Steampunk in Animation Pt. 3: Last Exile: Fam, The Silver Wing

Shorewood Blu-ray OcardLast week I reviewed Last Exile, a fun steampunk anime with many dark secrets at its core. Today I’d like to introduce you to Last Exile: Fam, The Silver Wing, another steampunk anime series which came out several years after the original Last Exile.

Here’s what the product page has to say about Last Exile: Fam, The Silver Wing:

Soaring adventure and high-flying heroism fill the skies in Last Exile – Fam – The Silver Wing, a thrilling new chapter in the Last Exile saga!

Years ago, humanity abandoned the ruined Blue World. Generations later, with the planet again capable of sustaining life, mankind returned. In the skies above the reborn world, rebellious young Fam and her best friend Giselle make their living as Sky Pirates. Atop sleek Vespa Vanships, the girls dart fearlessly through the clouds, capturing and selling airborne battleships for profit. It’s a life of care-free swashbuckling – until the Ades Federation attacks. The only nation to remain on Blue World during humanity’s exile, The Ades Federation wages war against those who returned only after the planet’s darkest days had passed. When Fam and Giselle rescue a princess from the clutches of the rampaging Ades armada, they join the young royal’s battle to save her Kingdom from destruction – and undertake the impossible mission of uniting humanity in peace.

The story of Last Exile: Fam, The Silver Wing is strong enough to stand on its own but is definitely more fun to watch if you’ve already enjoyed the original Last Exile. In many ways the second story mirrors the first. There are many references to the first anime but all of them make sense within the story of Last Exile: Fam, The Silver Wing. We even get to see several characters from the original Last Exile, including a brief appearance from the main characters themselves at the end.

One thing about the original Last Exile that really stood out was the sheer variety of airships and the different ways they were used. I was particularly intrigued by their use of sonar to track other airships.

In Last Exile: Fam, The Silver Wing there’s an even larger variety of airships and the main characters are actually sky pirates who spend their days hunting “skyfish”. The way these sky pirates work is awesome to watch in action. They are full of cool tricks which they use to minimize damage done to the “skyfish” they catch.

With only 23 episodes, Last Exile: Fam, The Silver Wing is even shorter than the original but it manages to tell a well rounded story in that short amount of time. The story of this anime isn’t as dark as the story of the original Last Exile but it’s definitely a story that will make you think about human nature and the nature of war. The characters are lots of fun, especially when you get to re-meet the crew from the original Last Exile, and the world of this story is an especially beautiful one.

Purchase Last Exile: Fam, The Silver Wing here!

Introducing Andrea Berthot of the Gold and Gaslighting Chronicles

HeartlessToday’s author caught my attention when I read a review of her most recent novel, The Hypnotic City, which is part of the Gold and Gaslight Chronicles. The series caught my attention right away thanks to its new take on one of my favourite old stories, Dr. Jekyll & Hyde.

Please give Andrea Berthot a warm welcome!

Can you tell us a bit about your books?

There are currently two books in my Gold and Gaslight Chronicles series, both involving glittering excess and science-gone-wrong in reimagined urban settings during the Victorian and Edwardian eras. The Heartless City is set in 1903, and London has been quarantined for thirteen years, terrorized by a race of monsters created by Henry Jekyll. Due to his own devastating brush with science, seventeen-year-old Elliot is now an empath, leveled by the emotions of a terrorized, dying city. He finds an unlikely ally in a music hall waitress named Iris, and together they must discover who’s pulling the strings in Jekyll’s wake. Monsters, it turns out, are not the greatest evil they must face. The Hypnotic City is a sequel/spin-off that will be released on August 1st, 2016, and it follows one of the minor characters in The Heartless City – Philomena Blackwell – as she attempts to make it as an actress in 1905 New York. When she lands a big break, it seems as if the city is ready to fall under her spell – just as she seems to be falling for a handsome young stage manager – but a new and more terrible danger lurks in the shadows of Broadway’s bright lights, and even a mind as determined as hers may not be immune to its seductive, insidious pull.

Which part of the story came to you first?

I first thought of the idea for The Heartless City when I was discussing one of the film versions of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde with one of my students (I am an English teacher). I suddenly thought, “what would have happened if Dr. Jekyll hadn’t kept his formula to himself, but instead shared it with his friends or sold it?” And the idea grew from there.

I love when stories come about like this! It’s amazing how much story you can get out of a single question.

The Heartless City is set in 1903 London and The Hypnotic Cityleads your main character to 1905 New York. How much research on each setting did you do before starting each book?

I did LOTS of research for both books. It was different with The Heartless City because it wasn’t only 1903 London but a reimagined, quarantined, monster-filled 1903 London, so I had to research things like what products, world events, and cultural changes they would be cut off from and how that would change the dynamics of the city. The Hypnotic City was a little bit easier, because it is less re-imagined history, but I still read many books and studied many maps in order to prepare, just like I did for Heartless.

When you set out to write The Heartless City did you intend to write a series?

Not at all! I thought it would be a standalone, but Philomena became such a powerful and compelling character that when the story was over I knew I had to find out what she did next and give her her own story.

This has happened to me recently, with one of my novels turning into a trilogy. It’s awesome and terrifying all at once, because a series is a much bigger commitment.

What was the first steampunk media you discovered?

I first became intrigued by steampunk fashion, especially when I saw a local production of Sweeney Todd that was costumed completely with a steampunk aesthetic. It was so dark, quirky, dramatic, and exciting.

That sounds amazing! Sweeney Todd is one of my favourite stories. I know a lot of people who are fans of the play aren’t fans of the movie, but I adore it and have watched it at least seven times.

What do you think is the most interesting thing about steampunk?

It’s just fascinating how it takes most of the things I love about Victorian culture and then adds sci-fi/fantasy. It gives the writer/artist the opportunity to ground themselves in something historical and real and then take off from there and create something new and exciting.

It really is a fantastic combination, one of the most fascinating periods of history combined with some incredibly creative additions from the fantasy & science fiction genres(which happen to be my favourite).

If you could meet any one steampunk author/artist, who would it be?

Definitely the OGs of steampunk – H.G. Wells and Jules Verne

What are you working on next that readers can look forward to?

After completing The Hypnotic City, I decided that I wanted to make the Gold and Gaslight Chronicles  a trilogy, so I am brainstorming/outlining the next book, which will likely take place in Paris and have to do with the birth of early cinema, and of course some weird and creepy science.

That sounds awesome! I’m really eager to explore more steampunk that isn’t England-centric and I love that your series is all over the world.


bookpicofme
Andrea Berthot’s
last name has a silent “t,” like the word “merlot” – which fits, since that is her favorite drink to have at the end of the day.

Back when she was born in Salina, Kansas, her last name was Price, and she grew up loving singing, acting, reading, and of course writing. By day she teaches high school English, creative writing, forensics, and directs the yearly musical, and by night (or rather, by early morning, as her brain is more alive at 5am than 5pm) she writes Young Adult stories involving history, romance, magic, literature, and some good, old-fashioned butt-kicking.

She lives in Winfield, Kansas with her husband and their two sons, Maximus and Leonardo.

The Heartless City

Henry Jekyll was a brilliant doctor, a passionate idealist who aimed to free mankind of selfishness and vice. He’s also the man who carelessly created a race of monsters.

Once shared secretly among the good doctor’s inner circle, the Hyde drug was smuggled into mass-production – but in pill form, it corrupted its users at the genetic level, leaving them liable to transform without warning. A quarter of the population are now clandestine killers – ticking bombs that could detonate at any given moment.

It’s 1903, and London has been quarantined for thirteen years.

Son of the city’s most prominent physician and cure-seeker, seventeen-year-old Elliot Morrissey has had his own devastating brush with science, downing a potion meant to remove his human weaknesses and strengthen him against the Hydes – and finding instead he’s become an empath, leveled by the emotions of a dying city.

He finds an unlikely ally in Iris Faye, a waitress at one of the city’s rowdier music halls, whose emotions nearly blind him; her fearlessness is a beacon in a city rife with terror. Iris, however, is more than what she seems, and reveals a mission to bring down the establishment that has crippled the people of London.

Together, they aim to discover who’s really pulling the strings in Jekyll’s wake, and why citizens are waking up in the street infected, with no memory of ever having taken the Hyde drug…

Heart-eating monsters, it turns out, are not the greatest evil they must face.

Purchase The Heartless City on Amazon today!

The Hypnotic City

Philomena Blackwell survived a city plagued with monsters, the gilded cage of high society, and the rule of a heartless man… and she aims to leave it all behind.

It’s 1905, and London has finally been freed from Henry Jekyll’s terrible legacy – its people cured, its thirteen-year quarantine lifted. The world is waiting, and for a girl who dreams of being its most dazzling star, what could be more enticing than the bright lights of New York City?

She is drawn across the ocean like a moth to a flame, her heart set on proving that while she may be small on the outside, her soaring talent eclipses even Manhattan’s towering skyline. When she lands a big break, it seems as if the city is ready to fall under her spell – just as she seems to be falling for a handsome young stage manager. But is it her stage presence mesmerizing the audience, or something more sinister behind the scenes?

Philomena has always relied on her fierce will and fiery heart, but a new and more terrible danger lurks in the shadows of Broadway’s bright lights, and even a mind as determined as hers may not be immune to its seductive, insidious pull…

Both fans of The Heartless City and new readers alike will enjoy this stand-alone / spin-off tale of Philomena’s adventures on stage – and in love – in NYC.

Check out The Hypnotic City on Goodreads!

Do these sound like awesome novels to you? Do you want to see more series like this featured on The Steampunk Cavaliers? Know a series you want to see featured here? Let us know in the comments section below!

Steampunk in Animation Pt. 2: The Last Exile

LastExileI’ve talked before about how many of my favourite examples of steampunk are animated and about my eagerness to dive further into steampunk animation, especially steampunk anime(Japanese animation). The Last Exile is one of the most highly recommended steampunk anime, so it seemed like a natural place to start my journey before diving into the obscure reaches of the anime world.

I’m not so great at the summary thing so I’ll start by sharing what’s on the Funimation page:

It’s the dawn of the Golden Age of Aviation on planet Prester, and retro-futuristic sky vehicles known as vanships dominate the horizon. Claus Valca – a flyboy born with the right stuff – and his fiery navigator Lavie are fearless racers obsessed with becoming the first sky couriers to cross the Grand Stream in a vanship. But when the high-flying duo encounters a mysterious girl named Alvis, they are thrust into the middle of an endless battle between Anatoray and Disith – two countries systematically destroying each other according to the code of chivalric warfare. Lives will be lost and legacies determined as Claus and Lavie attempt to bring peace to their world by solving the riddle of its chaotic core.

Like many of the best anime, The Last Exile is a short, self contained series with only 26 half hour episodes–but you will be amazed at just how much story these animators manage to fit into a short period of time. I am honestly still reeling from everything that happened in just the second half of this anime and I’m already excited to watch it again to pick up on all the nuances.

Right away I adored Lavie–the extremely talented and quirky girl mechanic is a fairly common anime trope but it’s one of my favourites–and by the end of the first episode I was already enthralled by the variety of airships roaming the skies of Prester.

At the beginning The Last Exile is a fun story that marries all the things you love about steampunk with some of the best anime tropes, but after the first five or six episodes the story takes a sharp turn onto a very dark path with a strange cult-like Guild at the center. Quirky, even outrageous characters and awkward romance scenes are skillfully used to keep it from being extremely heavy, but at its core this anime’s story is deeply disturbing.

I do kind of wish The Last Exile went on a little bit longer because a couple of the character arcs felt rushed, especially at the end. Everything did come to a satisfying conclusion, but there are a couple points where you can tell they’re really trying to jam a lot of story into the 26 episodes they were given.

I would recommend The Last Exile to anyone interested in exploring steampunk anime. The characters are truly likable and the story is fascinating, delving far deeper into the nature of humanity than you might expect, especially from something this short.

Does this anime sound awesome to you? Do you know an epic steampunk anime I should feature here? Let me know in the comments below!

Daniel Ausema Interviews W E Larson, Author of Cog: And the Steel Tower

cogSeveral years ago, a bunch of my writer friends and I were captivated by the work in progress being shared by one of our group. We raced to be the first to read the chapters as he posted them for critiques and had a great time reading the story. I’m thrilled that W. E. Larson is now releasing the book, Cog: and the Steel Tower. I had a chance this weekend to ask him a few questions about it.

 

Thanks for joining us here at Steampunk Cavaliers! Without simply repeating the book’s blurb, tell us about Cog: and the Steel Tower. What will stand out for steampunk fans?

But repeating the blurb is so much easier!

Well here goes… It’s a story about a mechanically-gifted young girl nicknamed ‘Cog’ who is forced to strike out on her own in order to live the life she wants to live. She becomes a stowaway on an airship, assuming a false identity and stumbles across a plot that threatens the whole country. Once the airship arrives at the Steel Tower, the seat of power for the nation, she has to maintain her secret while at the same time unraveling the mystery of the plot. There’s a lot she learns along the way involving friendship, trust, and the dangers of trying to take on everything yourself.

Steampunk fans will find a rich world of alternative technologies and 19th century ideas of psychic abilities and mysticism. Since Cog is an aspiring engineer, the steampunk elements are very much an integral part of the story. The Steel Tower itself is a playground for mad science where all sorts of inventing and experimentation takes place.

Cog is such a great character, clever and caring and unafraid to challenge the way things are. Tell us more about her. What led you to write about her? Did she surprise you as you wrote the story?

I started off the book wanting to make something my daughter might enjoy reading which led me to a female protagonist. Since I wanted to create a steampunk-style world, it felt natural to make this girl mechanically gifted with a bit of mad scientist thrown in. With the Victorian influences of steampunk and the modern challenges girls face in STEM fields, there was a natural story about having her challenge gender roles so it sort of all flowed together to create this young girl who is an almost unstoppable force of determination and MacGyver-like ingenuity.

What surprised me was how confident she ended up being. I think there is a strong temptation with a young girl as a protagonist to have her gain her confidence and discover her strength as the story progresses, but that just isn’t who Cog is. I had to go in a different direction with her development.

What about Cog’s world? It has an interesting mix of the fantastical with the industrial changes of a steampunk world. What do you think will draw readers into her world?

Part of the fun of steampunk is that ‘what-if’ quality of imagining a world in which technology developed in a different way. Cog’s world has that element and throws in alchemy, psychic ability, and abandoned scientific theories to add a little fantasy. It’s a book for kids, after all, and I think a little of the fantastical helps add to the fun. However, because the fantastical is wrapped up in things that people really believed in and isn’t just ‘magic’, I think it maintains the steampunk feel. I’m hoping the reader will find that an engaging combination.

Are there other prominent steampunk works in middle-grade novels right now? I always felt books like His Dark Materials and The Series of Unfortunate Events have a steampunk feel without it being an overt part of how they’re marketed. Any other works stand out? And what aspects of steampunk do you think middle-grade readers will be drawn to?

I did feel that with His Dark Materials and I suspect that Lyra Belacqua had an influence on my development of Cog. The steampunk series that comes to mind for me right now is the Leviathan series by Scott Westerfeld, though I haven’t read it. I think in steampunk young readers can find the wonder of fantasy in a setting that’s very different and fresh from traditional fantasy worlds. Maybe the characters can be easier to relate to as well since it’s still a technological and urban world even if it is very different from our own.

What will be next for you? Will Cog have more books to test her mechanical abilities? Will you be branching out into other works, other subgenres?

There is a lot more to explore with Cog, her friends, and her world so I have plans for more books. I’ve already started a sequel called ‘Cog and the Copper Dragon’. I have a more traditional fantasy book in the same age-range which I’ve finished writing and has been through some rounds of revisions, but isn’t quite ready yet. There’s also a science fiction YA book I have outlined that I’d like to write for an older audience that will dive into some deeper issues, but that’s on the backburner for now.

Great, I’m looking forward to hearing more about the sequel when that comes around, too. Thanks so much for your time. For more about W. E. Larson, visit his website: http://www.welarson.com/. And to order your own copy, in print or digital format, check it out on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01F6MD1AC.

What Steampunk Means To Me by Louise Peacock

I have only been involved with Steampunk since early 2014.

This involvement was thanks to a wonderful artisan/Steampunk advocate called  Anne Marie Schlodder. She along with her silversmith daughter, Victoria, encouraged us to participate.

Photo by Bruce M Walker

 

 

 

Thanks to her we showed up at an event called Steam On Queen, a local event in Toronto, celebrating all things Steam punk. this event was the Brainchild of the wonderful Adam Smith, seen in the midst of the event.

Photo by Bruce M Walker

 

and again with some of his creations and his amazing helper, Syndi Berman

Photo by Bruce M Walker

I quickly saw the huge potential for dressing up and dove into it full-tilt-boogie-band. I even got my husband to get involved.

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This was taken at Steam On Queen in 2014 with our designer friend Emi .

Photo by Bruce M Walker

Once of the nicest parts of getting involved is some of the super people I have met.  Lord Christoper MacRaven and his lovely lady seen next.

Photo by Bruce M Walker

The Pennys,  Nerissa from SteamGummi designs, Archie from Mental Floss, this list goes on.

Nerissa and I below.

BruceMWalker7

I’ll close with glimpses of the great event that was Steam on Queen, sadly not to be repeated.

 

Photo by Bruce M Walker Photo by Bruce M Walker Photo by Bruce M Walker Photo by Bruce M Walker
All photos by Bruce M Walker and used with express permission.

Did you enjoy this post? What does steampunk mean to you? Let us know in the comments section below!

The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher

Review PhotoRelease: September 29, 2015
Author: Jim Butcher
Series: The Cinder Spires
Genre: Steampunk | Fantasy | Adventure | Humor
Edition: Kindle and Audio
Pages: 640
Publisher: ROC
Buy it here: AMAZON

Blurb

Since time immemorial, the Spires have sheltered humanity, towering for miles over the mist-shrouded surface of the world. Within their halls, aristocratic houses have ruled for generations, developing scientific marvels, fostering trade alliances, and building fleets of airships to keep the peace.
Captain Grimm commands the merchant ship, Predator. Fiercely loyal to Spire Albion, he has taken their side in the cold war with Spire Aurora, disrupting the enemy’s shipping lines by attacking their cargo vessels. But when the Predator is severely damaged in combat, leaving captain and crew grounded, Grimm is offered a proposition from the Spirearch of Albion—to join a team of agents on a vital mission in exchange for fully restoring Predator to its fighting glory.
And even as Grimm undertakes this dangerous task, he will learn that the conflict between the Spires is merely a premonition of things to come. Humanity’s ancient enemy, silent for more than ten thousand years, has begun to stir once more. And death will follow in its wake…

Review

I am a fan of Jim Butcher’s urban fantasy series, The Dresden Files, so I admit to being excited by the fact that he had plans for a new series set in a steampunk world. These last two months have been a busy time for me professionally, so I purchased both the Kindle and the Audible editions of the novel hoping to save a bit of time with the Whispersync function. (When I review a book I generally read it two times and take notes. This is a bit longer time commitment than simply reading a novel for pleasure.) Unfortunately I have Apple products (iMac and iPad) and Whispersync does not work with them. The iMac and iPad Audible versions did not sync with each other either. Ah well—the best laid plans of mice and men! I am glad, though, that I purchased both: Euan Morton narrates the Audible version and he is such a versatile actor it is almost impossible to believe one person is voicing each character. This is a book I will listen to again.

Spoilers Ahead

The Aeronaut’s Windlass is a wonderful addition to the steampunk genre. It is not set in Victorian England or the American West, although these time periods do serve as touchstones of inspiration. It is set in its own world and it incorporates unique aesthetic touches.

The world-building in this series is incredibly detailed, yet is not intrusive to the narrative. It takes a deft touch for a writer to include so much information without it bogging down the story, but Butcher is able to achieve this. I believe that Butcher succeeds because of his experience as a writer—because of his years of honing his craft. If you are interested in a “behind-the-scenes” type view of writing, visit Jim Butcher’s Live Journal. It contains detailed, step-by-step posts on how to write a novel.

The steampunk elements are essential to the story. Airships, spire cities at war, and almost magical seeming gauntlets that shoot out beams of light are part-and-parcel of life for the characters. The society is structured and multi-leveled.

One interesting aspect of the society is the (mostly) mandatory military service for the children of the wealthier/aristocratic houses. Families who have only one child do not have to send their heir into service, but most of them do so despite the danger. It is a particular badge of honor to serve. The tradition in the novel reminds me of the real-life service that Great Britain’s royal family has partaken in over the last few generations. Prince Harry, the second child of Prince Charles, even served in active duty in Afghanistan.

Although there is a heavy focus on aristocratic members of society in the first novel of the series, the characters run the gamut of society: Bridget, scion of a once-prominent noble house on the verge of ruin and her talking cat, Rowl, Highborn Gwendolyn Lancaster, her “warrior born” cousin, Benedict; the disgraced Captain Grimm; and master etherealist Ferus and his assistant, Folly, are a motley group of grizzled veterans and novices that are sent off to stop the mysterious force behind a very coordinated and deadly series of attacks on Spire Albion by its rival, Spire Aurora.

The chapters are narrated by different points of view. The character location is presented in a sub-heading at the start of each chapter and the voice of each is unique. It is not difficult to determine who is speaking simply by the diction each one uses. This is particularly effective with Euan Morton’s narration in the Audible book where he does an excellent job portraying the diversity of each character’s manner of speech.

The battle scenes, both on the ground and between the airships, are thrilling. It has elements of the swashbuckling adventures of C.S. Forester and Patrick O’Brien and just a touch of Joss Whedon’s Firefly:

“Evasive action!” Grimm ordered. The distant screaming roars of the Itasca’s guns continued, and he heard the hungry hissing of blasts streaking through the mists around them, making them glow with hellish light. They had been lucky to survive a single glancing hit. Thirty guns raked the mist, and Grimm knew the enemy ship would be rolling onto her starboard side, giving the
gunners a chance to track their approximate line of descent. If the same gunner or one of his fellows got lucky again, Predator would not be returning home to Spire Albion.

Jim ButcherThe action rarely stops in this novel and the world is a steampunk-themed playground waiting for Butcher to explore in future novels. What lies on the surface of the world? What created the mists? And what game is Albion, ruler of Spire Albion, playing? Readers will have to wait for those answers as the series develops.

 

Introducing Cassandra Duffy, author of The Gunfighter & The Gearhead

GF&GH One of the most awesome parts of running a blog like this is that I get to feature stories the mainstream media usually ignores. In our two months of blogging we’ve already featured one steampunk series about a transgender woman and today I’m thrilled to share The Gunfighter & The Gearhead, a steampunk novel featuring an explosive relationship between two brilliant women.

I hope you’ll enjoy learning about their story as much as I have.

Can you tell us a bit about your novel, The Gunfighter & The Gear-Head

It was my first novel and is still one of my favorite projects. It’s a love story at its heart with an unusual backdrop of the post apocalyptic American southwest. It sprung from a short story I wrote in college and blossomed into a full series of books combining an end of the world setting with steampunk technology and a dash of humor and sex.

A short story that turned into a series of novels! I thought that only happened to me! All joking aside, this is an awesome way to build a story.

What part of the story came to you first?

The romance between Fiona and Gieo, definitely. I wanted to write an out of control emotional connection between two women that have almost nothing in common beyond their undeniable attraction to each other. The firestorm relationship between a dangerous, unbalanced gunfighter and a brilliant, fearless scientist needed an interesting setting, and that’s where Tombstone came into play.

This sounds like such a fascinating relationship, no wonder you couldn’t keep it contained within a single short story.

How much planning did you do before delving into the actual story?

 

Since it was a short story first, the bare bones of what I wanted to do already existed. I fleshed the ideas out some, took a few drives into the desert for inspiration and research, and everything grew from there. I have the entire series outlined, which has made it easy to add three more books including two sequels and a prequel.

You sent this quote to me with the blurb: “Four things greater than all things are, – Women and Horses and Power and War” ~Rudyard Kipling Why did you choose this quote to represent The Gunfighter & The Gear-Head?

 

Kipling is such an interesting historic and literary figure. He’s a British colonial writer, which should make him completely outdated and bland by modern standards, but they just remade the Jungle Book into a live action movie so his work still has appeal. His stories and poems about under dogs and the power found in unlikely people are remarkable for his genre and era. I actually found the quote before I wrote the third book in the series and it summed up exactly what I was going for. Two of the earthshaking forces people know and expect, war and power, but I don’t think everyone realizes how influential women and horses have been in shaping human history, and that’s the story I wanted to tell. All four great forces Kipling mentions combined into one movement: the Raven Ladies.

When & how did you discover steampunk?What part of steampunk is most appealing to you?

I like the science and style mixture. Function and form melding together. My father is an aerospace engineer so I grew up in a household full of pictures spanning the age of flight, models and sculptures of anything that ever left the ground, and tons of schematics, blueprints, and design drawings for flying machines. I never had a talent for any of the engineering side, so I invented my machines in fictional realms where they wouldn’t rely so heavily on funding and physics to exist. I doubt Boeing would be wooed by Gieo’s airship designs, although Harley Davidson might take a look at her motorcycle.

I also really love the combination of science and style you find in steampunk. I think too often modern science has gone for efficiency without aesthetics, leading to an overly sanitized and often ugly world.

Your “day job” is actually freelance writing, but do you write any types of fiction other than novels?

I think for a freelance writer to make a living it has to be all about diversification, like a good investment portfolio. I write short stories and novellas from time to time. I have a few collections out and a novella series right now. I used to write sex advice columns for various lesbian magazines, then a relationship advice column for a network of dating sites, and now I’m writing grants for LGBT organizations. I’ve tried my hand at poetry and fan fiction with cute but ultimately not very good results.

That’s quite an impressive list of things you’ve written. I’m really interested in learning more about the grant writing process and expanding the diversity of my own non-fiction work–I’d love any advice you can share in the comments section here!

What are you working on right now that readers can look forward to?

I’m on the homestretch of writing a mystery novel set in early 20th century Barcelona with a steampunk private detective investigating a serial arsonist. It’s called Pintor Noche and I’m hoping it’ll be ready for release this summer. It combines so many of my favourite things, intrigue, food, art, gadgets, sex, and fashion.

Those are many of my favourite things too! I’ll have to add it to my to-be-read pile(which only seems to grow, no matter how fast I read books. Thanks for agreeing to this interview, I hope you’ll stick around to discover the other amazing Steampunks we’re going to feature!

About Cassandra

CassandraDuffyI write a free-lance sex advice column found in various lesbian magazines and dating websites. My short story collections and novels can be found at http://cassandra-duffy.com/. I’m a dutiful partially-Asian daughter who is beloved by a fairly traditional Korean father who thinks having a gay daughter is just fine as long as I keep playing coed flag football. I’m a stereotypical younger sister, and adoring aunt of a hilarious little boy. Being a modern techno-freak, gamer-girl, I spent most of my childhood dreaming of designing video games, but changed my mind and brought my dreams of world building and story-weaving to writing unique romance novels. I am a gleefully monogamous wife to an earthbound goddess. When I’m not being an avid fang girl (vampire fan girl) or tormenting people in online gaming, I live and write in Florida with my soul mate Nichole and our two cats: Dragon and Josephine.

Think The Gunfighter & The Gearhead sounds awesome? Know a steampunk author/artist you think we should interview here? Let us know in the comments section below!

You can find Cassandra at www.Cassandra-Duffy.com.

Introducing Steampunk Cavalier Ryan Flannery

Ryan-Flannery-e1455655880497-299x356

Today I’d like to introduce Ryan Flannery, the newest Steampunk Cavalier. He’ll be stepping in for Jorie, who has left us due to health issues. Keep reading to find out more about him & what he’s looking to feature on the blog.

What was the first example of steampunk you ever encountered?

My first steampunk I ever saw or read, hmmm. I guess it would have to be Wild Wild West, Treasure Planet, or Howl’s Moving Castle. Though I didn’t really understand the concept of steampunk at the time. I fell in love however; with the original Full Metal Alchemist in fact the Teacher’s Sigil is the only tattoo I currently have. Since then I have always been on the lookout for new and exciting steampunk related material.

What do you think is the most interesting aspect of steampunk?

I would say the most interesting thing about steampunk to me is the look of everything, the mixing of brass and wood, of gears and toggles. How things mix and match together, to some steampunk looks like a hodge podge of parts thrown together in some disorderly fashion. To me it is a work of pure art and expression from the goggles with all the funny parts coming off them to intricate music boxes, the gears turning and glinting in the light.

What part of steampunk do you most want to share with the world?

One of the areas I want to explore most is the cosplay aspect of steampunk. There is a whole movement about adding a little steampunk to standard cosplays and I really want to see what the community can do. I also am excited to look into the games created in steampunk worlds and the stories that are shared in a world where past and future collide.

If you wish to contact me, it’s best to email ryanflannery4@gmail.com or by my Twitter @RyanFlannery13 .

Ryan’s first interviews & reviews will go online next month so email him right away if you want to be featured on The Steampunk Cavaliers!

Author Spotlight: Gary Nicholls

One of the images in The Imaginarium
One of the images in The Imaginarium

Today’s author is a little different from the authors who’ve visited the Steampunk Cavaliers before. He’s also an incredible artist working on a fine art photography book exploring a steampunk world and the characters within. I’m thrilled to be able to share his amazing artwork with the world and to learn more about his creative process.

Please give Gary Nicholls a warm welcome!

Can you tell us a bit about The Imaginarium – Eva’s Story?

The Imaginarium is a Dickens style steampunk themed story about one woman’s journey from ruination to salvation, saving the world from a powerful nemesis, told in a series of Fine Art Photographic images. In a Steampunk world of wickedness, betrayal, murder and greed, one lost soul stands out as her saviour. Eva Elizabeth Lovelace is born into a North of England workhouse, her mother dying in childbirth. At the age of 12, after working all hours in the Mill, she is sold to work in a bordello, as a skivvy. When older, she becomes an Adventuress, working for a domineering, wicked madam, Regina Von Black. Treated badly, she takes to the bottle and her life spirals out of control.

Dr William Percival Stockdale, a wealthy doctor and inventor, sees Eva and hatches a plan to save her using a device he has invented called the Necessitti. The Abernathy’s (workhouse owners) constant arguing, lead to Captain Abernathy meeting a stranger in an inn, who asks questions about Eva. This stranger appears throughout the story. Eva’s secret past is known by Bella Donna Abernathy, who also has a secret object kept in a box, that relates to Eva. The Abernathy’s son steals all their money to gamble it away, leaving them broke and ruined. There is a relationship between Captain Abernathy and Dr William, Lady Abernathy and Eva, and Eva and the stranger, revealed later in the story. Dr William is aided by two Steampunk, time travelling “Angels”. Eva is kidnapped by Regina’s Harlots and held in a pumping station. In the fight to rescue her, the madam’s twin sister is killed, leaving Regina to call upon the powers of her Steampunk Witch mother, to turn her into an all powerful Nemesis, in order to avenge her sister’s death.

From wickedness, treachery, prostitution, secrets and murder, the plot twists and turns, each character having their own story that builds into the final sections where almost all is revealed. With now, 36 characters and 65 extras, no main character in the story is who they seem each having a past that is about to catch up with them. The final scenes in the trilogy have 4,000 Steampunks lined up ready to do battle with The Nemesis, to save the world from her power. I will be flying all over the world to visit steampunk groups, photographing them to build this image.

My images are printed on metal, limited to just 7 of each, in one size, 36” on the long side. There are two images that are at 48”, but they are very special. The prints sell from £1,000 to £3,000 each.

What an interesting story and a massive undertaking! I’m crazy about this blog but I can’t imagine working on a project of this scale. I admire your dedication.

How did you first discover steampunk?

 

I used to subscribe to a Photoshop magazine, and one month there was a ‘create your own steampunk image’. This made me think that perhaps there were people that did this for real, not just models in pictures. I googled it and found The Asylum, Europe’s largest steampunk festival held every year in Lincoln, UK, at the end of August. So I bought a ticket and realised, on seeing the huge number of steampunks in attendance, I had found the theme for my project.

Even the steampunk events here draw in hundreds of people every year and we definitely don’t have the biggest convention or anything. It really is amazing to see how many steampunks are out there creating awesome stuff.

When you decided to start actively doing art again, why did you drift to the steampunk genre?

 

IairshipGaryNichollst was purely because I was fascinated by the creativity and artistry in the gadgets and costumes. People say ‘you need to think outside the box’ the reality is that if you think there is a ‘box’ then it is already too late. However, once you drift into steampunk, it sucks you in. I now have several costumes I wear for my exhibitions, and love it.

Steampunk really is addictive! I’ve only put together one costume so far but I’m already planning my next one.

The Imaginarium – Eva’s Storyis a fine art storybook. Did you come up with the story or the art first?

The Imaginarium story started as just 3 images, and 5 steampunks. My one rule is that to be in the project, you need to be a genuine steampunk. I work differently to other artists that work composites. The image is completely formed in my head, first. There is no sketching, no planning, it is just ‘there’ in my mind. The inspiration can come from a song, a costume or just how someone looks.  I then jump onto google to find the location that matches what I have ‘seen’ and I am off. The steampunks are then ‘directed’ in a studio, so that I get the image telling the section of the story I am trying to tell. This can take a huge number of shots (to create 100 pictures, I have taken over 8,000 images) The story, however, is another matter entirely. It is very organic. It has gone from a few pictures, to twenty, then sixty and now over 150. Not only that, the whole tale is now a trilogy, so over 450 images to create. The story developed after I had created 6 images, where I realized I actually had a story to tell.

This is a really awesome process of discovering your story. I wonder if it’s done growing yet.

Had you done any fine art before starting this project?

The simple answer is no. I attended art college, for a couple of years, when I was 16 and was Head of Graphic Communication and Design Technology in a London Secondary school after graduating as a teacher. Design has always been in my blood, as I see anything I am designing as completely finished, before pencil hits paper.

I always see amazing, beautiful images in my head when I sit down to art, but I’ve never had the patience or skill to make them reality. Kudos to you for following your creative muse so effectively!

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned working onThe Imaginarium – Eva’s Story?

Steampunks are amazing people. The people I have met, while working on this project, have been incredible. Polite, friendly, interesting, helpful and generally wonderful. The clothing has a huge amount of amazing style, and makes any person look great and I have learnt a lot about myself and my own imagination.

Who is your favorite steampunk artist & why?

I wouldn’t say that I have a favourite, and I am certainly not influenced by any Steampunk Artists. My influences tend to stem from Photoshop Gurus like Glyn Dewis. The way that I work is that the idea and image come first. I then look to find out how on earth I can create what is in my head. I do not use stock photos, every element in my images is photographed by me.

What are the next steps forThe Imaginarium – Eva’s Storyand when can I buy my copy??

The next step is publishing the first book of over 150 images and story. It is being printed at a very high quality, with the pages printed in matt grey with the images over printed and spot varnished to match my metal prints. There will be a Kickstarter running at the end of this month, where you will be able to buy a copy, being offered with various options. The first 1,000 copies will be numbered and signed limited editions and you can register your interest in this Here  The retail price will be £89 plus p+p but the Kickstarter will be £79 plus p+p. The first 2,000 copies sold via the Kickstarter will also have your name in the back as a listed supporter.

This is so exciting! I can’t wait to see your Kickstarter campaign & finished work.

 The Nemesis is born (Large) Gary Nicholls

Gary Nicholls was born in Rochford, England, and was brought into the darkroom by his father as early as 3 years old. Now he is reclaiming his love for photography with The Imaginarium, a steampunk themed fine art photography book. He already has over 100 images complete and will be flying all over the world to meet with other steampunks and complete The Imaginarium.

http://www.g-n-p.co.uk

https://www.facebook.com/GaryNichollsPhotography

Got any questions for Gary? Love his artwork? Let him know in the comments section below!

Call for Guest Posts

SteamCavBANNER2Up until now the Steampunk Cavaliers has been a closed group blog because we wanted to establish our style so writers had something to base their own posts on. We haven’t been open for a particularly long time but I think the posts we have so far are a great display of what we want The Steampunk Cavaliers to be. So today I’d like to welcome writers of all types to submit guest posts, abiding by the following rules:

  • All guest posts must in some way relate to steampunk(how they relate can be really vague but it must be a real connection)
  • Guest posts should contain no swearing/an absolute minimum
  • Posts must be at least 450 words
  • You must have permission to use all images associated with your post
  • Send all posts to steamcav@gmail.com

You do not need to be an established blogger or steampunk writer/artist to submit a guest post. All you need is an idea! The first guest posts will start to appear in May. You will receive a byline with a link back to your own site and many virtual hugs and cookies for sending us awesome ideas. We’re especially interested in non-review content as we have a lot of reviews coming up over the next few months.