Summary: When the most perplexing crimes are committed in London, Scotland Yard calls in their best man: Sherlock Holmes, consulting detective. The only one of his trade, Mr. Holmes’s most enticing cases are chronicled by his long time friend, a retired army doctor. This case is perhaps the most enticing of all. A member of the royal house has been slain in a seedy room in one of London’s least fashionable neighborhoods. However, in this detail rich and elegant alternate history retelling of A Study in Scarlet the Royal House is not Windsor: it isn’t even human.
Bottom Line: In a seamless blend of Doyle, Lovecraft, and his own signature dialog style Mr. Gaiman has created 45 minutes of pure joy. While you do not have to be familiar with Lovecraftian lore to follow the narrative, fans of the mythos will greatly appreciate the thoughtful inclusion of the Old Ones into this classic tale you think you know.
NaNoWroMo, or National Novel Writing Month, is a fall tradition now in its 18th year. The event promotes creative writing and building pre-professional writer communities. While there are many official events , pep-talks, and more forums than you can shake a stick at… sometimes what you really need is your own green-fairy (no not this one) for inspiration.
How about a success story? Visit the website of SteampunkLibrary patron Brianna Kienitz, whose for-pleasure writing project was recently published by NineStar press. She is also participating in NaNoWriMo and will be actively documenting her work on Twitter.
Contemporary realism not what you need? Check out these Steam- Themed NaNoWriMo publications (note: this list is not comprehensive nor is it necessarily an endorsement of quality, simply an example of a novel started or finished as part of the NaNoWriMo challenge that was eventually published by a physical publisher):
Bellow are a few writing prompts to help get you started, or help you if you get stuck.
The doctor looked over the young man sitting in front of her. He was a perfect candidate for this new surgery. He needed his arm removed or he would die, there was no question of that. But would it work? If it did she would be a hero and those stuffed shirts at the Philadelphia Medical Association would have no choice but to admit her… but if it didn’t…if it failed she risked hanging for murder.
Professor Reginald D. Moth began furiously unscrewing the gold-plated cover of the engine compartment. He simply couldn’t find the source of the leak and yet his lab was quickly flooding with oil. If the spill reached the carpet his landlord would surely evict him this time.
The scream can suddenly, vibrating every wall in the house. It was a scream filled with fear, with shock, and if it continued would surely render the creator unconscious from lack of breath. The explosion came no less suddenly, but its vibrations tore the windows from the walls and left the whole household concussed.
Share your progress with on on Twitter @SteamLib, or send us a link in the comments!
Want to share your passion, enthusiasm, and costume work with others? What better way than by presenting at your local (or not to local) convention?
While most conventions take place in the Spring and Summer, most are starting to put their calendars together now. Booking special guests, musicians, artisans, and speakers takes time- so the sooner the better in most cases. Bellow I’ve compiled a list of active cons deep in the planning stages for their 2017 event. Did I miss your favorite? Send a link to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll add it!
While not technically a convention, The Edwardian Ball is an elegant and whimsical celebration of art, music, theatre, fashion, technology, circus, and the beloved creations of the late, great author and illustrator Edward Gorey.
Visit with Gail Carriger in the frigid north! Past years panels included 19th Century Sexuality & Sensuality, Introductory Leatherwork, and Creating Worlds Through Words. They have no posted deadline for applications.
I’m also including links to conventions that don’t have 2017 dates listed yet.
As many of you have noticed and messaged, this site has been inactive for a few months. Major life changes (aka getting a new job, moving across the country, and getting married) just haven’t left me the time to provide the thoughtful reviews and commentary I wanted, so instead of posting half-heartedly, I simply haven’t been posting at all. However, now that I have more stability in life, I am very excited to be returning to this project!
To start us off here is a photo-post highlighting some amazing ideas for a Steampunk wedding.
Wouldn’t we all love to have a wedding like this?
When dressing wedding party members, it’s important to remember not everyone wants to dress-up, particularly if you are having wedding party members who are family, not friends you take with the convention. A great middle ground is to pick key elements that still scream steam, but are more comfortable that a full corset. For the gents: a double breasted jacket or vest like those you can find at ASOS online. For the ladies, boots or jewelry might be the best way to peope-please while maintaining your Victorian flair.
For brides there are several dress options:
You can go for full anachronistic styling with bustles, hats, and mixed colors.
Or you can go for a modern dress with steam-esque elements
After an engagement celebration, a 1600 mile move, a new job, and finally finding/unpacking the box with my computer in it I am so glad to say WE’RE BACK! And just in time to start talking about Halloween prep; after all we have less than three months now!
Things you can expect in the next couple of weeks:
Happy Holidays readers, bloggers, and librarians! Please excuse the lack of posts this month, holiday travel and family time has taken me away from the site temporarily. New reviews will be coming in the New Year!
In the interim, you can still send in your reviews, recommendations, photos, and more to email@example.com and follow updates (including last minute gift ideas) via Twitter @SteamLib.
Enjoy your winter celebrations everyone!
Need something to break-up the Twelve Days of Christmas? My suggestion is modern classical string sounds with pop-catchiness. Can’t be done? It can! This mix of modern and classical is perfect for setting the holiday feel without having to hear “Santa Baby” ever again. Contemporary chamber music is also the perfect soundtrack for your next Steampunk tea date or for your book clubs post-meeting-mingle-music.
Vitamin String Quartet, Dallas String Quartet, Apocalyptica, and 2Cellos all do classical style covers of everything from Lady Gaga to Kansas to Metalica. Their music is available via YouTube, Pandora, and iTunes. For a great Holiday mix you don’t have to monitor hook Pandora up to some speakers and add a mix of these classic-covers into an incredible, crowd-pleasing channel.
Have you been/are you planning on participating in the National Novel Writing Month (known to most folks as NANOWRIMO) challenge? We wanna hear about it! Email documents, comments, and links to submissions[at]steampunklibrary[dot]net.
Share your vlog updates; share your stories; share your favorite author podcast about tips for writing. If you need inspiration, you’re not alone, so send us your favorite steampunk story, website, or artwork and we’ll post it here and via the Steampunk Library Project Twitter page (@SteamLib) to help inspire your fellow participants.
Is your library (or school, or book group, or even just you and your friends) hosting a NANOWRIMO event? Check out this nifty idea for creating novel finishing kits.
Wanna learn more about NANOWRIMO and how to get involved? Visit the official website for all the details.
Good luck to all participants in the 2014 challenge!
Who can live with just one Halloween post? In honor of the best (if not best, at least most colorful) holiday here are more ideas for brining steam into your Halloween plans and a review of the Gail Carriger short story The Curious Case of the Werewolf That Wasn’t, the Mummy That Was, and the Cat in the Jar (part of the Parasol Protectorate series).
Don’t forget to share your own Halloween costumes and concepts at firstname.lastname@example.org and via Twitter @SteamLib.
Music playlists are a staple of every party no matter where it’s hosted. While the classics like “Ghostbusters” and “Werewolves of London” will always hold a place in our hearts it never hurts to add some new pieces into the mix. I put together a small list highlighting some of my favorites from steampunk bands and pop-musicians:
Other suggestions include Abney Park, The Clockwork Dolls, Professor Elemental, and Jonathan Coulton.
Is your library in an area that hosts a large cosplay community?
Invite local groups to come and show off their costumes on Halloween and maybe do a Q&A on costume creation. If you’re lucky enough to live near a convention (you can check the Airship Ambassador Convention Listing ). You also might be able to find local artisans/crafts people who would be interesting in coming with some of their steampunk works (tiny hats, gloves, jewelry) to display and sell last-minute costume pieces.
Last but not least a review of a Gail Carriger Parasol Protectorate story, my recommendation for a quick read for book groups or to curl up with while you binge on candy.
Title: The Curious Case of the Werewolf That Wasn’t, the Mummy That Was, and the Cat in the Jar: An Alessandro Tarabotti Story
Author: Gail Carriger
Series: Parasol Protectorate side story
Genre/Style: Adventure, Short Story
Read If You Like: The Parasol Protectorate series, mysteries,
Ever wonder where Alexia got her sass? Search no further: in this short story originally published in the “Book of the Dead” anthology edited by Jared Smith we get our first full glimpse of Alexia’s father, the adventuring Alessandro Tarabotti.
When the Templars need a job done then expect it to be done quickly, discretely, and completely. When Mr. Tarabotti arrives in Egypt he knows these expectations and with the assistance of his trusted valet (and to the only level Mr. Tarabotti seems about to attempt, his friend) Mr. Floote he hopes to carry out his mission regarding a man and a mummy. However when an embalmed cat, an old ‘yoo-hoo’-ing acquaintance from England, and a blushing young Leticia Phinkerlington appear, things get unexpectedly complicated.
Great for a little read while waiting for trick-or-treaters.
Over the weekend (Sept 26-28) Seattle was host for the First Annual Steamposium, a new steampunk convention filling the gap felt in the community after SteamCon Seattle fell through after five years. I must admit I was skeptical that Steamposium would be able to fit the bill given how quickly they pulled everything together: I have rarely been so pleased to be so wrong.
I hosted a one-hour panel during the Friday 3pm block that was one part discussion about the Steampunk Library Project and one part book talk about my favorite pieces to create a core steampunk library. Despite my nerves causing my originally 35 minute presentation to only last 27 minutes, the event as a whole was quite a success! There were lots of questions, interest in the specific books I discussed, and over a dozen attendees.
Over the course of the weekend I gave out about 100 buisness cards: people taking them at the panel, giving them to people I talked to, a small stack to the Other Worlds Book vendor table, and a few strategically left at the water table. Thank you so much to everyone who turned out to support this project. I’m looking forward to my next wave of content updates including a lot of community input and new reviewers.
I believe the Steamposium creators learned several valuable lessons from the business failings of SteamCon, and one of those lessons had to do with location. The Bell Harbor International Convention Center was a fantastic venue: on the water, walking distance to Pike Place Market, and surrounded by food and parking. The water made for a great background for photos, a ton of which can be found via the Steamposium Flickr and Steamposium Twitter. Be sure to look for Steampunk Iron Man and Boba Fett.
Add-Ons: I loved being able to really customize my con experience by choosing which events I wanted to buy tickets for and which I didn’t.
Variety: I loved the variety of material presented in the panel schedule.
Artist Gallery: The quality of authors and artist present at the con was phenomenal! There was a wide range of talent and really showcased the variety in our little subculture. Some artists and authors I recommend searching for include:
And my favorite part of the experience: Steam Powered Giraffe.
I had the opportunity to do a photo-op and visit the autograph table on Saturday. During the photo I completely forgot my name and only barely redeemed myself during the autograph session. I fully intended to go to the table and express my admiration for the band and share how they were a founding piece of this project (and therefor a major piece in completing my Masters) but I’m fairly certain I only awkwardly shook their hands and babbled a bit. Ah well, still the highlight of the weekend.
This may be more of a difference in priorities, but I wish the convention had more panels and fewer dances. Personally, I’d rather keep attending sessions and meeting with writers and cosplayers than attend a second set of parties and cabarets.
Along the same lines, timing was an issue. The panels and merchant hall would open at 10am (noon on Friday), but would be all wrapped up at 5pm. As someone who was traveling down from the suburbs for the events, I would have liked it if things had started a little later and ran a little later into the evening, particularly on Friday as I felt a lot of panels I attended suffered from low attendance since many Seattleites were likely still at work during the bulk of 12-4pm time slots.
For me, the pros greatly outweigh any negatives I felt towards the scheduling. It was a well put together event in a great location and had a wide variety of offerings for everyone. And it gave me the opportunity to talk about this little project with a lot of people I never would have had the opportunity to meet otherwise.
Bottom Line: Will I be going again? Absolutely! In fact, you can already pre-purchase full weekend passes for only $40 on their site now. Look for another update once they begin accepting panel/workshop applications.
Please share your experiences from Steamposium 2014 in the comments below or send your thoughts and pictures to share via email@example.com or via Twitter @SteamLib.
Every year the American Library Association promotes a week-long series of displays and events to draw attention to censorship in schools and public libraries. Simply called Banned Books Week, these events highlights items that have been banned/censored, or otherwise branded as immoral or unfit for circulation.
According to the ALA a challenge “is defined as a formal, written complaint, filed with a library or school requesting that materials be removed because of content or appropriateness.” A breakdown of terminology can be found here.
In 2013 307 formal challenges were reported by the ALA , down from 464 in 2012. That’s more than a challenge a day for every day in 2012. It should be noted that because of the specific definition of “challenge” and “banned” the ALA has limited means to keep statistics on what books are being targeted and why. The ALA estimates that for every challenge they count “four or five remain unreported.”
Public and academic libraries across the country show their support for the right to read through displays, activities, and speakers. These events vary is scope from highlighting the irony of banning some books (for example, banningFahrenheit 451 ) to promoting conversation about what themes are deemed unreadable and why (like this display ).
The ALA and other library organizations across the country have supportive materials from posters to display templates to t-shirts. Bellow I’ve compiled some of my favorite ideas for displays and activities to draw attention to censorship and promote thoughtful discussion about what we censor.
Share your own favorites in the comments bellow, or on Twitter @SteamLib #BannedBooksWeek.
Program Type: Book Display
Time Frame: Week of BBW
Space Needed: Single display shelf, visible from library entrance
Budget Considerations: Staff time and paper
Description: Cover selected historically challenged books in yellow paper. On the paper you can choose to represent the attitude towards the challenge of your choice (thought provoking, fear mongering, sarcastic, and so on). Options include:
-Ironic list of reasons it was challenged (ie Anne Frank being sad, Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian as racist, or Perks of Being a Wallflower as unsuited to age group)
– Excerpts from court cases/media interviews about the book
– Warning sign for reasons banned (ie “contains descriptions of nudity” or “parental guidance strong language”)
Space Needed: Wall for display, cleared area to allow all users access, space for camera/printer/screen
Budget Considerations: Backdrop creation, staff time to supervise users, camera rental (if not owned by the library) paper/ink for printing the pictures
Description: Have patrons pose with their favorite banned book in front of a decorative police mug-shot styled back-drop. Include the height chart, a sign which includes the name of your library, and an “I Read Banned Books”/ “Caught Reading Banned Books” sign. Print a copy of the photo for your patrons to take home with them. For budget reasons this might be set as the ending of an event or workshop.
Time Frame: Week of BBW, best suited for story-time or book groups
Space Needed: Presentation space
Budget Considerations: Costumes & props (if provided by the library)
Description: Have book group members/story-time participants/your class read a banned book and perform a monologue from their favorite character’s point of view. Have them address the reasons they have been banned and how they feel as a character or what they believe the person making the challenge miss understood about their book.