and spend their time reading instead of, you know, summoning Elder Gods or something. Right, maybe what happens in my family does not happen that frequently in other families, never mind…

    The Book I am talking about is of course Cog and the Steel Tower:

    Cog and the Steel Tower

     

    A little about the book in the author’s own words:

    Cog and the Steel Tower is a middle-grade novel set in an alternate-world steampunk setting. I wrote it as both something for my daughter to enjoy and to have fun with the steampunk setting. I really enjoyed taking these old technologies and outdated concepts like aether and alchemy and projecting a society in which they thrive. I have a particular fascination with airships and one of them, the GRD Birkenhead, plays an important role in the story.

    Blurb:

    Thirteen-year-old Cog loved getting her hands greasy in her Uncle’s workshop and building the occasional mud-cannon before the return of her mother knocked her life completely off its rails. Before long she’s stowing away on a royal airship and tricking her way into a dream apprenticeship with the Queen’s master engineer by pretending to be a boy. But her situation takes a dangerous turn when she discovers a plot to assassinate the Queen and throw the kingdom into war.

    If she can keep her identity a secret despite her best friend developing a crush on her alter ego, unravel the deadly conspiracy, and keep the demanding master engineer happy, then maybe she can have the future she’s always wanted. Keeping hidden identities and saving kingdoms may not be the same as fixing a steam wagon or an auto-mechanical potion mixer, but Cog has a set of precision screwdrivers and she isn’t afraid to use them.

    Follow Cog’s rollicking adventure as she uses her wits and ingenuity to find friendship, trust, and justice in a colorful but sometimes unforgiving steampunk world full of mechanical mayhem.

     

    About the Author:

    W.E. Larson was born in Manhattan — the Kansas one — and raised mostly in Topeka Kansas. He went to college in San Antonio at Trinity University where he earned a degree in Physics. After the cancellation of the Superconducting Super Collider, he decided to seek his fortune with software engineering instead. He has worked as a software engineer at a variety of companies, carefully avoiding ones that have a big IPO that makes all the employees rich.

    An interest in programming started back in middle school where he wasted time in computer lab writing video games on one of the school’s Apple IIe, learning a lot more than the class was teaching. He still has the Atari 400 he parents got him back then. With that kind of nerd potential he naturally gravitated to reading lots of science fiction and fantasy.

    Eventually, he gained an interest in writing his own fantastical tales and has written three fantasy novels. Cog and the Steel Tower is the first one ready for public consumption.

    Currently, he lives in the Kansas City metro with his wife, two kids, and three dogs. Normally he goes by Erik Larson, but had to use W.E. Larson since there is already a well-known author named Erik Larson.

     

    More about W.E. Larson and Cog an dthe Steel Tower on the web:

    The Author’s website

    Cog and the Steel Tower on Goodreads

    and the book on Amazon

     

    To kindle your interest, here is an excerpt of the novel:

    “I reckon it’s one hundred ten yards. What do you think?” Cog handed her spyglass over to Winifred.

    Winifred slithered on her stomach to get a better view from the bushes before putting the long brass tube to her eye. “One hundred thirty.”

    “I’ll need to make some adjustments.” Cog scrambled over to the device they had lugged all the way to Farmer Hemsworth’s fields. It looked like a small cannon with brass and copper tubing entwined around it. She checked the pressure gauge and turned the dial. “Okay, I think that’ll do.”

    Together, they propped up the cannon just the right amount with an old log. Winifred took another look through the spyglass. “We need to turn it more to the right.”

    Cog rotated it until Winifred held up her hand. “Perfect!”

    “Powering up.” Cog flipped a switch near the base. Sparks played along the copper coiled around the barrel, and the brass tubing hissed like a bucket of angry snakes. The pressure gauge swung ominously into the red.

    Winifred took a few steps back. “Are you sure this won’t blow up?”

    “Sure, I’m sure,” Cog said, grinning. “We’ll only have one shot, though.”

    “I’ll make sure the target is still there.” Winifred returned to the bushes for another look. “We have a problem.”

    “What?”

    “See for yourself.” Winifred held out the spyglass, and Cog lowered herself to look. The ground was damp and slick, but she hardly worried about getting her workshop overalls dirty.

    Cog put the instrument to her eye. The target, Polly, hadn’t moved from the bench in Mrs. Hemsworth’s rose garden. Polly was fifteen, two years older than Cog, and very pretty. She delighted in teasing Cog about her cropped hair, workshop clothes, and greasy hands. As the unofficial leader of the girls in the village, Polly also made sure that nobody else treated Cog too nicely. Only Winifred broke ranks.

    Winifred’s problem was immediately obvious: a boy had joined Polly. Not just any boy either, it was Lawrence Hemsworth. With his good looks and his family’s wealth, he was the most popular boy in the village. Worse yet, Lawrence was only one of a couple of boys who didn’t take Polly’s lead in tormenting Cog.

    “You still want to do this?” Winifred asked.

    Cog watched him sit next to Polly. They looked good together—Lawrence with his crisp, white shirt and Polly in a flattering, light blue dress. Lawrence leaned in and they met lips, closing their eyes.

    “Definitely!” If Lawrence insisted on kissing pretty, precious Polly… well, he’d have to face the consequences.

    “Who gets the spyglass to watch?” Winifred asked.

    “Rock, paper, scissors.”

    They pounded their fists into their hands and counted. “One… Two… Three… Go!”

    Cog kept her hand in a closed fist, but Winifred held hers open. “Paper covers rock,” she said, grinning.

    “Lucky.” Cog handed her the spyglass. “Ready?”

    “I have them in sight,” Winifred reported.

    “Firing!” Cog flipped a switch and the machine made a crackling sound followed by a tremendous phoomp! A ball shot out of the barrel—a ball of the slimiest, smelliest mud Planter’s Creek had to offer. Cog had designed the mud electro-cannon to apply a powerful electrostatic charge to the moisture that kept the slimy mass intact as it hurtled over the field.

    Cog settled next to her friend to peek out from the bushes. Even at this distance, she could see that Lawrence had slipped his arm around Polly’s shoulders. Polly adjusted herself to face him. They moved toward each other again and… splat!

    “Direct hit!” Winifred shouted before exploding into giggles. She clutched her sides and rolled into a ball, laughing so hard her eyes watered.

    Cog snatched the spyglass. Mud covered Polly. It was in her hair, on her dress, and smeared across her face where she’d tried to wipe it off. She stormed this way and that, searching behind rose bushes. Cog watched her shove some of the rose canes aside only to quickly clutch her hand, apparently too angry to remember thorns.

    Lawrence hadn’t been spared—muddy spots now marred his shirt and face. Unlike Polly though, he merely looked befuddled. Maybe he’d noticed the mud had fallen from the sky.

    Polly turned and her mud-soaked hair swung around to smack her across the face. Cog dissolved into giggles and soon joined Winifred, rolling on the ground and scarcely able to breathe.

    By the time they recovered, Cog’s stomach hurt, and she had to wipe tears from her face. “That should teach Polly to stop teasing me about my hair.”

    “Only if she figures out we were behind it,” Winifred said as she stood and made a futile effort at brushing off her dress.

    “She knows,” Cog reassured her. Who else would Polly suspect of making mud fall from the sky? “Help me get this back to the workshop.”

    With Winifred holding up one end and Cog the other, they began their trek into the village. Cog hoped to get her invention back and at least partly disassembled before Papa returned. He wouldn’t consider a mud electro-cannon a good use of his stock of parts.

    They took a path along a long wind-break of trees to Papa’s workshop. Cog peeked in a window of the white-washed building. “C’mon, Winny, it’s clear.”

    As always, the shop was tidy with racks of tools on the walls and shelves filled with well-organized bins of parts and fasteners. Two large tables took up the rest of the space, one covered with parts and the other empty and clean. They shuffled the device onto the empty table, and Cog immediately started loosening bolts.

    Winifred cleared a little space among the steam wagon parts on the other table and hopped up to sit, swinging her dirty feet. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen Polly that mad before.”

    “You made a perfect call on the range,” Cog said, grinning back.

    “Too bad we got Lawrence, too.”

    “He’ll probably be laughing about it by tomorrow,” Cog said. Maybe she could have waited for Polly to be alone, but that would’ve risked missing the chance.

    “Getting the mud from the creek made me think,” Winifred said. “If we made a raft, maybe—”

    Polly burst into the shop like an unwelcome locomotive, her face still smeared and her hair in dirty strings. She jabbed a finger toward Cog. “You!”

    “What?”

    Polly tugged on a particularly muddy part of her dress. “Lawrence said this mud came out of the clear, blue sky.”

    “That’s odd,” Winifred remarked, looking as innocent as a kitten.

    “There’s only one person who could make that happen,” Polly turned her sharp gaze toward the disassembled mud-cannon. “Is that what did it?”

    “I have no idea what you’re talking about.” Cog tried to hold back a guilty grin.

    “Oh yes, you do, you and your stupid gizmos.” Her lips twisted in anger. “Nobody is ever going to hire a girl to fix machines. All this playing around with junk is a waste of time. Your uncle just wishes he had a son instead of some freak girl his sister didn’t want.”

    “Shut up!” Winifred yelled, jumping down from the table.

    “Don’t think I’ve forgotten the freak’s mousy accomplice.” Polly turned to Winifred. “You’ll both pay for—”

    The workshop door’s bell jingled, and Papa came inside. He looked pale.

    Polly turned toward him, pointing to her dress. “Look at what your niece did to—”

    He waved vaguely toward the door. “You can come back and play with Cog later, Polly.”

    “But she—”

    “Later.”

    “Hmmmph…” Polly shot one last scathing glare toward Cog before flouncing out the door.

    She vanished from Cog’s mind as quickly as she had from the workshop. What had Papa so upset?

    “Is it Gran?” Cog asked. Her grandmother had taken ill a couple of years ago and still hadn’t recovered.

    Papa shook his head. “No. It’s… well… she’s come back.”

    “Come back? Who?”

    “Your—” He turned to Winifred. “I need to talk with Cog, Winny. Maybe you two—”

    “Albert, that’s where you went off to,” a woman’s voice came from behind him. “Is this the old workshop? You must have expanded it.”

    “Yes, business has been good.” He stepped to the side as a woman slid past him.

    She had the same chestnut hair as Cog, though hers trailed down her back in lustrous curls instead of being cropped short. But the eyes made Cog freeze to the spot. They looked exactly the same as her own: large and dark-brown in color. In her well-tailored lavender dress, the woman looked beautiful, elegant, and completely out of place standing next to a rack of tools.

    “I was just telling—” Papa started.

    “Oh, this must be Corinna,” the woman cooed, sweeping over to Winifred. Her gaze took in Winny’s dirty dress, scabbed knees, and filthy feet. “What a beautiful young lady you’ve grown into.”

    Winifred turned her gaze back and forth, her eyes wide. “Um…”

    “That’s not Corinna,” Papa said.

    “I should go,” Winifred whispered. She crept to the door, shooting Cog a glance that clearly said she’d want a full report.

    The woman turned back to Papa, “Where is she?” She peered around the room before settling on Cog and smiling. “Is this your son, Albert? He looks just like you. You never said anything about—”

    “Abigail,” Papa said, putting a hand on Cog’s shoulder, “this is Corinna.”

    “Corinna?” Her mouth fell open.

    “You’re Papa’s sister?” Cog supposed her mouth must be hanging open too. She’d never suspected the teenage girl that gave her up would be the elegant woman in front of her.

    Abigail regained her composure and opened her arms. “Come here, My Little Princess.”

    Cog took a few unsure steps before holding up her grimy hands. “You probably don’t want me to—”

    Abigail frowned at the dirty fingers. “Perhaps you should keep those behind your back this once.” She closed the distance as Cog kept her hands out of the way. Abigail gingerly pulled her into a loose hug.

    What should meeting your mother for the first time feel like? Her mind had jammed from trying to be happy, angry, curious, nervous, and a hundred other emotions all at once.

    And now, sidle over to Amazon and grab a copy.


  • Professor Elemental – I’m British (redux) – The Brexit Version

    The most venerable Professor Elemental, adventurer in time and space, wearer of fighting  and time travel trousers, gentleman rhymer and overall excellent chap has updated „I’m British“ (From his 2012 album Father of Invention) in light of current events. I think the updated cover of the track speaks volumes regarding the side Professor Elemental stands on:

     

    Professor-Elemental-Im-British

     

    The lyrics reflect Professor Elemental’s feelings on the whole Brexit disaster and he puts them in words which are truely his own. Noone else could have rhymed biting, harsh criticism of a stupid decision and made fun of some repulsive characters in politics (even when compared to other politicians) so eloquently.
    I particularly loved his heartfelt apology for the absolute waste of DNA, Nigel Farage, at the end and the fact he apologized for Boris Johnson and Johnson’s hair seperately.

    The good Professor will also donate all proceeds of the sale of this track to Refugee Action.

     

    So please, for the love of great music, steampunk and humanity, get yourself a copy of this track, and let the Brexit farttwoodles know what you think of them.

    Image © Bob Molesworth, fair use
    
    

  • Steampunk is Self-Resurrecting (a happy rant)

    This blog started out entirely dedicated to Steampunk in July 2008. It became pretty popular in the Steampunk scene and stayed on topic up until October 2015 when I moved the blog to it’s new domain, meta-punk.com. The last dedicated Steampunk post on this blog is six weeks in the past, which is also indicative of my waning interest in the subject. Me getting bored with Steampunk and wanting to move on is not a new phenomenon to me. It has happened in the past and each time, something came along to rekindle my interest in the scene and the subject.
    As it turns out, this time will be no different.

    Something is brewing.
    A well-known figure in the Dutch scene, Bonsart will have me as a guest in an upcoming Google Hangout in August and he in turn will be a guest on the Non-Euclidean Æthercast. The hangout will be on Radio Retrofuture Youtube Channel later.

    Here is a taste of the channel:

    The topic of the hangout I will be participating in will be somewhere in the vicinity of Steampunk and scepticism, which is of course near and dear to my heart, but I digress. On with self-resurrection:

    Once more, as I said, Steampunk has managed to move into my main field of interest again and once again for a most splendid reason: Outreach by a fellow Steampunk and another prominent European figure, no less. This is something I love dearly about the scene: For all its tendencies towards costume-arms-races and Steampunk being highjacked for monetary reasons lately (one particular nasty example is an event which used to be a Renaissance Faire and they just turned it into a Steampunk Faire now, all for the sake of attracting more visitors and thus, make cash), there is still this wonderful spirit of community. Steampunks still reach out to one another, do things together and, as in the upcoming case, discuss topics of general interest from a Steampunk perspective.

    Also: The topics are becoming broader and more encompassing. At least, that is my impression. Steampunk has eveolved into the kind of subculture which lends itself to viewing things in life through its perspective. Very much like you can extrapolate a worldview and philosophy from Punk, Goth and to a lesser degree Heavy Metal, you can do this with Steampunk as well.

    This is also probably one of the reasons Steampunk is so enduring despite the fact it being a relatively small scene compared to the other three I mentioned. It lends a unique perspective to life, the universe and everything. From its inception, Steampunk came with a world-view, a very positive world-view rooted in the Belle Epoque. Thus, it had a destinct advantage over mainly music-driven subclutiures (like the techno scen, for example) from the get-go. Also, Steampunk is attractive to a far greater age-range and as such has access to a wider range of life-experiences and thus possible ideas based on experiences influencing it. Consequently, there is a greater range of ideas despite the relatively small audience.

    This attractiveness to people of all ages, the unique outlook on life and the overall very positive message of Steampunk will keep it going for some time, I think. There will still be new ideas, new topics of discussion and more influence into general culture and thus, even if it may be waning at times, Steampunk will remain self-rsurrecting, for me personally and for the subculture and scene in general.

     

     


  • Steampunk Art: Gary Nicholls – The Imaginarium Book 1

    Way back in 2013 I introduced you to the art of Gary Nicholls and back then, there were already plans being made to turn Gary’s art into a limited edition art print book.
    Well, now the project is taking shape and there is a campaign at Kickstarter, which has already gained some traction.
    Even better, what was supposed to be only one book will now become a trilogy of books, this is the art that will be featured in there:

     

     

    And if this is not enough to kindle your interest in the project already, here is the pitch in words and video:

     

    The Imaginarium Trilogy, began in September 2012, by chance.

    Meticulously crafted by Gary Nicholls, a British photographic conceptual artist, comes the first book of his conceptualised neo-gothic fairy story eponymously based on the Victorian fairground attractions of The Imaginarium. ‘The Imaginarium’ tells an intricate, fantastical, dark but ultimately beautiful steampunk story through the unique medium of fine art images. Four years in the making, Nicholls’ creation is so much more than just a book – it’s an adventure through the power of art that simultaneously tells an epic, powerful story readers will be immersed in from page one.

     

    Now sidle over to the campaign page and lend your support!


  • Book Feature: Legacy by Michelle Lowe

    The popularity of Steampunk is not waning, not at all. In fact, I have not had so many authors contacting me for a feature of their work in a long time. Here comes the next one:

    The lady Michelle Lowe has created an intriguing steam fantasy setting in a book series by the name of Legacy that is my great pleasure to feature here. This is an excerpt of the first novel:

    Pierce Landross’s strange dream about flying machines drifted from his memory. Again, he tried holding onto the images, yet they slipped away as his eyes opened. He remembered nothing.

    He’d awakened in his hotel room after a day’s sleep. He’d arrived just the evening before, tired and hungry. After eating at the downstairs pub, he’d come up to his room and had fallen asleep the moment he’d hit the mattress. He’d stayed in the same position on his belly until his body had fully restored from its restfulness. With a groan and a deep yawn, he got out of bed, stretched, and went over to the washbasin. After cleaning his face and the rest of the sleep away, he looked at himself in the mirror. The room glowed with the afternoon light, giving him a clear view of his scar.

    It was his daily reminder of betrayal and heartbreak. Every detail of that horrible night played out in significant fragments; the punch that had brought him down, the knife, the look on his assailant’s face, and then the abandonment when it was all over. Every time he touched the scar, he could almost feel the jagged blade tearing across his skin.

    He shook off the memory and splashed more water on his face. A pang in his stomach told him that needed food. He also needed to find a ship willing to let him onboard before the royal guards caught up with him. He’d go anywhere as long as it was hundreds, or even thousands, of miles away.

    A week and a half ago, he’d crossed a line, earning him nothing more than a hunting party on his tail, aiming to bring him back to London. He’d managed a razor-thin escape in Aylesham before crossing the Channel into France, where he’d traveled down the coast, only stopping to steal horses to keep up a steady getaway.

    If this has kindled your interest, click the image:

    image

     

     

    About the Author:  Michelle E. Lowe is the author of The Warning, Atlantic Pyramid, Cherished Thief, the action adventure/fantasy steampunk series, titled Legacy. Children’s books, Poe’s Haunted House Tour, and the three part adventure children’s series, The Hex Hunt. She is also a mother, wife, and painter. Her works in progress are the continuations for Legacy. Currently, she lives in Lake Forest, California.

     

    Website: www.michellelowe.net

    Facebook: Facebook.com/michelleloweauthor

    Twitter: @MichelleLowe_7

    Email: Michellelowe7@gmail.com


  • Book Feature: CT Hutt- Havoc’s Children: Dog Days of Thereafter

    I was contacted the other day by a writer who shares the birthday with H.P. Lovecraft, reason enough to feature his novel, I say, but before I come to this, here is what others have said concerning CT Hutt:

     

    A rather peculiar fellow reached out to me the other day. His name is CT Hutt, he’s a former cowboy turned writer who now works out of Boulder, Colorado. Hutt has had a few weird western stories published in magazines like Beneath Ceaseless Skies and recently self-published his first book, Havoc’s Children: Dog Days ofThereafter.

    ——–

    I haven’t read through it all the way through, but the artwork is pretty incredible for a self-published book. Early reviews call the story “a swirling, sprawling, grueling mix of old-west grim survivalism, innocence taken, vengeance most brutal, politicking, shooting, brawling, strange religions, bizarre science, love, despair, hope, and (of course) a horde of murderous undead abominations.”

    ——–

    The entire project has a good feel for the steampunk genre and sells for just $1.99. If you are looking for a solid summer read that won’t break the bank, this eBook may be for you.

    ——–

    It turns out that Hutt shares a birthday with H.P. Lovecraft. I’m not sure if that is a good omen for his chosen career path, or an ominous one. In either case, it should be interesting to follow.

    Havoc Cover Blog

     

    Here is a short synopsis:

    „A sickness digs itself out of the ruins of a long dead city. The infected stalk across the land, sowing seeds of anarchy and civil war behind them. Every citizen of Thereafter is expected to do their duty and contain the blight, including the young folk of a mountain town called Havoc.

    Mechanics, preachers, assassins, lawmen, scientists, and soldiers find themselves at the center of a conflict that may tear their world apart.“

     

    And this is an in-world proclamation:

    Muster Announcement Havoc

     

    So, click the cover image and check out the novel yourselves!


  • EuroSteamCon 2016 – Portugal! Please lend your support

    Hello everybody.
    2016 is the 5th year of EuroSteamCon and the wonderful people of the Portuguese Steampunk community are hard at work getting their event on the road. They would love to have the renowned gentleman and time- and dimension-hopping rhymer Professor Elemental at their event and have started an IndieGoGo campaign to make it happen.
    Please lend your support here! Do it!


  • The Cloud Top Archipelago – A Study in Steampunk World Building

    I so regret being nowhere near Brighton, because I am going to miss the Cloud Top Archipelago exhibition. It is one of those jewels I got informed about via my inbox. This time, the informant is the creator of the art himself, the gentlemen and artist Aaron Howdle. Before I share the art, here is the official press release and what it states in no exaggregation:

    A sublime experience awaits within, through this immersive exhibition, shaped and guided by the talent and imagination of Aaron Howdle.

    “The Cloud Top Archipelago” is the product of Aaron’s rich imagination, fuelled by a childhood lost in fantasy and science fiction, and culminating in a painstakingly crafted, richly detailed fictional world. This exhibition is a milestone on the road to the much anticipated launch of The Cloudtop Archipelago book this autumn, offering further explorations into this enthralling fantasy world.

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    Our exhibition will showcase a collection of new, original drawings, packed with detail and rendered on an impressively large scale. Each intricate mark or line builds to create an evocative, antiquated sense of place and character.

    Absorb majestic mountain-top landscapes, shown from the perspective of a passing bird or mechanical airship. Immerse yourself in bustling cityscapes where every mark denotes life. Each drawing brims with stories, people and movement, inviting you to lose yourself in the lifeblood of this richly imagined world.

    Behind these impressive sky cities, looming mountain top settlements and inhospitably craggy landscapes lies a thoughtful, detailed history of civilization and technological advances devised by Aaron.

    Aaron’s experience in a wide range of creative work from engineering, product design and model making to graphic design and illustration, breathe life into the world of The Cloud Top Archipelago and the technology and design this universe relies upon.

    A self-referential inventor character pops up in many of the fables Aaron has woven into his stunning ink drawings. The machines reinvented and explored in The Cloud Top Archipelago focus on pre-electrical and pre-combustion technology. Aaron’s eye for detail and arcane engineering, feed into the imagined technological elements of the universe he has created; blurring boundaries between technical drawing, art and fantasy to create an array of fantastical technologies from steam-powered wild boars to an armada of weird and wonderful flying machines.

    Aaron Howdle’s drawings consistently engage and enthral viewers; beyond his impressive, often wizardly skills with pen and ink his ability to captivate and inspire through invention and imagination connects the viewer to a powerful childhood sense of wonder.

    Aaron’s over-active imagination has evolved beyond simply playing or daydreaming into a fully realised, fully formed and thriving universe.

    “Cloud Top Archipelago” will run from the 27th April – 29th May at Corridor Gallery

    Contacts:

    Corridor Gallery:

    info@corridorgallery.co.uk

    www.corridorgallery.co.uk

    Aaron Howdle:

    info@aaronhowdle.com

    www.aaronhowdle.com

    www.instagram.com/aaronhowdle/

    Tel: 07894 563 723

     

    I myself literally went „Wow! How beautiful!“ when I scrolled through the email and saw the images, so I highly recommend, if you can make it to the Corridor Gallery in time, do it!

    Here is the official poster, flyer and some ink-pen artwork to further kindle you curiosity:

     


  • When the Cthulhu Mythos and Steampunk touched Ceres

    Yes, what happens, when the Cthulhu Mythos and Steampunk touch Ceres? A short story, that’s what. I just thought I do a little self-plug and give you a snippet of Reaching Out, a Steampunk/Cthulhu short story I penned a while ago and laready featured here previously, but this time I share a snippet with a little bit more cosmic dread and ancient secrets in it. The protagonists have touched down on Ceres and find some almost organic ruins:

    Reaching Out - A Steampunk/Cthulhu Mythos crossover short story

     

    Before us appeared a cluster of what first seemed to be the shells of some kind of titanic molluscs. Curved, spiralled and somewhat bent conical shapes, about 10 metres high and about 7 metres diameter at the the base. They, too, were covered with the blue mouldy growth and looked as if they had sprouted from Ceres‘ surface. We counted six domes. Only two had openings we could see and those were created by decay, seismic forces or rock crashing down from the dark sky.
    The easiest hole for us to reach and climb through was about four metres from the ground, so I could easily jump up there. Cautiously I tried, so as not to jump too high and propel myself into the overhanging top of the structure. After the third attempt, I got a grip on the edges of the accidental window and pulled myself up. The window opened a view into a room also infested and illuminated by the omnipresent fungal growth.
    It was a large, rounded, almost spherical chamber. Along the walls, spaced rather evenly, stood and lay what I thought to be boxes, chests or sarcophagi, some upright, but most lying on the floor. The far wall was also covered with strange protrusions and spikes, the pattern and exact shape I simply cannot describe. I turned away, dizzied, and waved for Kuhn to jump up as well. With one leap, he came up, I grabbed his outstretched arm and pulled him in.
    Together, we took a closer look at our discovery. I used my knife to scratch some of the mouldy dust off the surface of one of the boxes, while Kuhn inspected the strange pattern on the wall.
    The boxes, I labeled them thus because of their size and shape, were made of some peculiar green-brown material. It reminded me of a cross between jade and wood. The edges, as far as I could scrape them free of dust, were edged with some confusing geometrical shapes which gave the impression of wanting to jump out at the observer.
    The patch of the top surface I managed to clear of mould appeared simply polished, my knife was unable to make a scratch into it, but without further edgings. Then, Kuhn’s voice came through the aetherphone in my helmet. He had discovered something about the strange spikes. He shone the light of his torch on a patch he had gotten somewhat clean and moved the torch from left to right. Some bizarre shadows, strange shapes, maybe the former inhabitants of this place, appeared and a fragment of a scene seemed to play out. The scene played backward and forward with the moving light of the torch.

    We marvelled at this display of an undoubtably advanced civilisation but then noticed we had to turn back soon, so we started looking around for something we could take with us. Since there was no apparent connection to another room, I guess doors were hidden by the omnipresent glowing vegetation, we tried our luck with one of the upright boxes. After some rocking and pushing we managed to topple it over. Hitting the floor, what must have been some kind of door sprang open on its side and revealed something greyish that seemed to consist entirely of caked dust. We were disappointed with our find, until Kuhn noticed something metallic sticking out of the side of the grey mass. He managed to pull it free, causing quite some dust to spill on the floor. It was about the size of a revolver, matted black and obviously not made for human hands. We could not even tell if it was a weapon, tool, or piece of alien art. Its form made no sense to us at all. Kuhn put it in his satchel and together we jumped down unto the surface of Ceres again and made our way back.

    I hope this kindled the interests of some of you, or if you know someone who might enjoy the short story, pass the message on.