Earlier this year, at a convention called Dark Side of the Con, I wound up inadvertently leading a panel on the overlap of goth and steampunk. Despite one originating in the early 1980s and the other being a fairly recent phenomenon, the two subcultures have a surprising amount of overlap—in everything from music to fashion to social scenes. In fact, I wrote a piece for Steampunk Tourist a few years ago on the overall similarities and differences between the two. But today I want to narrow in on one specific aspect that is at the root of both subcultures: the literature. Continue reading Steampunk vs. Gothic Literature
Last weekend, I went to one of the largest steampunk events in the world, Jeff Mach’s Steampunk World’s Fair. For those who are unfamiliar, steampunk is an alternative fashion/music/literature scene, which can essentially be summed up as Victorian futurism—imagine a world where, on the cusp of the industrial revolution, technology advanced through steam power and gears instead of electricity and computers. The fashion blends corsets and top hats with brass and goggles, while the literature tends to feature dirigibles, automatons, and mad scientists. And the first weekend in May is when hundreds of steampunks from around the country take over two hotels in the middle of Piscataway, New Jersey. I’ve been attending Steampunk World’s Fair for many years, and two weeks ago I gave you a preview of what I was looking forward to at this year’s convention in particular. Read on to see how last weekend lived up to my expectations. Continue reading Steampunk World’s Fair 2017: Where Goth and Steampunk Meet
The biggest steampunk event of the year is just around the corner! Steampunk World’s Fair is one of Jeff Mach’s most popular events and the largest steampunk convention in the world. Earlier this year, I attended and wrote about my experience at two of Jeff Mach’s brand new conventions: the fairy-themed Glimmerdark and the three-day goth party that was Dark Side of the Con. Now it’s time to return to one of my old favorites. I have been attending Steampunk World’s Fair for about five years, and it never fails to impress. The convention takes over two hotels in Piscataway, New Jersey, and will be taking place next weekend, May 5–7.
While I was thrilled to attend two events this year with a more overtly dark aesthetic, I always feel at home at Jeff Mach’s steampunk events, despite not quite ascribing to that subculture myself. Goth and steampunk have much in common, which I’ve written about at length for the Steampunk Tourist blog. In short, though, I can always rely on a steampunk convention to bring me together with other people who enjoy literature, Victorian fashion, and tea. Below, I’ll share with you a few things that I’m looking forward to at this year’s SPWF in particular: Continue reading Preview of Steampunk World’s Fair 2017
Miss Ella Rosenfeld has been committed to Auttenberg Asylum for her hallucinations of ghostly apparitions. But even more frightening than the idea of going mad is the possibility that the ghosts are real, and they are warning Ella about the fate that awaits her in the asylum. Ella’s first frightening night at Attenberg sets the scene for the rest of Ghost Machine: A Gothic Steampunk Novel by Kristen Brand. When the author first contacted me to request a review, I knew from the subtitle that this book would be right up my alley. Ghost Machine flawlessly blends various elements of both steampunk and the gothic in everything from the setting to the style and characters. With two genres that are both known for their melodrama and tendency to go over the top, Kristen Brand does a remarkable job of staying grounded and keeping the all too common campiness to a minimum. Ghost Machine is a gem among the many self-published ebooks of Amazon, and I am grateful to the author for bringing this one to my attention! Continue reading Review of Ghost Machine: A Gothic Steampunk Novel
When I was at the Brooklyn Book Festival a few months ago, I heard someone say the words “steampunk Frankenstein retelling” and my ears perked up. It turns out that person was Mackenzi Lee, author of This Monstrous Thing, her debut novel. As you may have noticed by now, I’m a huge fan of Frankenstein. So, intrigued by this description, I picked up a signed copy of Lee’s book then and there. Alas, it took me quite a while to get around to reading it, but I’m glad I finally did.
This Monstrous Thing is set in an alternate history, in which early 19th century Europe is hyper-industrialized and clockwork is the basis of new technology, from new modes of transportation to artificial limbs. Surgeon/mechanics called Shadow Boys fashion clockwork parts for wounded citizens. But while this technology gives crippled men and women mobility and hope, the majority of the population considers it an abomination. Clockwork men and women are treated as second class citizens, and the Shadow Boys who build their parts are in constant danger of arrest. Continue reading This Monstrous Thing Review–Steampunk Frankenstein