Steampunk Hands 2016 – Boneshaker

While I was at the first Steamcon in 2009, I had a chance to attend a panel by Cherie Priest, along with Liz Gorinsky from TOR, talking about her first steampunk book, Boneshaker.


It sounded intriguing and like it might be a good start on that next wave of steampunk books released by mainstream publishers. It had the hallmarks of potentially good story – alternate history, big machines, airships, strong main character. And zombies. I picked up the book, got Cherie to sign it, and I was not disappointed on any page in reading it.

Taking place in an alternate Seattle, Washington, in a country where the Civil War lasted two decades, I found myself comparing locations in the story to what’s in the city today. Cherie lived in Seattle when she wrote the book and had current and historical information on hand as she created her world.


We follow Briar Wilkes into the now enclosed city, searching for her errant and somewhat rebellious son. It’s a different world inside the walls, allies and foes alike creating some kind of life for themselves. Briar mostly doesn’t care, she’s focused on her son, and while history or people, places and events come to light, there are secrets which some would prefer to stay that way.

If you like a strong steampunk setting, characters, mysteries, and action, you may also enjoy this Hugo-nominated first book in Cherie’s Clockwork Universe.


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Published in: on February 7, 2016 at 8:07 pm  Comments (2)  
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Steampunk Hands 2016 – Tai Chi Zero

I’m not much of a city person. All the activity, crowds, and close spaces get on my nerves. I much prefer the quietness and relaxed atmosphere of more rural and natural environments. Something needs to be especially necessary or enticing to draw me into good sized cities.


One such enticement was a limited showing of the Chinese steampunk movie, Tai Chi Zero. While it had several nominations at a few film festivals, I was already engaged by the word steampunk.

In a nutshell, around 1900 during the Bozer Rebellion, Yang Lu Chan seeks to learn a secret powerful form of Tai Chi, while the village black sheep, Fang Zi Jing returns home to avenge prior treatment with a monstrously amazing railroad building machine. Change is coming to Chen Village and not everyone wants to accept nor adapt.


Some viewers may find the format disconcerting as real life names and information are called out on screen about some of the actors, or when the action is presented like a video game. The story is still quite engaging, alternately sweet, with innocent and pure goals, and challengingly adult as some endeavor to do the right thing.

Protection vs revenge. Loves lost and unwittingly found. Tradition vs nouveau. In all of it, that railroad machine is a gorgeous work of steampunk design.


If you like martial arts movies, or want to see a Chinese take on the steampunk aesthetic, make time to watch the movie, and its sequel, Tai Chi Hero, and enjoy the sub-titles, the artistic designs, and the sheer fun of the movie.

Check out these reviews



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Published in: on February 7, 2016 at 7:51 pm  Comments (1)  
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Steampunk Hands 2016 – Siddhartha Lamp

Art Donovan’s wonderful Siddhartha Lamp was one of the most captivating and inspiring steampunk images I came across in 2007. This was Art Donovan’s first steampunk work and was featured in the Steampunk Exhibition at the University of Oxford’s Museum of the History of Science in 2009.

The piece as a whole was engaging and it has become one of those “must have” pieces for my home. Someday. Go Fund Me, anyone? The overall form is striking with the decorative wood near the top, exposed wire cabling, and repeated vertical lines of support rods and lights.

Art Donovan-Siddhartha Pod Lantern-Full View

Starting at the top, the canopy is reminiscent of many older ceiling lights and right away shows a twist in usage by leading down to a finial instead of the rest of the light itself. Instead, two branching support arms lead from the canopy to the first light, which stands on the decorative wood work, which Art compares to the twirling mustache of a steampunk villain, and the light itself is paired two finials resembling focusing nodes.

The next section is the long repeating vertical lines of three lights and support rods, crossed by three horizontal glass blocks. It is at once both industrial in exposed function but also elegant in textural and material appearance. Shining glass belies fragility in favor of substance especially when offset with polished metals. The heavy duty design of the bulb connectors indicates serious power. Not just some run of the mill table lamp, this section of the lamp screams no-nonsense but yet artistic dependable functionality, and if this were a cartoon, would serve as a warning that people will see your skeleton glow if you got too close.

The lamp terminates in a clock face and an inverted dome light. Tempus Fugit at all hours, and a final light to guide our way.

Art has created a number of stunning lamps which I also love, but it is the Siddhartha Lamp which most captures my interest and imagination.


Follow along each day as new entries are added to the Official Link List and join the discussions on the Facebook event page.


Published in: on February 7, 2016 at 7:45 pm  Comments (1)  
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