Monthly Archives: August 2016

Thematic Cast of Characters: A Steampunk Writer’s Perspective

I am currently working on a nonfiction piece … and I noticed that I am still using thematic writing.

Cogpunk Steamscribe

A Steampunk version of the character Death from the Endless by Neil Gaiman's Sandman universe. A Steampunk version of the character Death from the Endless, from Neil Gaiman’s Sandman universe.

Thematic casting is when you base your characters around a central theme. Take the Fanastic Four as a fairly simplistic example of thematic casting. Mr Fantastic represents ‘water, Sue is ‘air’, the Human Torch is ‘fire’ and the Thing is ‘earth’; all four of the basic elements as understood by alchemists. The Planeteers from Captain Planet follow the same theme, adding ‘heart’ to the mix. In the Avatar series, the Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra used the same for the various ‘benders’. Many children’s cartoons use thematic casting, but this doesn’t mean it can’t be used as a sophisticated writing tool.

The Victorian era version of the Fantastic Four.

When I think of sophisticated thematic casting, I think of Neil Gaiman’s Endless from his Sandman series. The Endless are seven siblings who rule the aspects…

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The Artist Emily Mary Osborn: a Steampunk Feminist Perspective


I write a lot bout the problems that women faced when trying to be professional scientists in the Victorian era, but female artists suffered from the same sorts of sexism and prejudice as their scientist sisters. The perfect example of this is the painting, Nameless and Friendless“The rich man’s wealth is his strong city, etc.” – Proverbs, x, 15, painted in 1857. It depicts the reception of a young artist presenting her paintings to a dealer.

The artist has certainly drawn on her own experiences when painting this scene. The look of resignation on the artist’s face, her brother’s expression halfway between hope and resentment, the dealer pretending to find fault with her work … and the two men on the left, gazing at her with interest tinged with hostility.


Nameless and Friendless. "The rich man's wealth is his strong city, etc." - Proverbs, x, 15 1857 by Emily Mary Osborn 1828-1925

Nameless and Friendless. “The rich man’s wealth is his strong city, etc.” – Proverbs, x, 15; painted in 1857 by Emily Mary Osborn (1828-1925 )

The title of the piece is also a hint, referring to the bible proverb: The rich man’s wealth is his strong city: the destruction of the poor is their poverty.

The young artist and her brother are poor, and trying to make a living in a world full of men that see her as a woman first, and an artist second.

Emily Mary Osborn wasn’t in quite the same straits as the young artist in this painting. She was favoured by several wealthy female patrons, and even Queen Victoria bought at least one of her paintings. I suspect she enjoyed the freedom her success gave to her, because she died unmarried at the age of 97. But it didn’t stop her from showing sympathy to Victorian era ‘damsels’, one of her favourite topics.

The Governess

The Governess



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Filed under Art, Female Artist, Historical Personage, History, Steampunk Feminist, Uncategorized, Victorian Era, Victorian-era Fashion

A Mechanical Goddess

This is sheer poetry

Airship Flamel

48770, 1951.19.2a-b Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery

We are living in times in which we are striving to make the digital look more and more perfectly mechanical, especially here in Silicon Valley.

So it is refreshing to see something that is purely and simply mechanical in its very being.  No pixels, no user interface, no MP3 files.  Just gears and springs and levers artfully crafted, and beautifully encased in hand-worked precious metals and gems, depicting the Diana, goddess of the hunt in her chariot.

From the always entertaining and educational blog Two Nerdy History Girls, the video shows the automaton/clock in action. I can imagine it being quite the site at early 17th century soirees  Even today, it is quite amazing!

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Monday Motivation —

via Monday Motivation —

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Victor Hugo, Devoted Grandfather — Windows into History

Snippets 90. John Swinton was a popular journalist, who was chief editor of the New York Times during the 1860s. In 1883 he launched John Swinton’s Paper, an influential publication campaigning for the rights of workers in America. His views may have been influenced in some measure by a visit to Britain three years earlier, […]

via Victor Hugo, Devoted Grandfather — Windows into History


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IN DEFENSE OF A POLYAMOROUS READING LIFE written by Jane Losinger — Nerdy Book Club

I am here to publicly admit that I have embraced a polyamorous reading life. The term “polyamory” comes from the Greek for “many loves” and is usually defined as having more than one romantic relationship at any time. Before I go any further, no, this has nothing to do with Fifty Shades of Gray or […]

via IN DEFENSE OF A POLYAMOROUS READING LIFE written by Jane Losinger — Nerdy Book Club

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Caricature versus Stereotype: a Steampunk Feminist Perspective

A Stereotype: a widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing.

A Caricature: a picture, description, or imitation of a person in which certain striking characteristics are exaggerated in order to create a comic or grotesque effect.

From Google Definitions

Caricatures of attendees at an Australian suffragette meeting.

Caricatures of the attendees at an Australian suffragette meeting.

Anti-suffragette cartoons

The stereotype versus the caricature.

own worst enemy

anti-suffragist choir.jpg


The Stereotype of a Suffragette from the viewpoint of those against the suffragette movement.

what I would do with...

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Fums Up 02

The Fumsup charm was popular at the end of the 19th century and up until WW1. This sort of lucky charm went with many a soldier to war. Fumsup is baby talk for ‘Thumbs up’. The luck was in the wooden head – touch wood – and in the cheery gesture of thumbs up!

I only just found out about this charm, and had to share straight away.

Fums up!

For Luck.

Behold in me

The birth of luck

Two charms combined


My head is made

Of wood most rare

My thumbs turn up

To touch me there.

To speed my feet

They’ve Cupid’s wings: 

They’ll help true love

’Mongst other things.

Proverbial is

My power to bring

Good luck to you

In everything.

I’ll bring good luck

To all away –

Just send me to 

A friend to-day.

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#mirthmusicmon – What American Steampunk Could Be — steampunk werewolf

Hello people, I know that I have not been all that consistent at keeping this up but the real world has it’s own demands. Today what i wanted to share with you is the idea that Steampunk is not only growing around the world, but is becoming far more relevant. Here in the states […]

via #mirthmusicmon – What American Steampunk Could Be — steampunk werewolf

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The Grand Tour Part One: The USA — Tanaudel

As usual, this is a best-bits version of the trip, where “best-bits” = anything that stayed still long enough to be sketched. You should be able to see a larger version of the pictures by clicking on them, which in most cases will take you through to their Flickr page. So: Once upon a time […]

via The Grand Tour Part One: The USA — Tanaudel

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