Temporary Pause in Posts

Hello everyone!

Thank you all so much for making this site such a success – it means so much to see how popular my posts have gotten and see the number of Twitter followers growing!

However, there will be a temporary pause (as you may have noticed) in posts while myself and tech-support/now fiance get moved. New job, new city, newly engaged, new adventure! Sadly, though, new posts will be delayed. I’ll return to my two post a month on Monday’s schedule as soon as everything is all settled.

Things to look forward to:

You can always keep up to date on all things steam by following on Twitter (@SteamLib) which will remain unchanged in activity since I can do that all via smartphone data. You can also submit your own posts to submissions@steampunklibrary.net and those can go up as soon as I get them.

Again, sorry for the delay but we’ll be back and better than ever soon!

Consultation prize: a steampunk-esque music video from the French group Dionysos.

 

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Steel & Sky

Author: Ren Cummins
Series: Tales of the Dead Man

Age/Audience: Tweens

Genre/Style: Adventure

Read If You Like: Steampunk that reads like fantasy, Kenneth Oppel’s Airborn

Summary:

When an airship captain, a blind man, a girl child, and an adorable creature called Trill arrive at Firnis Eld to steal a corpse nothing seems amiss. The arrive in port via the airship Lamprey just in time of the big festival, the perfect distraction. They have tools, and they have a prophecy to guide them, they have a plan. That is until the find out that corpse isn’t dead. Perhaps things will go anything but according to plan.

The world in which Firnis Eld exists is full of steampunk universe, however that universe is not to my personal taste. While the technology is impressive, I found myself remembering all elements of the story except that technology. Each steampunk element or plot point always seems to be paired with (and often over shadowed by) a biological creation or cultural point that make a much bigger impact than the tech in the background. The cultural and biological pieces in Steel & Sky are creative and pleasantly complex, however that’s not what I look for when I read steampunk: I prefer science-fiction to science/fantasy.

 

Bottom Line:

While perhaps not my personal favorite item promoted on this website, it has inspired me to seek out Mr. Cummins’ other steampunk work, Chronicles of Aesirium, to see if those are written more to my taste. I do suggest this book for tween or HiLo teen readers who might find traditional steampunk in Victorian English too stuffy. It’s also a great suggestion to bring fantasy readers into the genre.

Links:

Read about it on Goodreads

Find it on Amazon

Also a huge THANK YOU to Mr. Cummins for gifting me a review copy of the book. I enjoyed it!

Have your own thoughts on the book? Share them in the comments bellow or via Twitter @Steamlib and @rencummins

Frankenstein’s Monster

Creator: Mary Shelley (novel) Written/Produced by Judith B. Shields, Directed by Syd Lance

Media Type: Feature Film, 84 minutes

Audience: Family Friendly (but use your best judgment with extra-small children)

Summary: This micro-budget, independent film adaptation from First Step Cinematics, Frankenstein’s Monster tells the story of The Monster, his creator, and the lives ruined in the name of mad science. Following the original frame narrative the film opens with Dr. Victor Frankenstein being saved at sea. He befriends the vessel’s captain and spins his tale of the creation of the murderous Adam, his science project made from the pieces of the dead and subtle steam-powered mechanics. Unlike the novel the story is told through third-person perspective across a single time-line and allows for insight and conversation with non-primary characters. These characters desperately try to help Victor maintain his sanity, but how can a man keep his wits with a monster on the loose and no one to stop it but himself? This adaptation is the most true to the source material I’ve ever seen, but that doesn’t mean it is without differences — most noticeably the inclusion of dream sequences and the removal of portions of Adam’s story.

The overall feeling is more like a play being recorded than it is a feature film, which helps keep its novel like feeling since the focus is on the characters and their dialog, not flashy creation scenes and gory monsters. One major flaw of the film, though, is the delivery of that dialog. All the dialog is in early 19th century English, not modern English and unfortunately the actors fell victim to what many Shakespearean actors do: the dialog felt memorized instead of free-flowing and emotionally driven. At two instances the speech pattern felt so odd I half expected them to break out into song. However the music is so well put together you don’t lose the emotion of the moment even when the language delivery is off.

Bottom Line:  It may not win any Oscars, but I highly suggest it for classrooms and libraries that want a visual companion for the novel. It will likely keep younger viewers’ attention better than a recorded play thanks to it’s score and sweeping artistic landscape shots.

Read More: First Step Cinematics 

Watch It via Amazon Streaming

Buy It on DVD

Watch the Trailer:

Also a huge THANK YOU to Producer Ms. Shields for reaching out to the Library and submitting the film for review. I really enjoyed it and hope to see more from you in the future!

Thoughts or comments on the movie? Comment bellow or send your reviews to submissions@steampunklibrary.net

NANOWRIMO 2014

Official (and surprisingly inspirational) NANOWRIMO icon
Official (and surprisingly inspirational) NANOWRIMO icon

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!

Steamposium Seattle: 2014 Event Review

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.

Librarian standing to the right of powerpoint display
Look at that lovely PowerPoint

My Panel:

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.

Conventions Pros:

  • 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.

Group photot: left to right, Rabbit, Librarian, Spine, Hatchworth.
That is the face of name-forgetting-levels of joy. From left to right: Rabbit, The Librarian, Spine, and Hatchworth.

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.

Convention Cons:

  • 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.

    Librairian holding Steam Duck learns to Fly open to the group
    Practicing my book-talk strategy

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 submissions@steampunklibrary.net or via Twitter @SteamLib.

Librarian’s Update

Thank you so much to everyone following and sharing on this site and re-tweeting, sharing, and commenting on Twitter (@SteamLib)! This project is a labor of love and the support and enthusiasm of my followers make it all worth while.

I’d also like to say a huge thank you to the ladies over at SS Librarianship, a library-life focused podcast hosted and produced by two of my UBC SLAIS classmates. I was lucky enough to get to talk about all things steampunk on their episode titled “I Can Do It My Damn Self” which you can listen to via their site.

Want more Steampunk Library content? You can become the content! In making this project a community resource I am always looking for library programs, displays, and crafts as well as reviews of books, music, movies, and websites. Any material can be sent to submissions@steampunklibrary.net and will be posted here. Please including any links and the name you’d like listed in the by-line (and your Twitter handle if you have one).

Want to get involved in person? I will be presenting at the Steamposium Seattle Steampunk Convention in September. Conventions are great opportunities for steampunk fans from all walks of life to network and find inspiration. In addition to great panels the convention will also be hosting musical guests Steam Powered Giraffe and celebrity guests from around the geeky universe. I hope to see lots of bookworms and educators gussied up in their finest top hats.

 

Happy Labor Day!

Convention Season

As a community resource for librarians and steampunk fans in all walks of life, we here at The Steampunk Library project want to connect and share with as many members of the community as possible. To that end The Steampunk Library project is active on Tumblr (follow at http://steampunklibrary.tumblr.com/), sharing posts and steampunk art.

Recently Steampunk Library has also joined Twitter (@SteamLib), where we can share links from other steam-inspired people, like the Boston Metaphysical Society (@HMollyRosing), the Airship Ambassador (@airshipEmbassy), authors like Gail Carriger (@gailcarriger), and more. Follow the #steampunk hashtag and @SteamLib to get connected to the community.

Looking for some face-to-face cosplay filled interactions? August may be fast approaching but convention season is far from over!

I will be hosting a Steampunk Library panel in September at the first Steamposium Convention in Seattle Washington, September 26-28. For more info and badge prices visit their website, or their Facebook. Get your badges early to ensure you can see Steam Powered Giraffe LIVE in concert at the convention on Saturday night. Don’t know about Steam Powered Giraffe? Check out the review of them here.

Not in the Seattle area? Not to worry! Both TOR publishing and the Airship Ambassador keep up to date on the conventions happening around the US and Canada.

Been to a convention recently and want to share your experience with the community? You can share your con pics with us via Twitter, or send in your write up and pictures of your experience to submissions@steampunklibrary.net and host it on the site.

Review: Snowpiercer

Review Submission by Amanda Bishop, MLIS

Title: Snowpiercer

Creator: Bong Joon-ho (director), Bong Joon-ho and Kelly Masterson (screenplay); based on the graphic novel Le Transperceneige by Jacques Lob, Benjamin Legrand, and Jean-Marc Rochette

Tags: ice age, ice, snow, global warming, Earth, leader, leadership, rights, trains, engineering, class, passengers, cargo, machine, engine, Movie, adults, rated R

Media Type: Film

Audience: Adults (18+) (film is Rated R)

Summary: Some seventeen-or-so years in the future, the remainder of human life on Earth lives on a single train, which is in constant motion across the planet. A global warming initiative taken on by world powers in 2014, of which the viewer learns in radio broadcast flashbacks at the beginning of the film, created a second Ice Age whose effects were so rapid that nearly everyone died. The Snowpiercer is the engine which sustains life for the wretched few that have managed to survive. This train hearkens back to a bygone time in which the (steam) engine was the pinnacle of modernity, although the Snowpiercer and its “eternal engine” is clearly vastly different in terms of its operation. As the vessel moves throughout this tale, the viewer sees it blast through ice formations in a snow-covered world, and learn increasingly more about this mysterious yet powerful conveyance right up until the end of the film.

While the engine itself may be the namesake and setting for the film, the story centers around the efforts of passengers of the “tail” of the train to better their conditions, led by Curtis (Chris Evans). The tail and its residents are unspeakably filthy, abused regularly, and the residents of these crowded and labyrinthine quarters get by on slippery-looking “protein” bars as their only source of food. Guarded ferociously by men in full military gear, occasional visits (and speeches) by Mason (Tilda Swinton), the conductor’s right-hand woman make it clear that the conditions for passenger cars more towards the front of the train are idyllic in comparison. Determined to fight against the injustices that are perpetrated upon the tail passengers, Curtis leads a blood-saturated charge to the front (just another in a long history of revolts) with the help of a drug-addled man named Namgoong Minsu and his daughter Yona. Interspersed with scenes of violent clashes (so fierce that this reviewer had to look away) are glimpses of how the other half lives – in luxurious comfort and good health. This constructed dichotomy between the haves and have-nots is not new, and divisions of humans predicated on class or socioeconomic standing in such a way also alludes to a more historic origin than the futuristic setting of Snowpiercer.

Bottom Line: Including this film in a list of steampunk resources may seem like kind of a stretch, as the engine isn’t steam-powered, but the class struggles and train setting decontextualizes the tale from its temporal situation.

Find It: In theaters

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1706620/