Being a techie like I am, one of my favorite parts of Steampunk has always been the mechanical wonders people like Jake von Slatt, Bruce Rosenbaum, and Dr. Grymm create and showcase at the various conventions around the United States. You can imagine then my joy at finding pictures of a Steampunk motorcycle over at Walyou this week. Designed by Mikhail Smolyanov of Solifague Design, the bike also takes inspiration from the racing cars of the 1920s. The ARX-4, as Smolyanov dubbed it, has a V8 engine and is powered by a direct drive shaft. The Walyou writer declares it doesn’t look drivable in certain aspects, but honestly how much would you really care?
Over at Fanboy.com, we’re treated to a collection of artwork showcasing Steampunk animals done by Russian artist Vladimir Gvozdev. The way Gvozdev has drawn these animals, blueprinted with their mechanical insides showing, has me imagining them almost like the Clankers from Scott Westerfeld’s alt-history series. On offer are drawings of an elephant, frog, cockroach, dachshund (yes, I call them “wiener dogs” too), a turtle, a praying mantis, and other fantastically intricate designs — there’s even a snail!. Makes me wonder if Gvozdev, who goes by the name Gvozdariki (website in Russian), is selling any prints of the images. I’d definitely love to have these hanging in my living room.
The Autovision Museum in Germany spent a full year rebuilding a Starley Tricycle, an electric vehicle similar to a Segway originally designed and built in the 1880s by Messrs. William Ayrton and John Perry a full five years before the first BMW patent was ever filed. EnGadget.com offers up a video and picturesof the rebuilt tricycle, which tops out at 8 miles per hour and has a range of 25 miles between recharges; still worth your time either way. The writer over there seems surprised at how quiet it is, but remember that old tech doesn’t necessarily mean noisy tech. Take the 1925 Doble Series E Steam Car sitting in Jay Leno’s garage if you don’t believe me.
The CNN Geek Out blog had not one, not two, but three Steampunk-related stories this week. The first came on Tuesday with a discussion of Steampunk’s origins and how its fans operate within the genre today and included quotes from DJ Doctor Q (who I’ve now mentioned two weeks in a row) and Emilie Bush, PR Director of The Artifice Club. The second article praised Steampunk for including strong female characters as leads in adventure stories, referencing Kady Cross’s The Girl in the Steel Corset, Cherie Priest’s Clockwork Century series, Gail Carriger’s Parasole Protectorate saga, and Westerfeld’s alt-history World War I novels. CNN’s got the right of it when they say what all the heroines of these YA novels share is the sheer sass of their attitudes, or “moxie” as they call it. As an aside, I love the word moxie and shall commence with using it as often as possible. And the third piece, although slightly unrelated to the genre at large, details the thought process behind BioShock: Infinite’s setting in the floating city of Columbia. And speaking of BioShock, the movie that was supposedly in the works has officially been sunk.
Back to Walyou again for 14 drawings of Steampunk Superheroes. On offer are Superman, Batman, Spiderman, the Avengers, Iron Man, a sexy Harley Quinn, and Wolverine along with other members of the X-Men.
For the Makers among us, MAKE Magazine showcases the Steampunk irising door of a Nautilus-themed art car commissioned from San Francisco art collective Five Ton Crane. Give the video a watch; I’m sure you won’t be disappointed. If you want to get building yourself, take a tour around Instructables.com for some good Steampunk projects … and maybe take a try for this Steampunk bonsai tree.
Bleeding Cool talks with the creative team behind the upcoming Dark Horse Presents comic series Amala’s Blade. Billed by writer Steve Horton as “if a Miyazaki world came in conflict with a Moebius one,” the world deals with the concept of the Chosen One in a Steampunk setting including a heroine who gets inducted into a Sword Orphan Cult. Kind of interested to see where this goes, to be honest.
Wired’s GeekDad blog has long been an outlet for Steampunk news, book reviews, and the like. This week doesn’t disappoint, with three new features on Steampunk. We’ve got an article about drawing Steampunk characters, machines, and more; a review of YA anthology Steampunk!: An Anthology of Fantastically Rich and Strange Stories; and a Kickstarter alert about Steampunk board game Kings of Air & Steam from Tasty Minstrel Games.
There’s a number of events going on this weekend. Out in Madison, Wis., is the second iteration of TeslaCon. This year’s theme is “20,000 Leagues Under the Aether,” which is kind of interesting given that SteamCon III’s theme this year was 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Hrm … seems like we’ve got a case of Jules Verne fandom cropping up bigger than normal in Steampunk this year. Sad news for those who haven’t already purchased tickets for TeslaCon though — it’s sold out already. But if you’re already going out there, stop by the vendors room and take a look at Bionic Unicorn’s jewelry. She’ll have a copy of our August/September 2011 print issue for you to thumb through, and some fancy Doctor Fantastique’s business cards for you to take with you.
Down in the sunny state of Florida is the First Annual All Florida Victorian Picnic and Croquet Tournament at Lake Mirror Park in Lakeland, Fla. Set up starts at 10 am on Saturday, November 19, and the organizers encourage everyone to bring their croquet sets and other Victorian-esque gear along to the park for picnic fun and revelry.
Interested in antiques to decorate your Steampunk home? Then take a gander at the 51st annual Del Mar Antique Show in Del Mar, Calif., for some fantastic ideas. Running from November 19 to 21, the antique show features dealers and restorers from throughout the Western United States. On Saturday, costumed members of Mari Lewis’s Costume Walkabout will be strolling the aisles gussied up in Steampunk gear based around a “Steampunk Christmas” theme. According to the North County Times, attendees should keep an eye out for Steampunk Santa and Mrs. Claus as well as a Steampunk nutcracker.
The Toronto Steampunk Society is hitting up SFContario 2 this weekend; show up at 5 pm tonight (Friday) at the Ramada Plaza Hotel at 300 Jarvis Street if you want to join in.
That wraps up Around the Aether for this week, stay tuned for next time when we’ll show you yet more fascinating Steampunk news from all across the Aethernet!
Got a calendar item or a Steampunk news tip you want to see included in Around the Aether? Email us at aroundtheaether(at)doctorfantastiques.com.