Issue 1; Spring 2014
The People of the Hour!
Editor Talk So, yes. This is the first “issue” of the pulp. If you’ve been following the website, you’ll notice that it’s simply a collection of our first round of articles. Pretty original, huh? In all seriousness, though, these articles deserve to be showcased. They represent the hard work and dedication of the pulp’s writers and contributors, all of whom are willing to write for this magazine for free. That’s right – free. They deserve a little recognition because, let’s face it, they’re pretty damn awesome and I couldn’t do it without them. If you haven’t been following the website, then you’re in for a treat. Within these pages are a variety of articles celebrating pop and nerd culture in our delightful city of Edmonton. Not everything has an Edmonton focus, but most of us are from here or nearby. Whether you live here or not, though, you should at least be able to appreciate good writing, amiright? From fairy tales to Pokémon, steampunk fashion to local manga artistry, a veritable smorgasbord of the weird and wonderful is just a simple click away.
Cheryl Cottrell-Smith, Editor-in-chief She’s a pretty good writer and she’s the head honcho. That’s all you need to know. For everything else, there’s Google. @CottrellSmithC Matt Bowes, Editorial Contributor Matt Bowes is a self-proclaimed cultural commentator/arbiter of good taste from Edmonton, Alberta. He enjoys movies and books, and writes about them sometimes at thisnerdinglife.com. @matt_bowes Eric Silver, Editorial Contributor Writing and editing by day, collecting gym badges by night...and sometimes day. Quitting smoking to use that time to game. @ericrsilver Kelsey Beier, Editorial Contributor Lover of music, writing, traveling and working with kids. Teacher by day; unpublished author by night (and sometimes on the weekends). Steve Munro, Editorial Contributor Edmonton-based freelance writer who got his start in the industry over a decade ago in Montreal, Quebec. @steve_r_munro
Issue 1; Spring 2014
Issue 1; Spring 2014 CONTENTS For your (re)consideration: David Lynch’s DUNE (1984)
What’s in a name? A bit of gin, hopefully
Fearsome fairy-tales: Neil Gaiman and The Ocean at the End of the 6 Lane
Are you a hipster? How do you know?
On the art of cosplay
A spoonful of Yogurt
Steampunk fashion and Victorian staying power
Choose Your Own Pokémon Adventure, Part I
FOR YOUR (RE)CONSIDERATION: DAVID LYNCH’S DUNE (1984) By Matt Bowes 2014 marks the thirtieth anniversary of one of my favourite science fiction films of all time, director David Lynch’s third feature, Dune. The movie is based on the 1965 novel by Frank Herbert, an amazing book which won the Hugo Award, the first-ever Nebula Award and was at one point the highestselling science fiction novel of all time. In addition to the movie, Dune has inspired classic video and board games, a song by Iron Maiden (“To Tame a Land”), as well as a pair of Sci-Fi Channel miniseries in the mid-2000s. Lynch’s film adaptation, though, has never really been appreciated the way it should have been. It was slaughtered by critics upon its release: they found the actors onscreen cold and emotionless, the models and sets gaudy and cheaplooking, and (perhaps most devastating of all) the story to be nigh-incomprehensible. The film didn’t make back its $40 million dollar budget upon theatrical release, and it almost torpedoed Lynch’s career, although luckily as Issue 1; Spring 2014
part of his contract he was able to put together his cult hit Blue Velvet not long afterwards. If you are lucky enough to catch the film on a latenight TV binge, Lynch’s name is no longer on it; the honour falls instead to Hollywood fall guy Alan Smithee. Looking back, I feel as if Dune the movie has been given a bum rap, and that more people should give it a chance. Perhaps it was plagued by the sin of hubris: the 1984 adaptation was the last in a long line of failed attempts, including one by experimental filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky that had as its aim the “spiritual awakening” of the entire planet with fourteen hours of story, a score by Pink Floyd, and appearances by Salvador Dali, Orson Welles and Gloria Swanson (of Sunset Boulevard fame). In the early eighties, then-Hollywood golden boy David Lynch, hot off the success of The Elephant Man, turned down working on Return of the Jedi to write and direct Dune, the rights to which had by this time fallen into the hands of legendary producer Dino di Laurentiis. Unlike a lot of escapist Hollywood fare, Dune demands close attention
Poster graphic by Erik M/ Grice for Metro’s screening of Dune in 2012; image supplied by Metro Cinema
FOR YOUR (RE)CONSIDERATION: DAVID LYNCH’S DUNE (1984) continued…
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attention and patience from its viewers, but rewards same. The story takes place eight thousand years in the future, and humanity has grown very strange in its expansion across the stars. The galaxy is ruled by “the Padishah Emperor Shaddam the Fourth,” whose daughter Irulan (played by Virginia Madsen) introduces the setup of the movie in her hilariously arch opening monologue. Underneath the Emperor, control of the inhabited worlds is sought by great families, the best of which is House Atreides. In an attempt to rid himself of the goody-two-shoes Atreides, the Emperor gives them control of Arrakis, aka. Dune, the desert planet that provides the Empire with the “spice” that allows long-distance space travel. What the Atreides, headed up by Duke Leto and his son Paul (Kyle McLachlan) don’t know is that their mortal foes the Harkonnens have been given the go-ahead to swoop in and crush their hated foes with Imperial backing. When his father dies, Paul must ingratiate himself with Dune’s native people, the hardy guerilla warriors known as Fremen, in order to seek revenge against the Harkonnens, the Emperor, and the whole stinking bureaucracy they represent. So, while a little bit elaborate, the scene set by Dune is not much more complicated than other genre
works that have become very popular, like George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones series on HBO or the film versions of Harry Potter. After centring yourself in the world of Dune, you’ll find a rich backstory and characters there. Befitting the far-flung future setting, the actors in the film have a serious and moody affect. The important thing to remember is that they are to us in terms of societal change what we would be to ancient Egyptians. The movie doesn’t spell this out for you, but allows you the pleasure of wondering why this chain of events has come about. Another fascinating feature of the Dune world is the idea of “mentats”, the human computers who have replaced thinking machines. Brad Dourif as the Harkonnen Mentat Piter de Vries is my favourite, as he really sells the strange rites and litanies this caste must go through at all times to perform their duties. Like the novel, the film invites us to wonder about society’s interdependence on technology, and how we’d function without it. This conflict between modernity and humanity is best personified by House Harkonnen, whose home planet, Giedi Prime, is presented to us as an industrial hellhole, where soldiers wear gasmasks at all times, cows are tortured for seemingly no reason, and citizens are installed with “heart-plugs”, which can spell
instant death for those who seek it. The set design and costumes were worked on by H.R. Giger, whose dark and twisted influence can especially be felt with the disgusting and strange use of animals, sludge and weird science, which elicits a visceral reaction in me that few other films do. It’s easily the equal of something like Terry Gilliam’s Brazil, and far outpaces the sterile and cold CGI environments of Avatar or the Star Wars prequels. By contrast, the majesty of Arrakis is most explicitly shown in sweeping camera work across the dunes, and the sandworm models found underneath still look great to this day. I can kind of see why some of the spaceship models look out of place against the beautiful matte paintings, but again this sense of unreality works for me to further reinforce the fact that this is not a world that I completely understand. As you can see, I could talk about Dune nigh-indefinitely. I think the thing about it that has stuck with me the most is the slightly unpolished feel, the jagged edges that surround something that could have easily been as rote and familiar as Lawrence of Arabia in space. I think that viewers who take the risk of seeing something imperfect can often be rewarded, as tactile vistas beyond CGI “perfection” transcend their limited origins, and live on in the mind.
What’s in a name? A bit of gin, hopefully. By Cheryl Cottrell-Smith
Everyone likes a good cocktail. If you’ve moved past the days of vodka slimes and tequila shots, then it’s likely you’ve developed an appreciation for a well-crafted, inherently flavourful mixed drink. (If you haven’t, then…well…get outta here!) The only thing that can make that cocktail better? Why, a name that appeals to your nerdy side, of course. A craft cocktail with a boring, bland name is an abomination to the art of drink-making, a smirch on the face of creativity. Issue 1; Spring 2014
Would you rather drink a “muddled blackberry cocktail” (boo) or a “Blackberry Bombardier” (yay)? Literary drinks, punny drinks, nerd culture drinks – the list goes on. Below are a selection of brilliantly named drinks found right here in the city of Edmonton…for those nights when you feel like being a bit of a classy tart, darling. The Fawlty Tower
Found at: Cactus Club Made with: basil, lemon, Gordon’s gin, lychee liqueur, and grapefruit juice Why we like it: Because of Basil’s Hitler walk in “The Germans.”
The Oliver Twist
Found at: The Hat on Jasper Made with: Clamato juice, Beefeater London Dry Gin, and other caesarly fixings Why we like it: It’s literary!
The Ninja Turtle Dangle
Found at: The Canadian Brewhouse Made with: it’s a surprise! Why we like it: Because we can down it in one.
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The Suffering Bastard
What’s in a name? continued…
Found at: The Manor Made with: gin, brandy, lime, honey, ginger, and ginger ale Why we like it: You might still be a bastard after drinking it, but you sure won’t be suffering.
Found at: The Hat on Jasper Made with: Beefeater London Dry Gin, martini-style Why we like it: It’s also literary! And it’s classy as all hell.
The Corpse Reviver No. 2
Found at: Culina Mill Creek Made with: Plymouth gin, Lillet Blanc, cointreau, and lemon juice, served in an absinthe-burnt glass Why we like it: It’s innovative, it uses absinthe, and it has an uncanny ability to brighten those zombified eyes. Pair with side of brains.
Found at: MKT Made with: Absolut vodka, Clamato juice, German spicy mustard, horseradish, and spices Why we like it: It’s basically a regular caesar, but with spicy mustard to give the drink a Terminator-sized kick.
The Blood and Sand
Found at: The Burg Made with: scotch, orange juice, soda, and pomegranate-cherry juice Why we like it: It’d be a perfect drink for Daenerys as she sits atop a dusty throne in Meereen.
The Incredible Hulk
Found at: LUX Steakhouse Made with: Hpnotiq and Hennessy VS Cognac Why we like it: Superhero reference and pretty colours. Plus it’s all booze, is this one.
FEARSOME FAIRY-TALES: NEIL GAIMAN AND THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE By Cheryl Cottrell-Smith
For some reason, Neil Gaiman’s novels have an uncanny ability to leave you feeling unsettled. Faeries, witches, gods, and other worlds exist in all their glory, but something about them always tends to hit uncomfortably close to home.
For those of us used to the oft-predictable storylines of fantasy novels – the hero’s quest, the rampant (and decidedly segregated) ideals of morality and immorality, the sacrifice – a novel such as The Ocean at the End of the Lane can
throw you for a loop. Sure, there’s magic, monsters, and an awkward young boy – good, stable ingredients for a fantasy novel. Throw in some of Gaiman’s more graphic, real-life elements, though, such as a hypnotized father holding his son’s head under ice cold water, or a beautiful monster getting screwed from behind, and you’ve got something completely different. To give a brief overview, The Ocean at the End of the Lane follows a middle-aged narrator’s memories of a significantly supernatural childhood event. At the age of 7, he meets a young girl named Lettie, who has come to earth from the old country – in reality, she’s much older than she appears. The two seek out a rag-like monster in the next world over that has been disrupting the town by giving people ‘what they want’ – in some cases, forcing money down throats and causing people to die. The story is rife with traditional fantasy tropes: the age-old witch-like character, the protective fairy ring, the shadowy monsters of the dark. Alongside all of these, though, are the uniquely disturbing – yet, for our world, normal – elements that Gaiman so craftily uses to give reality to the story. The beautiful, fluffy black kitten that gets run over by a taxi. The exotic opal miner staying with the family who commits suicide in the back of a Mini. The narrator’s seventh birthday party that no one attends. As Gaiman’s short story collection, Smoke and Mirrors, demonstrates,
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CC photo credit: Neil Gaiman and HarperCollins
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The mixture of paranormal and normal is what gives readers an unsettling feeling when reading this book. Couple that with the unique experience of peering over the narrator’s shoulder as he rends a buried worm from the bottom of his foot (subsequently leaving a worm hole that’s actually a wormhole), and you’ll end up both entranced and slightly disturbed. In any case, Gaiman has taken a world that is so unequivocally ours and gave it over to the darker fragments of fantasy and fairy-tale. As in Neverwhere, when the reader is taken on a tour of a familiar, yet grotesquely unfamiliar London Underground, so too in The Ocean at the End of the Lane, a novel that will resurface all of your childhood fears and yet never entirely reassure you that everything will, in fact, be alright.
FEARSOME FAIRY-TALES: NEIL GAIMAN AND THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE continued…
the author is a master of the traditional (and when I say traditional, I mean positively medieval) fairy-tale. As other reviewers have pointed out, Gaiman embraces the fear and horror of the original fairy-tale: the sense of childlike seclusion from adulthood and adult characters, and the inherent sense of danger in the midst of monsters that are, in fact, real.
NEEDS YOU! Like what you see? Want to get involved? the pulp is a free, not-for-profit magazine made by writers from all walks of life. If you’re into the nerd culture/pop culture scene and fancy writing a few words for our little publication, get in touch with us today! We don’t like to assign articles. We want YOU to tap into that wild, wonderful, and slightly batty sense of creativity. Pitches about anything and everything (as long as they fit within the pulp’s theme) are welcome. Articles range from 500-800 words, although some features have license to be longer, if necessary. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for the full deets. We nerds need to stick together.
ARE YOU A HIPSTER? HOW DO YOU KNOW?
By Kelsey Beier
CC photo credit: Kelsey Beier’s Feet
Tonight, my 32-year-old husband and I went out for dinner. At one point in our conversation, I asked him, “Do you think other people think you’re a hipster?” To this question he replied with a blatant, “No way.” This started me thinking about the definition of a “hipster.” I questioned whether so-called “hipsters” know that they are in fact seen by the general public as hipsters or if they have already self-defined themselves as such. Do these hipsters even want to be seen as hipsters? I am almost positive there are some people who would like to be seen as hipsters but, due to their conscious effort to try to be hip, this behavior cancels out any potential hipness. There are also probably some people, such as my husband, who may sometimes get grouped into the hipster category unknowingly, when really they could care less about how they are perceived by others. The difference is that actual hipsters care about what other people think of them and how they are perceived. According to my husband, people with legitimate experience in the music scene, alternative punk scene, or food scene are not classified as hipsters because their hobbies or talents just so happen to be activities that are interesting, artistic, and cool, without any conscious effort. Contrarily, people who are solely into their trendy appearance or ultra-original and indie façade would be classified as hipsters. Issue 1; Spring 2014
The tricky part about this however, is that a hipster would never admit to being a hipster. That would be way too un-hip. So how do we know who the real hipsters are? For example, the joke has been made that the line between a hipster and a destitute person can become a little blurry at times. I mean, if you think about it, the idea of being a plaid-laden penniless vagabond busker sounds pretty hip, doesn’t it? The reason I asked my husband whether he thought other people thought he was a hipster is because, quite simply, he is a plaid-wearing, music-loving vegan. He has many other great qualities too, but the ones I listed here seem to be common amongst other hipster-like people. For example, before we started dating, I thought he was out of my league, as he was a few years older than me and somehow seemed too cool to be with an average north-side Edmontonian like myself. I just couldn’t put my finger on the nature of this cool factor he possessed. Maybe he’s just too hip, I thought.
but great guy that he is. I guess we will never know the answer to the question of hipster identity, but I will take comfort in knowing that neither my partner nor I are hipsters, and we are happy with that realization. In a few years, when we have cute babies and dress them in little plaid shirts and baby slip-ons when we go to the Farmer’s Market to get our weekly organic vegetables, who knows? We could become that hipster family that everyone wants to be. But we would never admit it.
So, I know what all of you readers are thinking. “Wait a minute. If your husband is potentially cool enough to be misinterpreted for a hipster at times, how did he end up with a non-vegan mediocre catch like yourself?” Well, to answer this question, as we started hanging out with each other more and more, we started to get to know each other for our true un-cool selves and his layers of hipness started to peel away as I saw him for the amazingly average
On the art of cosplay
By Steve Munro
I met up with Alan McDougall in downtown Edmonton, at Commerce Place on Jasper Avenue. He was on his way to Naginata practice – a martial art that teaches the use and techniques of the polearm favoured by the Samurai. We stopped for coffee and a quick chat about another of his intriguing hobbies: cosplay. Alan has been a regular at Animethon for roughly the past fifteen years, since the convention's fifth or sixth year. He never considered himself to be a serious cosplayer, just someone who liked to dress up as various characters from anime series that he enjoyed and for which he wanted to show his support. His first attempt at a serious costumed character representation was as Seishirō Sakurazuka from the animated series “X,” which did not turn out as expected. “[Seishirō Sakurazuka] is an assassin with a glass eye,” Alan explained, “So, I used a white-out contact lens for that effect. There was a problem with the lens, and that's how I damaged my left eye.” He added, “I still participated in Animethon, but I started looking
Vancouver to model with Ven in an “Attack on Titan” themed photoshoot designed to focus on the character Levi from the series. Alan explained that he and Ven have been friends for years, and that the shoot was inspired by suggestions from Ven's 1200 (approx.) Facebook fans.
for alternate costumes or ways to incorporate the eyepatch.” To that end, we discussed how cosplay isn't just limited to the anime fandom, but is now a staple of other fandoms as well. He mentioned the possibility of dressing as “The Governor” from the AMC television series “The Walking Dead” for a future convention. The conversation drifted into the controversial discussion of cosplay and body type. Alan explained that there are two prevailing opinions among cosplayers; one group that says people should only dress for body type, and another that doesn't seem to care about body type and character selection. Alan identifies with the latter mindset. “I try to be realistic about the characters I choose,” he said, “but it really shouldn't matter as long as you're having fun doing it.” We discussed the nature of this criticism, and reached a common conclusion: the critics will always be there. “When you perform any kind of
art, when you put yourself out there, you're always going to be open to critics. The trick is to not take them personally and keep doing what you love to do.” Part of that fun and love of the art comes from the creation process. “Photography, makeup, props, costumes...there's lots of dedication to the art. There have been times [someone] has been up until 2am working on their costume...” One of these dedicated people is Ven Tsun, a cosplayer gaining popularity in the fandom. In late March, Alan will be heading to
Alan expects this to be a lot of fun, “I've never done a serious photoshoot before...this will be my first pro shoot. I know the cosplay won't be exact, but that's the awesome thing about fiction: it's not real. You can change it to meet your needs.” He also expected the photos to be released gradually via Ven's Tumblr page. I asked if he had any other future characters that he would really want to play. “Cobra Commander. The tough part will be the helmet and getting the faceplate chromed.” Half-jokingly, I asked if he could also do the iconic voice of Cobra Commander from the 1980's G.I. Joe cartoon series. Alan belted out a surprisingly accurate battle cry of “Cobraaa!” to prove it. Issue 1; Spring 2014
A SPOONFUL OF YOGURT
By Cheryl Cottrell-Smith
YogurtMedia is a new manga-inspired graphic project founded and developed by local Edmontonian, Lee Cheong Loong, also known as “YogurtM.” A 22-year-old chemical engineering student by day, Lee moonlights as a comic book artist, nurturing his Yogurt Project from its foundation in 2009 until today. Lee is the sole member of YogurtMedia. The first print volume of the Yogurt Short Comics launched on October 1, 2013. If you were hoping to get your hands on it, you’re out of luck – the volume sold out two months after the launch. However, Lee’s illustrations, gifs, and ideas can still be found on the YogurtMedia website. For those of you who want to know more about the Yogurt series, we asked Lee some questions about his inspirations and influences, his plans for Yogurt’s future, and his advice to those budding artists out there. What is YogurtMedia? YogurtMedia is a self-publishing circle dedicated to producing content related to the Yogurt Project. Online, YogurtMedia is a blog where most of the content related to the project is hosted. The Yogurt Project initially started as an idea to produce an original series following the everyday life of a fictional character aptly named Yogurt, my mascot character. Today, the bulk of the content related to the Yogurt Project revolves around the 4panel web comic series. What platforms do you work with? The works I make are published under the YogurtMedia name. Most of my works are published online, such as my web comic series. Print volume collections of my comic series will also be published in
limited quantities, through existing vanity presses. However, many of my readers are more actively involved online, so I focus my attention to publishing content there. Nowadays, I find that it is easier to reach out to more people using the internet as the main publishing platform. Of course, I’ll always try keep the books coming too. Some people love the feel of flipping real pages and having a physical copy on their shelves. Who/what are your inspirations and why? If I had to choose a particular group of people who had influenced me the most, it would be my friends and family. Much of my comic series revolves around the life of Yogurt, whose experiences were inspired by my own personal experiences and interpretations of various interpersonal interactions between my friends and family. Second to that group would be other budding artists. Seeing many starting artists challenging themselves makes me feel like I’m not alone. For many artists, even those who are accomplished, this journey never ends. What do you hope to achieve with the Yogurt Short Comics? The Yogurt Short Comics series is simply a branch off the Yogurt Project. With the series, I am able to draw cute characters interacting with each other. There’s a lot of room for small, innocent jokes and heart-warming moments. I would assume that many of my readers picked up my series because of how simple and cute the series is as a whole. I find that it doesn’t try to be pretentious or over-thetop, so the series feels very laid-back and
basic. One achievement that I hope to accomplish with my series is the ability to influence my audience. Getting my readers to feel a certain way is something that I hope to achieve. In this case, I’d like my readers to feel relaxed.
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The type of sub-genre that I would classify my series would be something along the lines of, for the lack of a better term, healing slice-of-life. The purpose of many works classified in this genre is to create a very strong escapist basis and by creating a very soothing or healing atmosphere, often emphasizing the tiny pleasures of everyday life or nature itself. Despite the lack of an over-encompassing plot, I find many works in this series to express complexity through simplicity. Seemingly simple works could actually have very deep and emotional undertones hidden away within the settings or characters. This sub-genre is somewhat niche, so many works in this area are typically limited to a small, but loyal fan base. To me, as long as I’m having fun making these comics, the number of readers isn’t important. Another reason why I wanted to approach a comic series is to simply breathe life into my characters that would otherwise remain a concept. A part of me loves to be able to play as the creator. Directing my characters and dictating everything in their lives makes me feel like I am in control. Of course, there’s also an attachment to my characters as well. I would be lying if I said I didn’t love my characters, or if I said that I didn’t want to see them live their lives happily.
What advice do you have for budding artists? As one of the moderators of the growing Google+ art community, Anime Artists, I’m always surrounded by budding artists. One of biggest advice I can give is to simply keep at it because you love it. Another common advice is to simply take your time. It can take years for artists to reach a “spark”, and it can take even longer to hone the necessary skills to achieve their goals. It isn’t something that happens overnight. Artists must also learn to balance their ambitions. Learn when to prioritize your own ambitions over the ambitions of others, and do not let yourself be distracted from what you want to accomplish. If you happen to get stuck at the inspiration stage, look at others. People-watching is a great way to get inspired. Just try not to look strange when watching others! What’s your favourite animated show or movie? I consider myself a fan of Japanese animation and comics. It’s not unusual to see me catch an episode or two, or read manga daily. Picking out favourites is something that I try to refrain from doing, simply because there’s too many to pick from.
level than most of the works I’ve looked into. As a result, I began to explore them, incorporating similar concepts into my works. As I discover other artists who have similar concepts in mind, I’ll probably add them to the above list. What are you working to improve on? As I continue to produce comics and illustrations for the Yogurt Project, I have aspirations to, not only improve my current skills to better illustrated what I really want to express, but to also expand the project further and hopefully into the realm of animation. Seeing my characters interact panel by panel is nice, but a step up would be to see them move and interact with each other that way. That is far down the line, but I’ll certainly leave that open for possibility. It will give me another goal to reach.
CC photo credit: Lee Cheong Loong and YogurtMedia
However, I can list some of my favourite mangaka (comic artists), whom have influenced me and my works to an extent. Keiichi Arawi, Ume Aoki, and Yui Hara, just to name a few, are some of the authors that I look up to. Their style of writing and illustrating is something on a different
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STEAMPUNK FASHION AND VICTORIAN STAYING POWER By Cheryl Cottrell-Smith
It started as almost all trends start: with great fiction. Based on fiction typically set in a steam-powered Victorian era, steampunk sets itself apart from historical fiction by introducing some pretty cool anachronistic technological elements to give the story a kick. Body parts made from nuts and bolts; houses that walk around on metal feet; arms that are actually cannons – you’ll find them all in the various forms of steampunk fiction. In any case, steampunk is unique. If you’re reading a book and aren’t quite sure whether or not it’s steampunk, just ask yourself: are there steam-powered trains? Metal-bound limbs? Top hats, monocles, and technologicallyadvanced buildings? Yeah…you’re probably there. Steampunk – as a genre of fiction and as a fashion style – has permeated the modern consciousness so quickly and pervasively that, while many people know the term, few realize its origins. Few realize what it means, assuming that it’s something to do with goggles and punks and vampires. Steampunk style originates from Victorian roots. The whole history of fashion since Queenie V’s reign has been influenced by what those sensible Victorians wore. Steampunk takes that traditionally Victorian style
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and introduces it to the industrialized, technologically advanced 21st century imagination. The result is a new style that nods to the 19th century while embracing technological advancement. Last November, Edmontonians took to the streets (well, to the Ramada Inn) for the city’s First Annual Steampunk Ball. What did they wear? Rich, flowing gowns, beautifully tailored suits, cocked top hats, and the usual rayguns, ammo belts, and gear accessories. The Edmonton Steampunk Group might have taken their cosplay to a fabulous extreme, but steampunk elements exist in modern fashion just as prominently as leggings and Michael Kors watches. Pocket watch necklaces, lace chokers, jewelry made from gears and watch parts, monocles, fingerless gloves – the list goes on. If you’ve already decided that you’re a hardcore steampunker, you might have already gotten your hands on a prosthetic metal gear arm. You might already own a vintage monocle, with added moustache.
There’s a whole world of culture behind the steampunk trend and it all goes back to its beginnings in literature and other fiction. You can check out The Official Edmonton Steampunk Group for future events in our city and, in the meantime, take a stab at fiction and fancies in the following lists. You might just find that you’re more of a steampunker than you’ve let on.
STEAMPUNK FICTION • • • •
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Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (anime) Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne (novel) Hugo (film) Howl’s Moving Castle (novel and animated film) The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson (novel)
STEAMPUNK FINDS (local/online) • • • • •
Tattered Rose, 9917C 110 Street, Edmonton Sanctuary Curio Shoppe, 10310 81 Avenue, Edmonton Old Strathcona Antique Mall, 10323 78 Avenue, Edmonton Attic Raiders (etsy), Edmonton The Attic (online), Canada thepulppress.com
Eric Silver’s CHOOSE YOUR OWN POKEMON ADVENTURE Part I
CC photo credit: cpokemon.com
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Chapter 1 – Getting Started Vaniville Town – Aquacorde Town
Hey! My name’s Eric, and I’d like to welcome you to my…sorry…our very own Pokémon adventure. On this adventure you, the reader, will make the choices that will affect its outcome. Will I catch ‘em all and become a Pokémon master? Will I spend my days as a berry farmer or a Pokémon breeder? You’ll be the ones to decide, and I’ll play it out for you in the very first Choose Your Own Pokémon Adventure. Every week or so I’ll complete a chapter in the Kalos region, and each time I’ll ask you to help decide what to do next by tweeting me, @ericrsilver, with the hashtag #CYOPA. I asked a few friends to start our adventure for us: Thanks to @hudsonbrad, @ThomasDMillar, and @tayjoykay. Let’s get started!
Po..ke….mon? What? My eyes flutter open. I’m standing in front of a stranger: a tall man with dark hair wearing a lab coat. At least, I think he’s tall. Maybe I’m just sitting? No, I’m definitely on two feet. But it feels like I’m floating with no control over my body. I try to move my arms. They aren’t tied to anything, but they’re impossibly heavy. I can’t lift them. I look around, terrified. Where am I? Is this a hospital? “Who are you?” He ignores my questions. Still smiling his plaster grin, he continues his painfully well-rehearsed speech: “Our world is inhabited by creatures called Pokémon.” “No kidding,” I mutter. Okay, think. Think. What’s going on here? There’s a strange older man in a lab coat and V-neck talking to me like he’s programming a robot. I can’t move.
Everything’s fogged, floaty, heavy, and wavy. It feels like a tape recorder sounds when it’s running out of batteries – slow and laboured.
I’m able to crane my neck just enough to look down. Lucious blonde hair flows past my shoulders; mosquito bite breasts desperately pushing away from my chest; no bulge between my legs. That clears that up then. I’m a girl.
Am I dead? Am I dreaming? Has my brain been implanted in some futuristic android? My spiraling paranoia is interrupted by the oddest question.
Oh, now you want to know my name? It’s Ashley.
Am I a boy or a girl? I’m obviously a…wait…I should know this. I know the answer, but my head’s reeling; everything is unfamiliar. Am I a boy or a girl? Why can’t I remember? Panic takes over; my eyes widen. WHO AM I?
@ericrsilver Female, Ashley (get it?), I don't know any gen 6 Pokémon though. — Brad Hudson (@hudsonbrad) February 12, 2014
Seriously? “There’s literally one way to pronounce Ashley. It’s Ash-lee, not Ash-lay.” “Literally?” the voice in my head mockingly reminds me. “Figuratively.” I bite my lower lip to hide my annoyance.
I’m able to crane my neck just enough to look down. Lucious blonde hair flows past my shoulders; mosquito bite breasts desperately pushing away from my chest; no bulge between my legs. That clears that up then. I’m a girl. Issue 1; Spring 2014
Wait…is that me? Must be some kind of giant mirror. But thepulppress.com
where are the edges? I blink slowly enough to see myself do the same. In an instant, “I” disappear, and I’m face to face with the man again.
“Mom, I had the craziest dream! “Now, let’s go visit--“ BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BE-His invitation is cut off by the familiar jarring wake-up I hear morning after morning. Groggy, I roll over and swing my right arm a full 180 degrees to land on the snooze button. Stale breath escapes from between my lips. I run my tongue along the front of my teeth, piecing together the few disjointed images I can remember about my dream. I feel like it was more than just a regular dream. Like it meant something important. Still in my bright pink knock-off Jaquane pajamas – gotta look good, even on a budget – I head downstairs for breakfast.
“Go change out of your pajamas, dear.” “Mom, I was trying to tell you--“ “Hon, just go get dressed.” “Fine.” I roll my eyes, head back up the stairs, and stand in front of my mirror. What shall I wear today, what shall I wear today? That stupid melody is stuck in my head: what shall I wear today, what shall I wear? I take out my favourite skirt and hat combo and immediately put them on. The shirt, though – that’s a whole new ballgame. After, like, a dozen outfits, I walk out in a simple tee. It takes serious skill to look this good in such plain clothes. Issue 1; Spring 2014
Issue 1; Spring 2014
“Hey there!” A boy’s voice calls out. I look to the source. There are two kids about my age standing at the end of the sidewalk. The heck? “Uh, hey. How’s it going?” “Great!” The girl answers. “You must be Ashley; welcome to Vaniville Town!” She’s a chipper one. “Bye, mom!” I shout, already halfway out the door. “Where are you going, dear?” My head pokes around the frame. “Out.”
“We’re heading to Aquacorde Town! Professor Sycamore has something for a group of us kids.” “Sycamore?”
“Okay baby. Try to make some friends, okay?”
“You know, the world-famous Pokémon professor?” Calem jeers.
“Mom, I’m not a baby!”
I can already tell I’m going to have a problem with this guy.
“We’ll meet you there, Ashley.” Shauna smiles and waves, and they’re gone through the town’s gates.
I slam the door on the way out, cutting her off. I feel a little bad – that was harsh – but whatever, I’m not a little kid anymore.
Like I’m going to just rush off after them. They can wait if it’s that important. Instead, I head out into “town,” if you can call it that. Literally three houses in a closed clearing. How does a place like this even exist? At least it’s not far from Aquacorde Town, which is a little more bearable. I walk past Mom’s Rhyhorn, lounging in the sun, and hear a rustling from the other side of the fence. I peek around the corner and there’s a little boy, no older than eight or nine, standing on his tiptoes staring into the yard. I clear my throat, and he squeals and falls backwards. He seems scared at first,
Issue 1; Spring 2014
but when he sees I’m not a parent his fear is replaced with excitement. “I reeeally want a Pokémon! Then I could go wherever I want!”
novel. A gust of warm autumn wind would blow my hat off my head and, as I lean over to pick it up, my chair starts to fall and a tall French boy – Francois – catches my hand and pulls me up into his welcoming arms… A shout from my left snaps me back to reality.
You and me both, kid. “One day, when you’re a little older, you’ll get your very own Pokémon. And you can go on an adventure that takes you as far away from here as you want!”
“Hey Ashley, come here!”
This kid’s clearly torn: “But…I’ll be scared without my mommy.” I smile and chuckle. “Well that’s why you have to wait until you grow up a little. Trust me, you won’t be able to leave fast enough.” He glances over at Rhyhorn, back to me, then darts off down the street. Kids. They don’t know anything yet. One day he’ll be a preteen, like me, and he’ll realize what life’s all about. Without really noticing where I am, I keep walking down the only path that leaves town. Aquacorde opens into a communal square with tables and chairs overlooking the lower district, where the shops and homes frame a central fountain. People and Pokémon wander around, living simple, peaceful lives. This could be nice. There I’d be, sitting at one of the antique tables, sipping espresso and reading the latest J. F. Goodwrench adventure
I slowly approach. Not scared, but cautious. “We were just talking about you.” Already? I don’t even know these kids and it’s going to be just like before. Well, time to batten down the hatches. “Let me introduce you,” Calem says. “This is Tierno. He can really tear up the dance floor.” Douche. “And this is Trevor. He’s a little shy, but he always gets perfect scores on his tests.”
Geek. The standard small talk spills out of their mouths. How’s your mom? I like your shirt. I’m going to be a Pokémon master.
“How about...Smashley? ‘Cause I smash the competition.” I stare directly into Calem’s eyes. Trevor and Tierno seem uneasy, but Shauna, either naively or tactfully, pays no mind to the exchange.
Yawn. “I know!” Shauna chirps up. “We should give you a nickname.” Um, what? The peanut gallery chimes in on this mess: “Lil a?” “Akins?” “Lady A?” “Umm I don’t know…Those are all kind of…lame. “ Shauna looks at me, trying hard to hide that she’s hurt by my comment. “What would you suggest then?” asks Calem with a bit of snideness to his voice. “How about Ash-lame?”
“Bro, you guys are gonna love getting Pokémon.” Tierno saw the opening to cut the tension and jumped on it. “Me and Trev just love ours.” “Oh, so you two already have a Pokémon? What kind is it?” “It’s a surprise!” Trevor says. “Just pick one of these three: The grass type, Chespin; the fire type, Fennekin; or the water type, Froakie.”
@ericrsilver @thepulppress how about Smashley ;) #cyopa — Taylor Kayfish (@tayjoykay) February 16, 2014
Issue 1; Spring 2014
Yo, Smashley, did you know you can nickname your Pokémon?” says Tierno. “A nickname, huh?” I look deep into Froakie’s eyes. You remind me of him… “Alright! This is Steve, everyone.” “Great name, Smashley! It’s nice to meet you, Steve.” Shauna says as she reaches for the Pokéball with Fennekin. “It’s so cuuuute!” “What kind of name is Steve for a Pokémon?” Calen sneers, claiming Chespin as his partner. It means a lot to me. “Here, take this, too.” Trevor hands us all a Pokédex, a kind of encyclopedic database of all known Pokémon, he explains. “Try it out!”
@ericrsilver Choose Froakie and name it Steve. Regardless of gender #CYOPA — Thomas Dean Millar (@ThomasDMillar) February 13, 2014 Hmm, well this fire fox looks pretty cool, but what’s up with that ear hair? It’ll probably evolve into some stupid fur ball.
I grab the Pokéball with Froakie inside.
Physical attributes – typing, size, weight – pop up next to a picture of Steve. There’s even a little write-up about the Issue 1; Spring 2014
Issue 1; Spring 2014
species, and what moves they typically know. “I also have this letter for your mom, Smashley,” Trevor says as he hands me an envelope. “It’s from professor Sycamore.” “Really? Do they know each other?” “He didn’t say,” he shrugs. Maybe it’s a love letter! But he’s probably old and wrinkly and gray. But then again, Mom needs someone in her life. Either way, I should take this to her right away so I can get going sooner.
Fennekin, huh? Let’s see what the Pokédex says about that.
“Hey, Smashley! Let’s have a quick battle with our new friends.” Shauna runs up to me before I can get away. “I don’t really feel like it.” “Too bad! We locked eyes and now you have to battle with me.” Okay… “Go, Fennekin!”
Alright, a fire-type. This should be a piece of cake!
“This is stupid.” I try to walk away, but she circles around me. I can’t escape. I guess there’s only one way out of this.
“C’mon Steve! Let’s show her what we’re made of. Use…” (I scroll through the Pokédex entry) “…Bubble!”
I lob Steve’s Pokéball onto the street. He jumps out, ready for a fight. The ball shrinks back to the size of a large marble and returns to my hand; I stuff it into my bag.
A frothy jet stream bursts from Steve’s mouth and shoots towards Shauna and Fennekin. Woah. “Dodge it,” she shouts.
“Dodge it,” she shouts.
at his leg, but he just can’t get the angle right. The stream splashes just inches away from the target.
“Don’t let up Steve! Move faster than it does.” Fennekin darts back and forth, knocking over chairs and tables, as Steve hops after it, bubbles bursting all around them. Where does all that water come from?
“Oh no, Smashley! Your Pokémon’s burned. Come here, quickly; I’ll heal it.” Shauna takes a spray bottle out of her bag and generously applies it to Steve’s leg. They fire dies down, and slowly the burned skin restores to its healthy blue sheen. She then sprays the rest of it over his bruised body.
“Fennekin, turn and use ember,” commands Shauna. A group of bubbles burst in the fire Pokémon’s face, obviously weakening it. Steam starts to rise off its fur. Its body temperature must be through the roof. It lets loose a volley of fireballs, all aimed straight at Steve.
“Are you okay, bud?” I give him a treat from my bag to make him feel better.
“Steve!” I call. He turns to look at me. “Do something!” He nods in understanding and turns back to face Fennekin, readying another attack. Just in time to get a face full of fire. “Shoot,” I push out through gritted teeth. His front leg is still on fire, but there’s no time to deal with that now. “Use bubble again!” On three legs he launches himself into the air and fires another super effective attack at Fennekin. Another direct hit; Shauna rushes over to her Pokémon and returns it to the safety of its ball. “We won!” I run over to Steve. He’s desperately spitting water
“What was that spray, Shauna?” “Oh! That’s called a full restore. It heals any status problem and all damage a Pokémon has taken.” “Thanks.” I hold out Steve’s Pokéball for him to jump back into. I start walking back towards Vaniville to give Mom that Issue 1; Spring 2014
Issue 1; Spring 2014
letter. After two or three steps, I turn back to Shauna. “That was kind of fun.”
With my back to her I roll my eyes, but turn around: “I’ll be back before you know it.”
Calem’s nowhere in sight. Too bad; I would have loved to show him a thing or two about battling.
I hurry back home to give Mom the letter. “What does it say?” I’m dying to know.
The wind blowing through my hair as I jog out of town and back through Aquacorde helps calm me down. The possibilities are endless. Who knows what danger, excitement (and maybe love) await out in the world?
“It seems that Professor Sycamore has a request for you.” “Oh? What kind of request?” “How exciting for you. It’s like your own version of that race.” “Mom, I asked you a question.” That’s all she ever talks about. That stupid world’s longest Pokémon race she won before I was even born. Her and Rhyhorn. The only man in her life. I’m sure not going to make the same mistake as her. I tell myself that every day. Gonna find someone to spend my life with and not focus a hundred percent of my time on something trivial like racing.
“You still haven’t told me where I’m going!”
As I take my first step out into the tall grass, I grow confident in my decision to start this adventure with Steve. I’m free; nothing’s going to hold me back now!
“It’s up to you, Ash! This is your journey.”
Woah! A wild Pidgey!
“A journey? Okay, great. Thanks for all your help.”
“Oh, don’t forget this map.”
“I’ll miss you, sweetie.”
Here’s where we’re going to end the first chapter of our adventure. What happens next is up to you: • Should I catch the first Pokémon I come across?
• Should I defeat it, and everything else that crosses us?
• Do I battle only with Steve by my side?
• Or should I abandon him and become a bird trainer/bug catcher instead?
• How many Pokémon should I catch in next
week’s chapter (Route 2 – Santalune City)
• What should I name them?
• Do I get lost in the forest? • Do I win or lose my battles? • Will I be good or evil?
• Do I try to rob the pokemart? Hold the poke centre hostage?
• Or do I stop along the path to help a poor
Pokémon trapped under a fallen branch, or protect a new trainer who’s overwhelmed?
Want to help shape the course of this Pokémon adventure? I’ll try to play out anything you can think of, just send me a tweet @ericrsilver with the hashtag #CYOPA.
Issue 1; Spring 2014
Issue 1; Spring 2014