Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Steampunk Travels, part 1

As a newcomer to the steampunk world, I was led on a quite diverse course to discover everything about the genre.  For those of you planning on writing something for steampunk issue of Fissure, or for those of you new to the genre, I invite you on the first stage of my travels to this exciting, terrifying, amazing, offbeat, colorful road. 
First I was introduced through the music of Vernian Process by fellow writes group member Brian K. Ladd. But then as synchronicity does, I was exposed to various angles of the steampunk world all at once, photos of Gypsey and Marla in steampunk costumes and also what they had been working on as steampunk influenced decorating at their home, I met Nick Valentino, author of Thomas Riley, a steampunk novel, at a writer's conference and read his book and then, as a long time fan of all things Victorian checked out photos of the garb and costumes and I was smitten!
Three weeks ago I walked into a thrift store and found a designer skirt and jacket for under $20.00.  It's over the top Victorian influences, could only be worn as evening wear by contemporary folks and it fit!  So I snapped it up having no idea Gypsey Teague was planning to host the Upstate Steampunk Con in my town, Greenville, SC.  Wow.  What luck.
Then I read Matthew Delman's brilliant, well-researched and highly informative four-part series on The Roots of Steampunk on his blog, Free the Princess and whew, things really took off.
I have now written two steampunk stories, Marquette de Fleur, a rather steamy steampunk story (in the romantic way) which involves an odd take on horticulture in the steampunk world - a twisted kind of horticulture.  It is now in the submission circulation mill.  And this weekend I finished a second story, The Foxglove Broadsheets. This is a story about steam-driven printing, poison and political intrigue.
Without music I would never have explored this genre or written these stories. The music inspires me to delve into my love of Victorian cultures, interiors, history and now the inventions and how we can torque them with steampunk ingenuity. 
Here are some recommendations so you can be inspired too:
Vernian Process - British band - wow - the ultimate in steampunk atmosphere - you will be flying over London in an airship over the head of the likes of Jack the Ripper just listening to this.
Abney Park  - I heard about this band from author, Gypsey Teague. From Seattle, male and female members produce everything from dance music, to stunning melodic ballads complete with cello, violin and more, female singer- very very steampunk, lots of cool sound effects, some middle eastern influences.
Life's Decay - steampunk pair from France, awesome goth edge, bittersweet, obviously classically trained, amazing instrumentation often with acoustic and strange instruments.The dark edge of steampunk, the boudoir side of steampunk, awesome staccato military drums, cello steam train sounds blended with incredible melodies on piano, cello and more. The female high soprano voice sings and whispers in French - delectable, from romantic to poignant to haunting. 


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