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June 2013


Special Announcements.............. Page 2 Texas Steampunk Societies.........Page 2

Volume 2: Issue 6

Did you know: Charles Dickens was born into

Shout Outs................................... Page 2

poverty on February 7, 1812, in

Literary Illuminations................. Page 3

Portsmouth, England, He left school to

Airship Pirates & Flying Hotels..... Page 4

work in a factory to support his family

Events Around the US.................Page 5 How to tie a Cavat........................Page 5-6 Classifieds.................................... Page 6 Newsletter Info............................ Page 6 Gearing Up for GearCon..............Page 6-7 Flyer Invites................................. Page 8-12

(hmm... he has something in common there with H.G. Wells). His novels, most published in serial form, attracted a huge following making him one of the first international literary celebrities. His difficult early life led him to crusade for social justice, through his fiction and in life. Charles Dickens died in 1870. Page 1

Hello out there readers!! I hope this summer weather is finding everyone well? If anything, I hope we are all enjoying some fun activities like swimming, BBQ's with friends and family, vacations, or just simply enjoying the nights under the stars with a cool glass of your favorite beverage. Before we know it, fall time will be upon us and we all know what that means! Meetings will resume, and our schedules will get really busy again. Speaking of meetings, I've used my time wisely during this break and thought of something I really should have thought of months ago! VIRTUAL meetings! We now have our own IRC chat room, which we will start using once a month to hold a meeting in. This will allow our friends who live further away to join in on the meetings without having to leave their home. Since most of us have busy weekends, I thought it would be best to hold a weeknight meeting. Our first one will happen midJuly to discuss a couple of ideas for SIS to consider and members to vote/voice their thoughts on. Plus we welcome anyone else who has a thought or event to talk about. Virtual meetings will be slightly different from our in person meetings. During the virtual meetings, we will keep chat open for the first 30 minutes. Once the meeting is called to order, it will go under moderation to keep chat down and prevent the agenda that will be covered from being buried in chatter. Speakers will be marked with a + sign besides their name. This means "voice", which means that will be able to actively chat. If questions or comments are needing to be asked by anyone, we encourage them to do so by clicking on an operator's name in the room (@ symbol by their name) and private messaging them. Otherwise, once the agenda has been covered, the chat will open again to everyone to chat, and questions/comment can then be stated. After some thought, we felt like this would be a great way to open the door to more folks attending meetings, getting the news out there further, and getting to know folks better too! So check out our events schedule on the SIS FB page for the next virtual meeting!! You can also check out our website for the

schedule to come or find a schedule of Steampunk conventions around the nation on our forum. Click HERE to check it out. If you'd like to contribute to this newsletter, please send an email to

Current & Active in Texas: •

Territories of Houston Steampunk

San Antonio Neo-Victorian Society

Tech Steampunk Society

Steampunk Illumination Society

Austin Steampunk Society

Red River Regional Steampunk Expeditionary Society

Lubbock Steampunk Society

Amarillo Steampunk Society

A very Happy Birthday to ALL June birthdays from SIS. May you all have a wonderful day full of all the people you love and memories you will cherish! Way to go to David Antunes for opening up his place to hold classes for those in the metroplex who would like to learn various maker techniques. THIS is what we strive to make this community about, and we couldn't be more proud of folks in the Steampunk community for being so great and willing to share their talents. Check out a few pages down for pricing and the types of classes he is offering! Want to get in touch with David? Use his Facebook page to send him a message and inquire! Page 2

Joe Golem and the Drowning City – Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden Joe Golem and the Drowning City reminded me of the golem from Jewish mythology. Fascinating, well constructing and sturdy, it is also a body of work without a soul. The Drowning City is New York City. In an alternative history in 1925 earthquakes have submerged much of the metropolis under 30 feet of water. Society still exists at different levels, the poor living near or in the water, the rich in skyscrapers high above. New York City has become a murky Venice full of scavengers and water rats. Fourteen year old Molly Mchugh is one of those scavengers. She lives with and assists an aged man named Felix Orlov. Once a celebrated stage magician, Felix now conducts séances for bereaved people in a world where death is not far away. When Felix is suddenly and brutally kidnapped by strange men in gas masks and rubber suits, Molly finds unlikely allies in her search to rescue Felix. Simon Church was a celebrated Victorian Detective who has kept himself alive through magic and steampunk technology. Joe is his partner, the muscle and investigator. They have their own mysterious interest in saving Felix Orlov, and Molly reluctantly accepts their help.

Joe Golem is full of vintage Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden settings. Creepy Victorian surroundings, secret societies, steampunk mechanics and strange Lovecraftian creatures. The story is strongly plotted and contains several twists, some unexpected, others more conventional for this type of story. The villainous henchmen are fascinating and the bad guy intriguingly malevolent. I also liked Simon Church and Joe, both engrossing antagonists with clever backgrounds. If the book falters, it’s because it contains too much exposition and not enough action that creates suspense. Though the ending is a climactic struggle, the story never got me to invest in the character of Molly, who spends much of the time as a character that moves the plot along. Molly never hooks me in to really caring about her, and so the story is interesting but doesn’t grab me on an emotional, soulful level. I do recommend this if you are a fan of Mike Mignola’s Hellboy. It has many of the same qualities. In fact, Mignola has said that if the Hellboy movies had gone badly (thankfully they didn’t) he would have abandoned Hellboy altogether and focused on Joe Golem. One last note: this is not a graphic novel – it is illustrated, and Mignola is one of the best at minimalism. The novel is full of small black and white illustrations that look more like chapter icons. Mignola himself says he has a love/hate relationship with illustrated books. He doesn’t want to quell the reader’s imagination by depicting scenes in too much detail. Instead the pictures are more abstract. As Mignola puts it they are “an extra layer of mood”. The book is being developed for a movie by director Alex Proyas (Crow, Dark City, I, Robot). And if you enjoy this book, Mignola and Golden have collaborated on another called “Baltimore, or, The Steadfast Tin Soldier and the Vampire”.

Literary Illuminations is written & submitted by Jonathan Carr Page 3

Airship Pirates and Flying Hotels – written & submitted by Larry Amyett “Can't keep my mind from the circling skies, Tongue-tied and twisted just an earth-bound misfit, I” Lyrics from “Learning to Fly”, written by David Gilmour Both Steampunks and Dieselpunks share a fascination with fantastic flying craft. For Steampunks, the fascination tends to be with the idea of the ‘airship pirate’. However, steam-powered airship piracy would have posed some serious challenges for the Victorians. The early blimps bent and twisted in the wind, which made them hard to steer and subject tearing the fabric holding the gas. At the turn of the 20th century, Count Ferdinand Von Zeppelin realized that the solution was to replace the giant balloon design with a rigid skeleton with multiple inflatable cells resting inside. While this might seem simple if only someone had thought of it earlier, the Victorians were dependent upon metals such as iron, brass, and steel, which each would have caused power to weight ratio problems. It wasn’t until the late 1800s that the cost of extracting aluminum had dropped enough to producing it on an industrial scale practical. This would require metallurgy in a Steampunk universe to have advanced faster than it did in our reality. Then there’s the problem with the steampowered engines. There were several attempts at Victorian dirigibles with steam engines however; they tended to be underpowered compared to their weight. That’s not to say that an efficient steam engine wasn’t possible. In 1934, the Besler Brothers successfully flew a steam-powered airplane using a sufficiently lightweight and powerful steam engine. However, note that this occurred well within what would be outside the Victorian era when more advanced technology would have been available. Therefore, once again this requires a Steampunk universe with more advance technology than our Victorian ancestors had available to them. Finally, even if all of the technological challenges of building a Victorian era airship were solved the concept of the ‘airship pirate’ is still pure fantasy. This was shown during World War One when the Germans used the Zeppelins in bombing raids. However, the British

soon learned that by using incendiary and explosive bullets they could easily set off the hydrogen within the Zeppelins, which became flaming death traps for their crewmembers. Any ‘airship pirate’ would soon be toast. Now, before one starts thinking this article is bashing Steampunks it should be noted that Dieselpunks have fantasy air vehicles as well. Norman Bel Geddes was an American theatrical and industrial designer most famous for designing his vision of the World of Tomorrow at the 1939 New York World’s Fair. In 1929, before he worked on the World’s Fair, he designed an amazing air vehicle that he simply named “Airliner no. 4”.

To show how over the top the Airliner no. 4 would have been it would have nine decks including a gymnasium, shops, beauty parlor, lounges as well as dining rooms. Airliner no. 4 would carry 451 passengers and 155 crewmembers with 18 single staterooms and 81 double staterooms. Along with Geddes fantasy flying hotel, Dieselpunks have other fantasy aircraft. In Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow there’s Sullivan’s amazingly modified Curtiss P-40, which could not only travel under the water but could fly halfway around the globe from New York to Nepal on a single tank of fuel. Not to mention the enormous British flying landing strips (certainly looks like someone had been reading "Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D” comics), which would have a power to weight ratio problem that would far surpass anything a Victorian airship would have. What is the origin of this fascination with fantasy aircraft? Applying a Jungian analysis, it might arise from our collective subconscious representing a desire for freedom and escape. Since both genre-punks are by nature counter-cultural in that they each express in their own way a discontent for our mainstream society then subconsciously we each insert fantastic dreams of flight. Therefore, whether or not such fantastic machines are realistic doesn’t matter. What matters is that these amazing machines embody our dreams and hopes for something better. Page 4

Source: Link sent in by Stephen Poe. •

7/3: The Magnificent and Stupendous Steam Powered Omnibus of Art Science and Knowledge, Volume I Edition II in Dallas, TX @ 7:30PM

7/5-7/7: GearCon in Portland, OR

7/10: SIS VIRTUAL Meeting I – Online at SIS Facebook Page.

7/12-7/14: An Eclectic Affair Con in Urbana, IL

7/13: North Tx Dieselpunk Meeting @ 2PM in Farmers Branch, TX

7/18-7/21: San Diego Comic Con in San Diego, CA (Steampunk Track)

7/20: AMA-Con in Amarillo, TX

7/26-/728: Salt City Steamfest in Layton, UT

7/27-7/28: Steamstock in Richmond, CA

8/02: The Heist of the Century - New Orleans, LA

8/30-9/02: Dragoncon in Atlanta, GA

9/13-9/14: Skybourne Autumnal Masquerade Ball in Dallas, TX

Our cravats are cut in such a way that you can tie them in two styles: Traditional or Scrunch/Ruche tie. Just follow our guidelines below for either style.

1. Drape the cravat around your neck, longer end on your right.

2. Cross the longer end over the shorter end, to your left.

3. Take the longer end back underneath the shorter end.

4. Wrap longer end over the top again to your left.

Instructions continued on page 6.... Page 5


5. Take the longer end up through the neck loop. Next, either follow step 6 or 7, depending which style you choose.

6. For a 'Traditional' look: Fold down the longer end over the knot, adjust fit with the shorter end and fix top end in place with a cravat pin.

Imagination lies at the center of the steampunk movement, which takes center stage in Portland July 5 to 7 with the third annual GEAR Con festival at the DoubleTree Hotel. It seems that everybody outside of steampunk has to be educated on what the heck it is. In short, it’s a fascination of yesteryear — the Victorian Period (18371901), the Industrial Ages — and what could have been, as in adding science fiction and creativity to the mix to create an alternative society. It’s fantastical. But, they’re not Trekkies, beamed up to fantasize about being Mr. Spock. Let Stephen Couchman, founder of GEAR Con, explain:

7. For 'Scrunch' or 'Ruche' tie, omit step 6. From step 5, bring the longer end down through the knot loop to get that 'scrunchedup' effect.

8. Adjust fit with the underneath end. Make sure the knot is looseish to get the best effect.

One Wedding dress FOR SALE, size 12-14. Please follow this link for more details!

“Steampunk has been shined onto the mainstream stage through a prism. Those who’ve just discovered it often think it’s a fashion style, or a flavor of industrial sculpture, or a visual design aesthetic, and are unaware of the global, interdisciplinary steampunk arts movement and its roots in science fiction literature. There’s also a push to package steampunk as an altculture lifestyle — like being goth or a hippie — which I think misses the point. Steampunk’s value to the wider world is in mainstreaming not its themes and trappings, but the values of participatory creativity — making things, learning and sharing useful skills. Steampunk is many people’s gateway to the concept of producing, rather than just consuming, culture.” GEAR Con has expanded, moving to the larger venue at DoubleTree Hotel, 1000 N.E. Multnomah St., and added to its lineup of activities, with art, writing and filmmaking contest and more entertainment: Abney Park, the biggest name in steampunk music; Good Company, the country’s only electro-swing bang; Poplock Holmes, chap-hop emcee; Veronique Chevalier, renowned chanteuse; magicians. Portland’s own Professor Gall — the man, the band with New Orleans vibe — remains part of the show. A big attraction promises to be the Victorian Martial Arts Symposium, led by Jeff Richardson, a partner with Portland’s Academia Duellatoria, who has attracted an all-star list of instructors. Page 6

“Really, this could be a standalone event,” Couchman adds. Panels and vendors galore will be part of GEAR Con. Chris Lang, owner of Wells and Verne period clothing and accessories store, 8315 S.E. 11th Ave., says steampunk “is moving into the height of the movement. It’s going more mainstream; it’s been in the mainstream vernacular. It’s bringing humans together. Teenagers come in (the store) with their parents and everyone can find things at the store.

swilling bohemians.” It was a time where “you start to imagine a world where genius, prosperity and the gifts of rampant mad science aren’t held back by greed or fear,” he adds. “You ask yourself: That was only 100and-change years ago, why not build that world now?” The introduction of the Victorian Martial Arts Symposium adds a dose of reality to GEAR Con (which stands for The Gaslight Explorers, Adventurers and Romantics Convention). It harkens back to the days of bartitsu, jiujitsu, bareknuckle boxing and cane fighting and other techniques used on the mean streets of London, circa Sherlock Holmes days, and has expanded into an amalgamation of self-defense. “You can take everything we do, even with sword play, and apply it to self-defense in the streets,” Richardson says. “Things are starting to come back together again. Prize fights and people afraid to be on the streets set up the wave for this to happen.”

“It’s a love of history, fashion, literature, reimagining of historical times. In our case, we like the Victorian times. ... I think you’ll start to see more at mainstream clothing stores. You’re going to see it in the tech industry with Intel, Apple, Microsoft — IBM has already stated (interest). That’s the industry in which we get a huge base of our customers.”

The list of instructors includes David McCormick of Vancouver, British Columbia, Tim Ruzicki of Seattle, Tim Badillo from the San Francisco Bay Area and Stewart Sackett of Portland and Richardson and Matthew Howden of Academia Duellatoria.

Couchman also runs the annual Rose City Steampunk Film Festival each Valentine’s Day weekend, the only steampunk-focused event in the world that features creative films, music videos and documentaries, including new work in the neoVictorian retro-futurist vein. It’s not revisionist history with steampunk, as much as putting the imaginative spin on things. “The early Industrial Age is recent enough that there’s a trove of cultural information to draw from,” Couchman says, “and far enough out of frame that we can draw selectively according to our tastes. Technophobes love the perceived simplicity of the period while science geeks see it as a thrilling age of discovery. Moralists see a time of propriety and floor-brushing hemlines, hedonists see absinthe-

Mailing Address: SteampunkIS P.O. Box 202664 Arlington, Tx 76006

Editor Email:

Website: Submission Deadline: 7th of each month

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Those interested in taking classes or services offered below should contact David Antunes through his Facebook page via messages. Seriously inquiries only, please and thank you. For an idea of his talents, visit his website to view his creations. He has some beautiful pieces for sale too & works on commissions.

Lamplight News June/2013  

Lamplight News is a publication of the Steampunk Illumination Society.

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