In which the American auto industry mistakes cars for Coca-Cola

Over the holidays, I got to talking to my Dad about cars.  “I brought my first car when I was sixteen,” he told me, “and it was horrible.  I had to completely take the engine to pieces and rebuild it to get it to work properly.”

The internal combustion engine is a simple beast at heart which runs on gears, grease and just a tiny spark of electricity.

For car manufactures, this is a problem.  If owners can fix their own cars, then how are they going to continue to harvest money from consumers after they leave the showroom?  Well, some bright spark came up with an answer for them:  Fixing your car may soon be a breach of copyright.

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Je joue donc je suis: an audience with the Jaquet-Droz automata

The highlight of my recent trip to Switzerland was the morning I spent at the Musée d’Art et d’Histoire in Neuchâtel with Caroline Junier, the curator, Thierry Ronstutz, a local watchmaker, and two 18th century robots.  (more…)

Beyond Victoriana


Image re-produced from Beyond Victoriana, courtesy of Kory Lynn Hubbell

We’ll be completely honest with you: we don’t really read blogs. That’s probably a part of the reason why we’re so bad at keeping this one updated (although that’s changing as we kidnap… I mean find new people that we can talk into posting any interesting bits and pieces that they happen upon). However, once in a while we find something that’s so special that we couldn’t ignore it even if we wanted to, and this is most definitely the case with Ayleen the Peacemaker‘s new project: Beyond Victoriana.

Beyond Victoriana is dedicated to the exploration of non-Eurocentric steampunk, and although the project is still in its infancy, there are already some brilliant entries on Chinese technology and science in the Muslim world. There is also a brilliant interview with Bruno Accioly of steampunk.com.br, and – our personal favourite – a piece on First Nation steampunk.

More information about the project can be found on the announcement page, and Ayleen tells us that she is always on the lookout for more thoughts and ideas. We wholeheartedly encourage you all to go and take a look.

News from the Steampunk Magazine Soiree

* * * * *

Having been on the move (and on the road) since the week before the soiree, it’s taken me a little while to pull together all of the video that we managed to get over the weekend of the SteamPunk Magazine Soiree (not to mention that we actually had to send the camera away to have the footage transferred onto DVD first – no one ever accuses us of living in the modern age!), but we have finally managed to cut something together.

Above is a short video of highlights from over the course of the weekend (anyone who was actually there and would like a copy of the full, unedited video, drop me a line at allegra [at] steampunkmagazine [dot] com and I’ll happily provide you with it), and below you can see a number of photos taken by our own Cal Wimsey, as well as some from those who attended the soiree and have been kind enough to let us post them.

The event itself went really rather well indeed (despite a small number of hiccups) and we are already beginning to draw up plans for another event (hopefully including steam cars and a SteamPunk play!) that will, with any luck, be taking place next June.

We all had lots of fun looking around the first exhibition of steampunk artwork at the Oxford Museum of the History of Science (not to mention admiring the truly vast collection of astrolabes and astrological equipment that they have there) before moving on to have a look around the Christmas markets in the freezing cold. The next day Lady Jillian Spagthorpe (aka SPM’s own Carolyn Dougherty) tried her best to teach us the three dances that we would need for the evening’s performance – and although we here at SPM have to admit to being a little bit left-footed, she was very patient with us!

The Monday night saw three of steampunk’s finest bands performing. Congratulations go especially to the wonderful Sunday Driver, who battled through traffic and adversity and still managed to arrive in time to open the gig – not withstanding their wonderful interpretation of the Regency set dance ‘The Dressed Ship’. As far as we are concerned, having a whole bunch of people in big boots and goggles dancing to a piece of early 19th century music being played on tabla and sitar is exactly what steampunk should be about.

The stage was then handed over to Ghostfire, who treated us to their infamous waltz and were then treated to a good laugh at the expense of the Steampunk Magazine crew as we stumbled our way through a polka to their ‘Vaudevillian’.

Finally, all hell was unleashed in the form of The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing. Many headbanging-induced-headaches were had by all, and we have to say that – having heard the Men perform twice now – we are looking forward to the release of their debut album with much anticipation. So much so, in fact, that you can look forwards to a special interview with them in issue #7, and perhaps an extra special treat besides…

Many thanks to everyone who made the event possible. It warmed our hearts (and on a very cold day, too) to have so many of you offer us a hand over the two days of the soiree. Now that, my friends, is most definitely what steampunk is all about.

Our gratitude goes out to all the bands and venues, and my own personal thanks especially to Carolyn Dougherty, Dylan Fox, Cal Wimsey and Andrew O’Neill for all their help and assistance. Without them, the soiree would never have happened.

Keep upping tha punx!

Allegra

Happy New Year

Forget flying cars; now that we’re officially in the future, I want my dirigible. Wishing you all a delightful evening of ringing in the new decade and a fantastic 2010!

Home Sweet Home

Lately I’ve been seeking steampunk eye candy in the form of amazing interior decorating, and the internet is providing plenty.


(via The Steampunk Home)

Antique science-y things!


(via The Steampunk Workshop)

Epic old doors!


(via Gizmodo)

A home theatre like the inside of a submarine?!

While I can do nothing so epic, I have been making a rag rug out of old t-shirts. This isn’t inherently steampunk-y, I know, but it looks pleasantly old-fashioned, and is in the spirit of DIY and sustainability that makes steampunk awesome. Do you have any steampunk decor projects underway? E-mail them blog@steampunkmagazine.com or go show off at The Gaslamp Bazaar!

Happy Holidays from SPM


One of several carols up on YouTube from the Glasgow University E. Steampunk Society.

Also check out this cute Christmas poem and film from the League of Steam.

Happy Holidays, everyone!

Two UK Steampunk Events

We are now all back safe and sound from the soiree. We all had a fantastic time, many thanks to everyone who came and especially to our wonderful bands Sunday Driver, Ghostfire, and the delectable Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing. In the next couple of weeks, we will be putting up photos and videos from the event, but until then there is good news for all of you in London as two of the bands from the soiree will be playing a gig in January.

Now for the details.

The London Steampunk Spectacular

23rd January 2010

@ The Cross Kings, 126 York Way, Kings Cross, London, N10AX

Doors 7.30pm

Adm £5

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Happy Turkey Day!

Happy Thanksgiving, to all you U.S. types! I’m thankful for awesome free steampunk fiction, and I received an e-mail from a blog reader asking me to highlight this excellent short story by G. D. Falksen from Tor.com’s Steampunk Month, so here it is! Do enjoy!

Also from Tor.com, a list of steampunk blogs, which I will be investigating and possibly posting on when I recover from massive amounts of pumpkin pie and finals studying. One of them is written by a SPM contributor!

The Trial of Sherlock Holmes


Saw this on Twitter and thought I’d pass it along – our fantastic contributor John Reppion has released a collected edition of his series The Trial of Sherlock Holmes. The website has a few pages available online, and it starts off with a fantastic explosion, which makes it awesome by default.