Monthly Archives: March 2017

What does Steampunk mean to me and the WiP?

Cogpunk Steamscribe

Ah yes – what can I tell you about my WiP? Well, we can safe assume that it is falls into Steampunk as its literary category. But what defines the Steampunk genre?

The term retro-futurism gets bandied about a lot. I think it is a good term, but it requires some explaining to people outside of the genre, because it doesn’t specify WHICH era it applies to. Even the title ‘Steampunk’ confuses some people, because they don’t realise it means steam-powered, as in the start of the Industrial Age.  And other people only see the ‘punk’ and think the genre must be people by anarchists who pierce everything and beat up little old ladies for listening to Barry Manilow. I find it easiest to tell people I write stories in the style of Jules Verne.

The Steampunk Aesthetic and Steampunk subculture we can safely ignore for another post.

To me…

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March 31, 2017 · 8:37 am

I need this in my life by Meredith Carlisle

That duster is absolutely to die for. I love the way it poufs up where the top of the sleeve meets the shoulder (I’m sure there’s an actual term for that but I admit I have no clue what it might be) and the cut of the neckline, the way it accentuates the collarbones. The […]

via I need this in my life. — meredith carlisle

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A Lady Mechanika Review by Literature for the Masses

Lady Mechanika, Vol. 1: the Mystery of Mechanical Corpse by Joe Benitez brings back the unique and incredibly well written tale of everyone’s favorite Victorian England Steampunk hero. Beautifully illustrated, this collection is sure to create another generation of fans to join the cult following Lady Mechanika already enjoys. She is Lady Mechanika, the […]

via Lady Mechanika, Vol 1: The Mystery of the Mechanical Corpse — Comic Books – Literature For the Masses

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From my Facebook page

I wrote a long-winded post on Facebook, and suddenly realised that I should share this to the blog.

Rocket for SCIENCE

Reading ‘The Martian’ to understand the contrast between modern Science Fiction to the old school ‘hard’ science in fiction of ‘A for Andromeda’. I suddenly realise that there is a good reason why my mother hates Science Fiction, since she would have first encountered the over-technical ‘gosh, gee, SCIENCE!’ of the Forties and Fifties before the revolution of the Sixties caused by writers more interested in how people react to science than just the science. So many bad stereotypes.

At least ‘A for Andromeda’ tries to break away from cliches of the era and gives the women characters equal billing as protagonists and antagonists.

Yes, this is a sweeping generalisation. I do know that there are some very beautiful Science Fiction books written before the 1960s, that have fully developed characters and made sensitive observations of how science and technology could change lives. But they were the outliers. If you read the pulps from the Forties, there were rife with testosterone poisoning, but then, WWII probably influenced the tone of the era. It was an era of heroes fighting against impossible odds.

‘The Martian’ is all about fighting impossible odds. But the heroism is low-key. It is the humanity of our protagonist that defines him. Genre writing has moved away from being restricted by its genre and is moving into the realm of mainstream literature.

Yet, I’m still happy to sit down and watch ‘Rogue One’, which is all about explosions and white hats against black hats.


Filed under Opinion Piece, Personal experience, Pop Culture, Uncategorized

Shared from ‘I Make Stories’

For years I didn’t understand the steampunk community’s obsession with airships. I understood that they were transportation ephemera of a sort and that they harkened back to a bygone era, but I always thought they were too small. This was due in large part to my misunderstanding of their construction. I was further confused when […]

via How Passenger Airships Worked — I Make Stories

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Shared from Sly Fox and Silver Fern

My rust paste has long been one of my favorite art supplies. I can’t begin to describe how happy it makes me. This shot is of a camera I’m altering, working on the finishing touches now. To get this effect I used Inca gold and pewter over gesso, than rust paste over that, then the […]

via Rust porn. —

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From the Steampunk Journal

Steampunk Journal – The best steampunk news, reviews, articles and guides When I told a family member about my Edwardian Ball campaign, she was skeptical. “Is there really enough interest in Steampunk for people to fund this?” she asked, incredulously. “You think people will care?” My answer was a resounding YES. I was so confident,…

via Come on, Steampunks! Don’t Make a Liar out of Me… — Steampunk Journal

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Curried Sultanas

This is a straightforward recipe. I make up a half a cup of the dry ingredients in a curry mix: ground coriander seeds, ground cumin, cardamon, paprika, pepper, cayenne pepper, chili powder, star anise, turmeric, ground cloves, and I also add a small amount of garlic powder and celery salt. I add some dried coriander leaves as well, but that is just my personal quirk. When these are thoroughly mixed, you layer the dry mix with sultanas in a large glass jar until the jar is full. Give the jar a really good shake to coat the sultanas.
Best left for at least two weeks, giving the jar a good shake every couple of days. The turmeric turns the fruit into a dark yellow-ish brown.
The mix dries the sultanas out as well as flavouring them, and when they are added to a curry they don’t become watery and tasteless as they absorb the fluid in the curry.
If you like spicy snacks, they go well on a fruit and cheese platter, as they add a dash of spice and colour. I marry them up with a nutty cheese like Jarlsberg or Edam.

They make a good addition to homemade trail mix.

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A Steampunk Feminist’s Perspective on Science Week 2017

Warning Science Ahead


You can’t have Steampunk without Science … it would be like trying to build a locomotive without cogs! You could do it with great difficulty, but is the result worth the effort? And is it in a recognisable form? Do the wheels fall off when you try to run with it? I have read Science Fiction stories that claim to have no science, but it sneaks in under the door like smoke from a coal fire. After all, you can’t have a coal fire without coal!

Rocket for SCIENCE

This week is World Science Week, celebrating all the various fields of science from the so-called ‘soft sciences’ like Sociology and Anthropology all the way through to the diamond-hard sciences involving Physics. (Personally, I find this sort of description of the fields of science rather judgemental and divisive, and pretty damn useless.) In Brisbane, the majority of the festivities are taking place in and around the Cultural Precinct. You can find a description of the events here:

I attended a Science Writing workshop that was one of the events to kick off the celebrations. I wondered if I should attend, since I have considered myself a science writer for over fifteen years, but curiosity and interest got me there in the end. I am endlessly fascinated by how other writers work. It was a well run and very useful workshop, and I always gain insights into my own process as well as garnering some very good tips.

What I did notice was that most of Science Writers mentioned in the course were men, while at the same time, only one man attended the workshop; the rest were women (including me). Several of the women attendees were already working as science writers or scientists (or both). I wonder if this a sign that things are about the change in the field of Science Writing, to reflect the increase of women working in the STEM fields. As well, the workshop didn’t mention too much about blogging, which is a growing arena for science writing. My favourite female science blogger is the SciBabe:


So, as more women find their feet in the various fields of science, gain respect, and go on to have stellar careers … so should the women science writers … as should the female writers in the Steampunk genre. There is a knock-on effect.


Filed under Feminism, Science, Steampunk, Steampunk Feminist, Steampunk Themes, Uncategorized, Women in Science

Style – Not of taste, but of good quality


  • a mode of fashion, as in dress, especially good or approved fashion; elegance; smartness.
  • the mode of expressing thought in writing or speaking by selecting and arranging words, considered with respect to clearness, effectiveness, euphony, or the like, that is characteristic of a group, period, person, personality, etc.:
    to write in the style of Faulkner; a familiar style; a pompous, pedantic style.
  • those components or features of a literary composition that have to do with the form of expression rather than the content of the thought expressed.


  • the sense of what is fitting, harmonious, or beautiful; the perception and enjoyment of what constitutes excellence in the fine arts, literature, fashion, etc.
  • the sense of what is seemly, polite, tactful, etc., to say or do in a given social situation.



The Classic Oxford Loafer

There is a current trend to confuse taste and style with quality. The best example I can thing of is fashion; what is currently the style in fashion may not be considered a winner in long term fashion stakes. What I might consider good taste would be very different to what you consider good taste, and yet we could probably agree on what is a classic and quality piece.


Image of Gucci Shoes 2017 from Harper’s Bizarre website.

Now, when I think of Gucci I think of high fashion. But not everything Gucci makes can be considered a classic style that will meet with everyone’s taste. See the interesting item of footwear above, from the 2017 line. You couldn’t pay me enough to wear these shoes. And yet, when I think of Gucci shoes, I tend to think of classic loafers and the like.

Gucci oxford loafers.jpg


Writing is the same. There are fads and fashions in writing, and they change over time. But good quality writing never goes out of style. This is why people still read Charles Dickens, James Barrie, Mary Twain, Mary Shelley, Laura Ingalls Wilder, J. R. R. Tolkien, and their ilk, years after their books were published and they have passed away. They didn’t take any notice of what was fashionable and wrote using their own voices.

Doc Martens

My favourite shoe manufacturer, Dr. Martens.

The thing about good quality is that it is well made, and so it lasts. It is important – to any writer – to always be trying to improve the quality of your prose. You might be telling the worlds greatest story, but it will do you no good if your writing is disjointed and impenetrable. You can’t build a castle in the air with uncut stone and mud.

If you are worried that your prose isn’t clear and easy-to-read, I suggest hunting down a few online courses in grammar. There is no shame in wanting to be the very best writer that you can be!

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