Tag Archives: Arizona Steampunk Society

Day 3 and 4 of Phoenix Comic Con

Last night Phoenix Comic Con 2014 ended.  I had a great time, but wow, sensory overload, 100,000 or so people and tons of old and new friends.  I spent most of today just chilling with the dogs and resting up.  Standing on hard concrete for four days for up to fourteen hours a day takes its toll.  I am really not sure how some of my friends are able to do up to 50 conventions per year.

There are a lot of photos below, but they are all fun and from my own camera.  Enjoy!

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Come By the Wild Wild West Con 2 Tomorrow and Say Hello!

Friday, March 8th, 2013, I will be appearing as a guest at Wild Wild West Con 2, the only Steampunk only Con at an actual 1880s theme park.  Old Tucson Studios, the site of over 300 movies and TV shows, will be hosting the event for the Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  It is hosted by the great folks at the Arizona Steampunk Society who have put tons of work into it.  A shout out to Diana, Jason and Noe and to the hundreds of others working to make this a fun and exciting weekend event.

Thanks to their gracious invitation, I will be there Friday, on a panel at 2 pm discussing writing steampunk, steampunk themes in literature and indie publishing.  Joining me on the panel are author/publisher/magazine editor Patti Hulstrand, and author/cover designer/computer whiz Chris Wilke.  Please stop by not only to see us, but all the great costumes, events, performances and live bands.  Here is a link:

http://www.wildwildwestcon.com/d/

logo

Unfortunately, due to still recovering from recent medical procedures, I will only be able to attend the first day.  I will not have a vendor booth, but will be available briefly before and after the panel to sign copies of my Steampunk and other books.  You will also get to see me as my alter ego, dressed in 1880s western steampunk garb.  It is sure to be a great day for you and all you bring.  Lots of fun, and a unique experience.

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What is Steampunk?

I write across several genres of both fiction and non-fiction, but many of my novels and stories are Steampunk.  The biggest question we Steampunk enthusiasts get is, “What IS Steampunk?”  At the Wild Western Festival I manned the booth for the Arizona Steampunk Society, where we handed out brochures and event descriptions and I answered that question around 300 times.  I conducted an entire seminar/panel at the LepreCon Convention in Tempe on the topic, powerpoint presentation is here:

Why is Steampunk Picking up Steam

The most basic answer is that you already know what Steampunk is and probably like it, you just don’t know the term.  Steampunk is science fiction adventure set between 1830 to 1900.  It is the Victorian Era in England when Brittania grew and the British Empire never had the sun set upon it.  During this period of colonialization, most of South America, Africa and Asia were annexed by the “major powers” of Europe.  In America, it was the pre-Civil War era, through the Civil War, the Indian Wars, and the Wild West.  It encompassed most of our traditional movies and literature about westerns and the Civil War.

Examples of Steampunk begin with writers who wrote during that time – HG Wells, Jules Verne, Arthur Conan Doyle, and even some Kipling.  20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Around the World in 80 Days, Journey to the Center of the Earth, The Land that Time Forgot, The Mysterious Island, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Dorian Grey, Sherlock Holmes and other stories are ALL steampunk.  Science fiction and adventure, set during that time.

More modern examples include The Wild Wild West TV series and movies, the movie versions of stories listed above, Cowboys and Aliens, the recent Sherlock Holmes movies, Abraham Lincoln Vampire Slayer and so on.  That is the literary and movie answer.

However, there is a world-wide movement, complete with millions of fans and thousands of conventions in which people dress up and play out parts in Steampunk.  This includes Steampunk music, indie films, events (my wife is at a Steampunk Masquerade Party tonight, I am at home, just able to walk after surgeries, can’t dance) and even a life-style.  Those familiar with goth, punk, manga, hipsters and cosplay will understand more what these movements are like.  The people of Steampunk have a blast and are among the nicest people around.

So what then is the allure of Steampunk?  It is simply fun, naivete and adventure.  In the nineteenth century, Steam powered engines such as railroads, factories and other sciences made dramatic changes in the world.  Electricity, steel, oil, transportation all changed society from an agrarian world with no lights but candles and ships which relied on the wind, to a modern world.  This allowed war to change from what it had been for nearly a thousand years to a suddenly dangerous and brutal occurrence.  It allowed us to see at night, to move around, to transport over distances, to build skyscrapers, to travel the world reliably.  At the time, large parts of the globe were unexplored.  Africa was considered “the Dark Continent” because there were no maps except the coast.  The source of the Nile was discovered by Stanley and Livingston.  It would not be before 1922 that King Tut’s tomb was found.  The world was mysterious, and for the first time we could explore it.

Nine Kings Gather in Windsor Castle in 1910

This was an era of industrial magic, robber barons, monarchies, creation of huge cities with slums, conquering of weaker nations, exploration and excitement and fear of the future.  The United States and France were the only democracies, and neither were working out too well.  America had a major Civil War with over 700,000 casualties.  France had starvation, then the Terror, then Napoleon, then stupid wars like the Franco-Prussian War.  It was a simple existence gone wild through industrialization and science.  New fighting old.

That is Steampunk.  From 1900 or so to 1940s is referred to as ‘Dieselpunk’.  These include such favorites as Indiana Jones and Sky Raiders of the Universe, Tin Tin and Captain America.  Future sci-fi was originally called ‘Cyber-punk’ when computers were new in the 70s and 80s.  We have computers all over now, but when they first came out, they created a hopeful and scary future for us, just as steam power and science did for the Victorian Era.

Here are some Steampunk pictures to show you some variations in the genre and the community:

 

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Wild Western Festival – Book Signing

I will be at the Wild Western Festival, at Sahuaro Ranch Historical Park, this Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10 am until 5 pm signing copies of The Travelers’ Club and The Ghost Ship and Twisted History.  Copies will be available for $10 and $5 respectively, which is about a 40% discount off the retail price.  Look for me at the Arizona Steampunk Society booth.  And yes, I WILL be in costume, so you can’t miss this opportunity to gawk at me in my Stetson.  Those who know me know what color it is too – Black.

Here is the link with all the information:

http://www.wildwesternfestival.com/

 

 

 

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Town Appears from Alternative Universe

Draft Back Story…

 

TOP SECRET – DEPARTMENTALIZED CLEARANCE ONLY – DESIGNATION WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT

NEED TO KNOW ONLY – DESTROY COPIES – FILE NUMBER 42-ECHO-ZULU-107

TOPIC:  TIME SPACE VORTEX QUANTUM SINGULARITY CONFIRMED

CODENAME DESIGNATION:  H.G. WELLS

The occurrence of a class 5 time space vortex quantum singularity has been confirmed in the environs outside of Tucson, Arizona.  Codename HG Wells has been assigned for all communications.

In accordance with sealed Presidential Directive 8-b, the area has been cordoned off to prevent entry or exit from the area.  The vortex is limited to an area of approximately three square miles.  So far quarantine protocols have been effective, however, the longer the vortex remains unclosed the increased danger that the overlap in alternate universes will either expand, or our own universe will diverge from its natural path.

On or about two weeks ago, the event started with a strange rumbling and the appearance of blurred lights outside of the City of Tucson.  In the middle of an undeveloped area of the Sonoran desert, an entire town materialized.  Initial analysis shows that while the town is consistent with those found in America during the nineteenth century and the inhabitants appear in many ways to conform to Victorian and Wild West periods of our universe from around 1830 to 1890, there are significant variances.

The people of the town are unaware of our modern world and have technology created on advanced steam theory and machinery not available in our own timeline.  While we have long theorized through astrophysics of membrane theory that multiple universes exist and occasionally bump or influence each other, this is the first visible proof.  For reference purposes our universe as we know it is designated Alpha One.  The people and town that have appeared have been designated to be from alternate universe and timeline Beta Two.  They appear to be in most respects human and unaware of their transposition from Beta Two into Alpha One.

Initial investigation has led to two working theories:  1) A device with technology unknown to us accidentally transported the city to this universe and broke, leaving it unable to reverse the process; or 2) someone intentionally used the device to move the city and has hidden the device or disabled to prevent their return.  Our investigators have been unable to determine the location of the device or how to return Beta Two citizens to their own parallel universe.

The problem is that to reveal our existence as Alpha One citizens may endanger the safe return of Beta Two citizens and cause irreparable harm to both universes.  Dr. Moriarty J. Verne, Professor of Astrophysics, has studied this phenomenon and came up with an unusual yet workable plan on solving this problem.

His plan is to provide a cover story that the Beta Two town is in fact the site of a “steampunk convention” and a movie set.  The Beta Two residents will be viewed as “actors” immersed in their part.  Guest will be invited to help “investigate” thinking they are simply having fun with a convention gimmick.  Professor Verne believes that while most of us Alpha One residents are blinded to the truth of the situation, that steampunk fans have a special connection to Beta Two thinking that will allow them to get to the bottom of what happened.

Professor Verne feels their may be some cross-universal psychic connection that has imbedded the desire to dress as “steampunk” characters in certain psychically sensitive free thinkers in the Alpha One universe that is directly related to the parallel Beta Two universe.  By allowing these people to visit the town, he believes they will succeed where non-psychically connected investigators have failed.

The cover story includes creating a Steampunk Convention entitled, Wild West Con 2 at the Old Tucson Studios.  Ticket buyers will then circulate amongst the Beta Two inhabitants, dressed similarly so as not to raise suspicion or interfere with the timelines.  Each will be asked to “investigate” in exchange for prizes.  The results of their inquiries will be turned into Professor Verne, dressed in disguise to blend in.  After the three day event, these investigative notes can then be used to solve the mystery and return the Beta Two inhabitants and their city back to the appropriate universe.

If all goes well, no one will ever be the wiser.  If it fails, we have prepared a special compound in Area 51 in which to forcibly relocate the Beta Two citizens and their town.

 

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Steampunk Murder Mystery Tonight!

We are gathering to find out who killed Arthur E. Faxe in 1897 in Egypt tonight as part of the Arizona Steampunk Society.  We are hosting at our humble estate.  Was it Terra Sunder?  Major General E.B. Sawtedd?  Lester A. Fayre?  Lady Melissa Lynke?  Anne T. Inkwitee?  Hamilton Mactorr?  Ashley R. Sonnyste? or Conrad Iver?  Tonight, 15 people will investigate the death and determine which of those eight people did the heinous crime.  Will much food and adult beverages be needed?  Definitely.  This event is by ticket only and is sold out, so unexpected visitors will be violated.

Tonight, I will be Lord Whyle A. Waye, and all dignity aside, here I am with my fox hunting horn:

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