Steampunk Beholder

What’s this? The bastard lovechild of traditional dungeoneering and a modern obsession with cogs and clockwork? What rays come from its many eyes? And where lurk its clockwork alchemist minions?

Quite apart from the glorious clanking potential of steampunk D&D, it did put me in mind of the fantastic eye jewellery that was being sold at LonCon 3. The stall was opposite where FP was stationed and it sat and looked at us, quite literally, all weekend.

Succumbing to the lure was inevitable.

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Much like that of the Beholder, I suspect.

And have since realised: both items actually made by Catherinette Rings. Gorgeous!

EasterCon – The George Effect

You know how it is – when you’re at a Con, you do kind-of concoct the blog post in your head as you’re going along. (Or maybe that’s just a side-effect of being behind a table in the Dealers’ Room?) Either way, this one was going to be all about The George Effect. How GRRM was an absolutely lovely man – and about the effect that having Game of Thrones on prime-time TV, and then at the Con itself, had opened the doors to a whole new range of fans… fantasy becoming mainstream, new credibility and community, we know how it goes…

But hey, looks like David Barnett in the Guardian has done it for me.

Instead, there was a second thread to EasterCon, woven in with the first – and one that’s becoming more predominant with every event we’ve attended…


Championed by the wondrously tea-making Doctor Geof, Steampunk, specifically, is becoming more than a thread, it’s becoming a full-on machine. Costuming has been loitering at Cons for decades, but it’s not about Trekkies any more – it has a new glamour and elegance, a full-on social involvement brought in precisely by the media that’s now representing our genre/s. Not only is George bringing in new fans, but the new expansion of the literary into the visual is opening events like EasterCon to a different swathe of people.

Rita’s absolutely right when she uses the word ‘inclusivity’ – this was an event that was all about the welcome. After the SFX Weekender, we were thinking about book conventions and how they’d have to adapt – and lo, here is EasterCon doing exactly that. The changes were obvious, even among the traders. More people, younger people, are attending and reading and and becoming involved.

I’ll talk about Ecko (you know I will!) but not here – this is the place for the ‘thank you’. This EasterCon was about the opening out of traditional social cliches and barriers…

George, genre, glamour and garment, I think we’ll look back at Olympus 2012 as a new beginning for us all.





Sometimes, you discover something so absolutely beautiful that you wonder how the hell you’ve never seen it before. By Daniel Arnold-Mist, this just took my breath away. I don’t know whether to call her steampunk, cyberpunk, wirepunk or to leave the punk alone completely and hold back from giving her any kind of limiting label. She’s too delicate, too expressive, for my clumsy words.

Her beauty is astonishing. If I look at her long enough, I expect her to move.

Find more of Dan’s artwork here.

Steampunk In Kew

The Steam Museum in Kew is wonderfully surreal.

It’s a movie set; it’s a place out of time. It’s something from an episode of Sapphire and Steel. It’s huge and echoing and slightly creepy and absolutely compelling.

I completely fell in love with it.

It’s a timewarp – it’s a huge hall of incredible machinery, all kept flawlessly running by knowledgeable codgers who love these machines as if they were children. Interspersed with their smoothly oiled running are pieces of period costume, are isolated figures of history and heroism…and goldfish, tiny flashes of colour amid the shining grey.

There are toys and activities for children – in one place, there’s a table of brand new craft products and an interactive wall that could have come straight from best-funded end of the Science Museum; in another, there’s an ancient wooden play-railway and aged boxes of grubby pencil-stubs.

The Museum is a touching tale of its own history, as well as the history of the Thames that’s on display.

The Steampunk Exhibition itself is fantastic – topical Science Fiction iconography from Star Wars and Doctor Who all now wrought with brass and goggles… it’s beautiful, all finely crafted and as a hot a media mash-up as you like…

And yet there’s no-one there to see it.

The emptiness of the place affected me more than anything else – the Steam Museum is a place of love and wonder and discovery and yet it seems that time has passed it by.  Please don’t you.

The Steampunk Exhibition is open until August 29th. And well worth it!



Colonel J Fizziwig’s Blasters & Disruptors

Some adventures demand guns.

And some guns demand adventures.

Lock’n’loading somewhere between Doctor Grordbort and Hellboy, this is one palm-itching, mouthwatering range of steampunkery that’s enough to make you crave big game – and I don’t mean the bloody World Cup.

Available at Forbidden Planet, each of one these cries out to be accompanied by a full bustle and a pith helmet – or the gentlemanly equivalent. Sadly lacking costume, I will have to settle for throwing out my son in order to make some space.

Whatever Steampunk may do as a literary genre (you’ll pardon me for not writing this post in the style of an excerpt from King Solomon’s Mines) in the art world, it kicks butt… these weapons are props and statues, there to be admired and BIG-TIME shown off.

They may be convertible to cosplay with a crafters’ eye and a steady hand (though I’m not recommending it), but I want to know..?

How can I make one WORK?!!

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