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Steampunk and Clocks

By M. Holly-Rosing

What is it about steampunk and clocks? Where ever you look you see time pieces and their requisite gears churning away reminding us of the inevitable march of time.  It is a curious thing to be able to see seconds slip away on a mechanical device.

The astrolabium is a wonderful example of literally watching seconds, days, and months pass by. Pre-dating this gorgeous mechanism, ancient Greek astronomers had developed a device to determine the position of the sun and stars. However, the astrolabium does more than count off hours, minutes, months, and dates.  It gives time beauty and substance in an existential kind of way. Designed by the famous clockmaker Philipp Matthaus Hahn (1739-1790), its origins and/or inspiration can be attributed to the tellurium clock, the Antikythera Mechanism of the 2nd century B.C. and possibly many others.  (Creativity and inspiration often seep across national boundaries and flourish in unexpected ways.)  Whatever its origins, the astrolabium reminds us of the passage of time with a miniature globe of the earth that rotates and revolves around a solid brass sun in this particular model.

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I have always liked clocks. Pocket watches, necklace watches, the old mantelpiece clocks that once were so fashionable in days gone by.  I love to study the inner workings of clocks and watches for the simple reason I find the craftsmanship to be extraordinary.  And it’s just so damned pretty. If I had enough room in our house, there would be clocks everywhere, but practicality won out and in their place are stacks of books.

So, what is it about steampunk which finds clocks so enticing and engaging?  And not just any type of clock, but ones where their inner workings are exposed for the world to observe and dissect.  It is my belief that in steampunk clockworks are a representation of the human heart.

Its ticking is the equivalent of a heartbeat and its exposure a symbol of human frailty. Gears can falter, skip and even grind to a halt. The human condition all wrapped up in a mechanical device.

Steampunk has imbued clockworks with soul and a sense of purpose beyond the intention of their original makers.  You know the old saying, “you wear your heart on your sleeve?” In this case, it’s on the wall, in your pocket or in the palm of your hand.  And it can be crushed at a whim.

Clocks and time play a very large role in steampunk.  Originally based on Victorian England sensibilities and technology, steampunk looks to the past for a new vision of the future in a variety of cultures.  For the uninitiated, you will see steam-based technology augmented with modern devices in fiction as well as fashion and home-built gadgets. Some make sense, others not so much. But that’s part of the fun.  Fashion is often ripped straight from Victorian styles though more often than not the person wearing it has given it their own individual flair.

As the writer/creator of the comic and companion novellas for BOSTON METAPHYSICAL SOCIETY, I worked within the framework of a specific time and place, but since I was working in fiction, I had the opportunity to take a more modern point-of-view towards science and social mores.  It was challenging and rewarding. The challenge was making sure my time line made sense and the reward was when it all worked out.

The theme of clockworks in steampunk not only suggests the inner workings of the human heart as I mentioned before, but also evokes another time and place.  And in some cases, those times and places cross over in the most unusual way. In this panel from the first chapter of the comic, Duncan, who is a ghost, had hidden a camera from Caitlin’s vengeful mother. He has crossed over from another time and place to help someone he cares for.

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Since clockworks and time are inexorably linked, steampunk does what it does best in demonstrating another vision of the past with influences from the future.

BOSTON METAPHYSICAL SOCIETY has been my first venture into steampunk as a writer, but I have funny feeling I may have found my home.  It allows me to explore the issues and themes which are important to me in a way that appeals to my own personal aesthetic.  For when you strip away the gadgets and the fancy clothes you discover that in steampunk, time is always at the heart.

Holly-Rosing is the writer/creator of the comic BOSTON METAPHYSICAL SOCIETY which is currently running a Kickstarter campaign to print the trade paperback of the six issue mini-series. The trade also contains a brand new Boston Metaphysical ten page short story, Hunter-Killer. The campaign runs from February 1- March 3.

Kickstarter Link: http://kck.st/2kT8SqU

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/BostonMetaphysicalSocietyComic

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/mhollyrosing

 

 

Session 0 of ‘The Lady Knights of Adventure’ tonight!

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Tonight the new group of adventuring lady Role Players will be joining me at Tucson Games and Gadgets in the ‘Mental ward’ in collectively building the themes and threats we want to tackle in the shared story gaming experience known as Dungeons and Dragons! So once the Ladies and I decide what the world will be like I’ll gladly share and let you know.

For this game as opposed to the previous two groups ‘The Unlikely Fellowship’ and ‘ Season two’s Princes of the Apocalypse group’ the Lady Knights of Adventure will be more than just ‘Cannon’ materials and we will be allowing  more home brew things and input for other sources in this game.

Here’s just a few online resources we will be using:

Homebrew Content of 5th edition

Some interesting Races

Monster-Hunter-Custom-Background

Keep an eye out for ‘The Lady Knights of Adventure coming very soon to the dndjourneyofthefifthedition.podbean.com site and itunes of the Creative Play and podcast Network!

Also we now have been adding more videos to our YouTube channel you can find here!  Check out our Dungeon Crate review with Kerrie!

Feel free to share your thoughts! But please always be respectful of others!

 

-Jim.

Create, Inspire, Share and Collaborate!

 

 

The Wagon just came to Town about Wild Wild West Con

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Strap on your Goggles! Tighten those corsets and get Airship crews ready! Join us March 4-6 2016!

Steam Punk

steam punk or steam-punk

noun

1.

a subgenre of science fiction and fantasy featuring advanced machines and other technology based on steam power of the 19th century and taking place in a recognizable historical period or a fantasy world.

2.

a subculture inspired by this literary and film subgenre:

the fashions and gadgets of steampunk.
(As defined by dictionary.com but just the tip of the Ice berg for us steampunks!)
This March we have Steam punks migrating from all across the world to descend to the Old Pueblo and enjoy the much loved Wild Wild West Con!
Wild Wild West Con 5 is going to be anther great year with a world and time bending three day weekend (four f you count the wild Pre Con party at the Con Hotel Thursday night showcasing DEVM and Unwoman!) at Old Tucson Movie Studios in Tucson, Arizona.
As one f my personally favorite Conventions I can attest that this is one of the largest Western-style Steampunk Convention in the United States and to my knowledge the only Steampunk convention and festival that takes place in a western-themed town and amusement park. Every Special guest I’ve talked to speak of the magic of having the Convention in an old West town actually in the South West rather than on a hotel and I can not agree more it is a  magical blending of Old Tucson Studios usual stunt and saloon shows and museum displays mixed with Steampunk personalities and displays like last years Mad Science lab hosted by the Foundry.
This year’s theme is Journey Around the World’
The WWWC facebook page and some personal friends have confirmed the following things to look forward to so far and much, much more to be reveled over the month of February:
Performers so far including:
Steam Powered Giraffe (so looking forward to their next great concert!)
– Dry River Yacht Club
– The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing
– Unwoman
– Doctor Q Master of Ceremonies
Cirque des Bêtes
– Aiden Sinclair
– Mules Verne
– Peculiar Pretzelmen
Madame Askew (I can not wait to see her Tea Dueling again!)

Guests include:
Thomas Willeford
Tayliss Forge
– Charles E. Mason II
Steampunk Boba Fett
The League of S.T.E.A.M.
Gentleman Robot and Lady Pepper

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Panelists include:
– David Lee Summers
– David Grasse
– Lord and Lady Towers
– Lykiska
– Tony Ballard-Smoot
– Eric Burton
– Osiris Dance

And many, many more! I know the Chemis-Tea girls will be there as well!

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Come and enjoy the fashion show, wonderful Artists •, get books signed with the Authors, risk life and honor with Madame Askew and the Grand Arditor  in Tea Dueling, feel free to get some ‘Adult time but leaving the little aeronauts safely behind in the Kids Zone, see the Salon girls dance away and so much more.

Will we be seeing you there? The Creative play and podcast network will be there as Media and I’ll be lounging in the Aristocrats lounge with the Baron and please say hi and get pictures with us to share this wonderful weekend!

-Jim

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