While I am a writer with a degree in Creative Writing, I haven't published any Steampunk fiction. However, as a panelist and track director, I've been on panels with many well-known Steampunk writers and have gleaned insight from the things they've said. I've compiled some of those things into this post, which will hopefully be helpful to all of the writers out there!
Tea has been around for thousands of years, and as a result, tons of customs and ceremonies have sprung up around its consumption. Some cultures take their tea plain, while others put things in it. Sometimes there are special tea-holding vessels, other times not. Maybe there will even be special foods meant to be eaten with tea. However, in America, our appreciation of tea has waned. For many, iced tea is their biggest source of tea consumption, and it's imbibed with no ceremony whatsoever in...
In my last article, I explained why text adventure games are some of the most Steampunk computer games out there. I even shared a free Steampunk text adventure game that I'd made myself!
Steampunking Nerf guns by painting them is a pretty common practice among Steampunks, but unfortunately, the really amazing-looking ones involve literally taking the gun apart, painting it, and then screwing it all back together.
Before I really get into this article, it's important to note that you do not need a Steampunk persona (or "steamsona") in order to be a Steampunk, or wear Steampunk clothes. Some people like to pretend to be a different person when dressed up in Steampunk clothing, but that is entirely optional, and only to be done if it appeals to you. That said, even if you aren't actually acting as your character, it may still be helpful to have one in mind when putting together an outfit. Personally, I'v...
What I'm going to do in this tutorial is, as the title implies, teach you how to make nearly anything look like metal. This can especially come in handy in Steampunk, as most of us don't have the ability to machine brass. We do, however, have access to wood, PVC, and spray paint. Not to mention that, as a costumer, I can speak from personal experience when I say that things made of brass are really, really, really heavy!
The holiday season is creeping up fast, and if you're shopping for a Steampunk, it could be almost impossible to find anything for them unless you know exactly where to look. Luckily for you, some of us have done all of the work you'll need. Whether you're Steampunk shopping for Christmas, Hanukkah, Chrismukkah (yes, that's real), Kwanzaa, or Festivus, you're sure to find something for that special lady or gentleman in your life by taking a stroll down this list!
In the first part of this two-part guide, I covered cutting, grooving, beveling, making holes, and stamping/tooling. I hope you enjoyed that part, because we're pushing the accelerator to the floor and moving ahead at full speed!
There's a lot that goes into making a nice crystal radio set, so this is going to have to be broken down into two parts. The first part is the actual making of a functional radio, and the second part is making the whole arrangement look nice. In this part, I'm actually going to tell you more than just how to make a crystal radio, but I'm also going to explain how and why they work. Crystal radios are pretty Steampunk in and of themselves, since they were first developed in the late 19th centu...
Nikola Tesla is one of the most tragic figures in the history of science, a history that is practically filled to the brim with tragic figures. Francis Bacon, a 16th century philosopher and scientist, caught pneumonia and died because he was trying to stuff snow into a dead chicken. Marie Curie died as a result of her long-term exposure to radioactivity, and her papers from the 1890s are too radioactive to touch without protective gear to this day.
We see Steampunk props all the time and wonder where the maker found all their pieces. In fact, for some people it's almost like a game to examine each prop and see if they can name all of the original parts.
Thrift stores! As a Steampunk, they can be your best friend, but it's easy to make a tragic mistake. This hands-on guide will help you navigate the murky waters of successful thrifting in order to find the hidden gems that will make your Steampunk outfit complete!
Nearly everyone of note in the Steampunk community has tried at one time or another to define what Steampunk is, myself included. Every time someone tries, it's met simultaneously with both backlash and support for either being too open or too closed.
Sherlock Holmes is one of the most famous characters in modern history, and has appeared in film more often than any other character. No less than 78 different actors have taken their turn at portraying the enigmatic deduction machine in various mediums, and each has brought their own foibles to the role. Some of the names may even surprise you: Tom Baker, John Cleese, Peter Cushing, Charlton Heston, Christopher Lee, Roger Moore, and even Leonard Nimoy.
Imagine a world where the Rococo period never ended, and it had a lovechild with Sid Vicious. Sounds unlikely? Well, it is. Still, historical accuracy wasn't the goal for this motley group of costumers.
Say whatever you want, but Steampunk is primarily a maker culture. Consider that Steampunk has existed since the 1960s and yet more or less languished in obscurity until approximately 2005, which is when it made the leap to costuming. That costuming was what provided the leap to the tangible, despite the fact that Steampunk art had also existed for years.
LEGO has not attempted a blimp, zeppelin, or similar airship since 1999, the 5956 Expedition Balloon which used highly specialized parts. This is unfortunate as these vessels are well and truly part of the pulpy adventure and steampunk scene.
Organic Armor is a company run by Paul Hersey which makes... organic armor. Their Facebook page is a really awesome place to get some steampunk inspiration. Check out some of their work:
It's actually an art installation made to look like an elevator was erupting from the ground, or perhaps as though it had fallen from a great height.
I don't know how many of you had this experience in your youth, but when I was a kid, I used to actively think about what would happen if I suddenly woke up in a fantasy land, or were to pass through a portal into another space and time. I knew it wouldn't really happen, but when you're a kid, these can be important issues to you. So I slept with my glasses on every night, just in case. Photo from George Pal's The Time Machine.
This two-part series (second part here) will teach you literally everything you need to know in order to make pretty much anything out of leather.
If you're a Steampunk (or costumer of any variety) and you don't know what Rub 'n Buff is, this tutorial will make your life so much easier. You have no idea.
I recently set out to do a roundup post on the state of Steampunk underwear, but what I found surprised me: There wasn't any men's underwear! Did I accidentally stumble onto sexism in Steampunk?
I've seen some pretty ugly steampunked guitars in my day, but this isn't one of them. This one's about as beautiful as they get. French company Wild Customs made this Gibson LesPaul into a steampunk masterpiece.
This list may not blow your mind as much as it may make you want to blow your brains out, depending on how tired you are of goggles in Steampunk.
You may or may not have heard the term "greebles" or "kit-bashing" before, but if not, they may sound like nonsense. Particularly 'greebles', which sounds more like the name of a small, gremlin-like creature. However, I assure you that they are very important in prop-making, and if you can master them both, you'll be able to make intricate, great-looking props in hardly any time!
Sometimes I forget that I'm also a fiction writer, so I thought it might be a nice change of pace to share one of my stories with you. I wrote this piece awhile ago for an anthology that never came together and I'm tired of just sitting on it.
I obviously do a lot of Steampunk projects, but there are a ton of things out there that I haven't tried yet. So, in an effort to broaden my horizons, I recently taught myself how to use Arduinos, which I plan to incorporate into some of my future Steampunk builds.
There are many opportunities to make Steampunk clothing. Clothing can be elegant and relate to the aristocrats of the 19th century. But Steampunk also can be rough and dirty, inspired by the adventurer from stories like 2000 miles under the sea or even movies like "Mad Max" or Wild "Wild West".. There are no rules how Steampunk has to look...
I'm sure that there are plenty of people out there who have no idea what a plague doctor is/was, so I'll start with an explanation.
We frequently associate plastics with the modern era, starting at around the 1950s with the prevalence of bakelite. However, for all of you "you can't use plastic in Steampunk" purists out there, I have bad news for you:
First off, let me say this—using real steam power is dangerous, and heavy, and just generally not worth it when you have modern alternatives. Except, you know, if you're a Steampunk. Or this guy:
Many people find Steampunk problematic for a whole host of reasons, not least of which is the glorification of an era of Western history that featured institutionalized slavery, racism, sexism, elitism, and many more -isms.
With the new year right around the corner, it's time to talk about the end of the 19th century, a time which plays an enormous role in Steampunk. If you've done any reading of British books written from about 1890 to 1899, you may have come across the phrase 'fin de siecle' and wondered what it meant. You also may have come across this term in reading about the late Victorian era. No worries, I'll tell you all about it! Image by Giovanni Dicandia
I just returned from a trip overseas and I came across this great article over at The Chronicles of Harriet about the role of black men in the evolution of Dandyism. Dandyism rose to prominence at the end of the 19th century, so there's a clear connection to Steampunk. I hope that many black men embrace the fashion and find their way into steampunk!
Let me start out by saying that Steampunk isn't about being historically accurate, and that everything I'm about to tell you is entirely optional. That said, let's take a look at the history of screws! What many people don't realize is that before we had metal screws, wooden screws were in wide use for things like wine and oil presses. Generally, the invention of the screw is attributed to Archimedes in the 3rd century BC. That was a long, long time ago. Metal screws and even screwdrivers hav...
Text adventure games, such as the well-known Zork series, were some of the first computer games ever made, second only to the likes of Spacewar! and the better-known Pong. So let's travel back in time for a moment, to a time that never was.
Those of you who have attended a Steampunk convention in the last year or two may have heard of something called "Tea Duelling" and been intrigued.
Steampunk is a tremendously interesting phenomenon because of its reliance on science fiction, and fiction in general. Steampunk can arguably be broken down into two categories: the fiction, and the aesthetic. Sometimes these categories cross over, but they're often more distinct than most people suspect; that said, the aesthetic is firmly based in works of fiction.
We don't generally think of medicine as being very relevant to Steampunk, but it was a big part of Victorian science fiction. Notable examples that you may be familiar with would be Frankenstein and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.