|Posted by Lee A. Farruga on November 14, 2016 at 7:20 AM||comments (3)|
Author Nelson Boon (aka Steampunk Canada member Steam Bob), is a teacher who loves history, and in particular the Victorian era. In Steampunk, he says "I see a world where people are heros because they are dedicated to finding knowledge and truth, and they depend on their own intellects and ethical conduct to attain their goals." In his latest novel, he dedicates it to the children of the Industrial Revolution.
About this time last year, I had the pleasure to review the first in his series, The Boy in The Clockwork Cage.
His new book The Boy in the Clockwork Web continues the story a few years later.
Alonzo is now a grown young man. He has become head mechanic and inventor for a thriving company. Gus too has found success and his place in a modest way, and both are quite happy. But then Alonzo finds Tommy. A polio stricken street urchin that he feels compelled to help.
He finds Tommy a place with Mrs. Browne who now works for a new family. Alonzo hopes Tommy can learn and become more than just another dirty street arab. But Tommy is not like Alonzo. He is much harder and calculating, and he is belligerent and cold. Everything Alonzo never was. Even Mrs. Browne has an impossible task in winning him over.
But Alonzo has one more trick up his sleeve. In his spare time he's been working to resurrect the infamous device that he had once hoped would make him whole again. It's his last attempt to win over Tommy. But a sinister business man also has a great interest in his device, and when he finds the mad Dr. Cheyne, things turn very dangerous for Alonzo and Tommy.
Nelson Boon has created a wonderful continuation of Alonzo's story. He has added more dimensions to his Victorian vision, and the new characters fit in well. The story is a seamless natural continuation even though set a few years later.
Although this series is wonderful for anyone to read, in particular it reminds me of the old boys adventure books. There is danger and adventure, gadgets and friends. If you're looking for gifts, this series would be wonderful for any age group from about 10 years old and up.
I said it in my review of his first novel, and I'll say it again. I highly recommend this series. Nelson Boon has once again brought to life the gritty, hard side of Victorian life, with dashes of steampunk and hope.
|Posted by Lee A. Farruga on September 14, 2016 at 9:00 AM||comments (0)|
It's been a crazy summer, and I apologize for the absence, but I did find time to read a wonderful new thriller from Pyr Books called The Apothecary's Curse.
In Victorian London, the fates of physician Simon Bell and apothecary Gaelan Erceldoune entwine when Simon gives his wife an elixir created by Gaelan from an ancient manuscript. When it kills her, Simon becomes suicidal and swallows the remainder, only to find he cannot die. Five years later, hearing rumors of a Bedlam inmate with regenerative powers like his own, Simon is shocked to discover it’s Gaelan. The two men conceal their immortality, and the only hope of reversing their condition rests with Gaelan’s missing manuscript.
When modern-day pharmaceutical company Genomics unearths diaries describing the torture of an unnamed Bedlam inmate with regenerative powers, the company’s scientists suspect a link with Gaelan after a fatal accident doesn't kill him. Gaelan and Genomics geneticist Anne Shawe become powerfully drawn to each other, and her family connection to his manuscript leads to a stunning revelation.
This thriller does a fine job of switching between the two time periods to give the reader both Gaelan's and Simon's full stories. Gaelan's is even more intricate and older than the reader is first lead to believe, it makes him a much more interesting character. The author also does a good job of describing Gaelen's flashbacks and nightmares from his time being tortured at Bedlam. It was so bad, that he is still affected hundreds of years later.
And Simon has his own demons to deal with. Well actually his dead wife. Her ghost haunts him into the present. But is she angry because he killed her or is it his own guilt and longing for her that keeps her near him, screaming and taunting him to find a way to bring about his death?
And did I mention there's a wee bit of myth and magic too. But only a little. Most of the book is based on scientific principles and it's quite fascinating on its own, but the magic brings the past and present together and takes the tale on a sharp left turn.
It's a well conceived tale of two men and their search for release from an accidental condition that's been nothing but trouble and mental anguish. With the addition of some science, some myth, and some mystery, Barbara Barnett has created a wonderful new narrative.
I recommend The Apothecary's Curse. You can get a copy when it goes on sale October 11th.
|Posted by Lee A. Farruga on July 3, 2016 at 6:45 AM||comments (0)|
We've talked about Canadain steampunk artist Kyle Miller many times here on Steampunk Canada, and for good reason. His creations have always been cutting edge, and simply amazing!
This time around he's got something new that will turn any steampunk, or otherwise, into a maker. Check out his new Kickstarter campaign for The Volt.
This campaign aims to establish several signature models of "The Volt" clock, produce the first large sale production run of units and establish a web-based communication portal that helps users share their modifications to the base design. Additionally, they will be donating 5% of profits raised to the Nanaimo Makerspace in Nanaimo, BC.
There is still time to get involved. Make your very own Volt Clock!
|Posted by Lee A. Farruga on June 22, 2016 at 8:20 AM||comments (1)|
"At the end of the 19th century the eccentric Canadian inventor Thaddeus Barnes buried six copper cylinders across Canada. The locations of those cylinders he encoded in a private journal. That journal was filled with riddles, ciphers, mathematical puzzles and word games. His intention was that the most worthy of his three children would solve his vexing challenges, discover the cylinders and retrieve the six pieces of a brass key which would unlock a hidden safe that contained details of his greatest inventions, and his fortune.
But, upon his mysterious death, his children sailed to Canada from England on a astounding ship, the Titanic. His journal remained forgotten in the Canadian Archives. Until now."
Come this fall Canadians will be able to enter the world of Thaddeus Barnes, his inventions and his journal. Each week starting in August HarrowsmithNow will reveal a new page of the Barnes journal. Each will lead to a new copper cylinder until the safe is discovered and a prize awarded. They call the adventure The Strange Copper Cylinders of Thaddeus Barnes.
But the tale goes deeper. Each week they will also release a new episode of a gripping radio drama called The Strange Wax Cylinders of Thaddeus Barnes. In it a younger Barnes, his brilliant daughter Philipa, and his fellow inventive genius, Nikola Tesla battle the deadly Black Hand and an elusive enemy bent on stealing the secret of Barnes’ greatest invention, the electron compressor.
At their website, you can request a notification when it begins. Have fun!
|Posted by Lee A. Farruga on June 13, 2016 at 10:20 AM||comments (1)|
Coming back for its 3rd time, the Grand Canadian Steampunk Exposition promises to be bigger and better than ever!
This year it's all about mad science, crackpot inventions, and twisted genius. What could be more fun than that!
Special guests include Abney Park, and Frenchy & The Punk. There will also be interactive exhibitions, panels, workshops, variety entertainment, buskers, teapot racing, and much much more!
To keep up to date on tickets and programming, be sure to check out the GCSE website.
|Posted by Lee A. Farruga on April 29, 2016 at 1:30 PM||comments (0)|
Last year I mentioned that Exile publishing was putting out a special steampunk anthology that would be very specifically Canadian.
Well, it's almost here, and I've had the opportunity to read it. It's wonderful!
The stories cover our great country from coast to coast. It also includes many historical figures, immigrants, and aboriginal nations. It's a true Canadian melting pot.
Also, there is everything from clockwork (as indicated in the title), to steam, electrical wonders, and even the supernatural (gaslight). The tone of the stories are quite varied as well. There are stories that are funny and whimsical, and there are stories that are very dark and quite sad.
Each story is very unique and the authors have done a lovely job of bringing to life an alternate Canadian history. Two of my favourite stories are The Curlicue Seahorse by Chantal Boudreau and Bones of Bronze, Limbs Like Iron by Rhea Rose.
The only story I didn't particularly like wasn't because it was bad, or because it was quite steamy (don't let the kids read this one), but it was because the author used two important figures from a much earlier period (the war of 1812) and set them, and the war, in 1899. Now while I appreciate it's an alternative Canada, this was a little over the top for me. Especially as I know the period fairly well. If you don't know the history behind the characters, and you like your steampunk on the saucy side, then you'll enjoy Let Slip the Sluicegates of War, Hydro-Girl.
Generally though, the whole book is quite good and you can easily read a story or two a night. And it was quite nice to encounter more Canadian content in the steampunk genre. I recommend Clockwork Canada.
You can get your own copy from Exile when it's released on May 1st.
|Posted by Lee A. Farruga on March 27, 2016 at 9:55 PM||comments (0)|
Film and documentary maker Annie Deniel is working on a special documentary with a large group of steampunks from Canada and abroad.
The project is mostly complete, but she has started an Indiegogo campaign to help finish it the best way possible. Any size contribution helps and any money raised during the campaign will go toward the documentary.
Please help this fantastic Canadian steampunk project get finished and shown around the world.
|Posted by Lee A. Farruga on March 10, 2016 at 8:45 AM||comments (0)|
The Steampunk Makers Workshop group on Facebook has put out a challenge to makers and tinkers around the world.
Here are the details from their event page:
You must build a device in the Steampunk style.
!) It can be portable or stationary, be used as equipment or accessory, either as costume or part of an Airship or Submersible etc;
2) It must have a conceivable function (even if fictional). It cannot be just a box to put something else in. The box is the base of the challenge. It must be converted into something other than just a box.
3) It must feature some sort of box no bigger than roughly the size of a box that would contain a large domestic cutlery set - examples shall be posted
4) The box itself is integral to the design. Examples will be posted of possible projects.
5) No guns, but it can be part of a weapons system.
6) Finally there is a strong encouragement to use recyclables and junk finds within the build.
7) All materials and paints are allowed
Winner is decided upon a 7 day open poll.
9) This challenge has a maximum budget of $20.
International Bragging rights and the choice of key items in the next build challenge.
To enter the Challenge, simply sign up for the event and start your build!
Contest Date: March 10th - May 9th.
Entries need to be in on or before May 9th!
- Work In Progress (WIP) photo's are appreciated.
- WIP's will be added at Steampunk Makers Workshop page.
- All pictures should be posted to the event page, WIP and completed entries.
After the Challenge closes on May 9th, an open poll will be made at the Steampunk Makers Workshop page where you all can vote for your winner.
The challenge is free to participate to all and photo's of all entries will be placed in a separate album.
Give me a message if you have any questions.
There will be no catagories in this build. The qualifications looked for will be creativity and the Steampunk style.
Now, go build something Splendid!!!
|Posted by Lee A. Farruga on February 22, 2016 at 9:45 AM||comments (0)|
A couple of years ago, Canadian artist Gary Helps introduced us to his steampunk inspired wind chimes. At the same time, he was just starting to experiment with making lighting too. He is now creating more light fixtures, and they're just wonderful.
He has ventured into the fabrication of light fixtures based on the same materials of recycled vintage light elements and other metallic paraphernalia. They have a decided steampunk twist to them, as you can see in the photos below...
This piece is comprised of two floor lamp trilight elements, oil lamp pieces and a custom designed and fabricated socket structure plus a 14" fan cage. Supplied with decorative chain and canopy ready to mount.
The central structure of this particular piece is a well disguised vintage medicinal epothecary jar. It is embellished with various and sundry metallic paraphernalia including a hanging oil lamp counterweight casing on its lowest extremity and an inverted brass table base attached to a 3 armed deco fixture element on top from which hang 3 fluted, frosted shades. Mounted inside the jar is a vintage brass socket with the source of illumination being an elongated picture light bulb.
You can learn and see more of Gary's creations at his website Metalmorpia
|Posted by Lee A. Farruga on February 9, 2016 at 9:35 AM||comments (2)|
This is the very first post here on Steampunk Canada!
And here we are today, over 1,000 posts, photos, videos and shared conversations.