Friday, August 31, 2012

Early Bird Prize Winner---Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls!

Announcing the winner of the early bird prize!

What's that you say? The winner is....

Rafael Fabre!

Congratulations, my friend!  

What's that...sighs of disappointment from the masses? There are loads more prizes to be won! Stay tuned for our next draw, running the entire month of September!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Save Tesla's Lab

         You may have noticed the name “Tesla” trending on twitter lately, or heard something about the campaign to save his lab. Unfortunately many people still don’t know who Nikola Tesla was. Let’s put it this way. If it weren’t for Tesla, you wouldn’t be on this blog, you would be reading a book by candle light. So who is this Tesla we speak of, and what has he got to do with steampunk?

            Here at the Punkettes, we love our mad inventors, and Nikola Tesla was the father of mad inventors. He was also responsible for a huge amount of the technology we’re using today.

           Unfortunately, Tesla had one recurring theme in his life aside from brilliance. He got screwed over. Again and again. You’ve all heard of Thomas Edison, yes? He was the main culprit for plenty of Tesla’s suffering. For a little while Tesla worked for Edison. Edison promised him a huge sum of money if he fixed the problems with his direct current generators and motors. Tesla did it, spending hours and hours of his time and brain power. When he asked for money, Edison laughed at him. Tesla quit and ended up digging ditches for two dollars a day.

           At the time Edison was attempting to package and sell his direct current and when he heard Tesla was working on an alternate current electrical system, he ran a smear campaign that consisted of hiring kids to steal people’s pets and displaying them in his lab. He would then electrocute the pets in front of everyone, in an attempt to show them that Tesla’s current wasn’t safe for the home. What a stand-up guy!

            Ever hear of Robert A.Watson-watt? He was credited for RADAR. Want to know who came up with the idea eighteen years earlier? You guessed it! Tesla pitched it to the military at the height of world war one. The head of the R&D for the US Navy shot the idea down. Can you guess who that was? Thomas Edison! He keeps popping up like a bad penny.

            How about the name Marconi? He’s famous for inventing radio. What most people don’t know is that all his work was based on Tesla’s.

 Wilhelm Rontgen claimed to invent the XRAY. Only wait, who invented it before he did? Are you seeing a pattern here?

Other amazing discovers of Tesla include: Building the first hydroelectric plant at Niagara Falls, experimenting with cryogenic engineering half a century before invention, being the first to record radio waves from space, discovering the resonant frequency of the earth, the modern electric motor, wireless communications. Also, Tesla built an earthquake machine that nearly took out an entire New York city block when it was turned on! Mad inventor? I think so!

The case is simple. Tesla was simply a genius in the wrong time. He was a revolutionary. Back then, people weren’t interested in revolution. Like Edison, they just wanted something they could package and sell. Tesla wasn’t aggressive enough, he wasn’t mean enough, so he got ripped off repeatedly.

Over the course of his life, Tesla held over one hundred patents. He spoke eight different languages and was able to memorize entire books. He lived to the old age of eighty-six, and was celibate all his life because he was too wrapped up in his work. Sadly, he died alone and broke in a hotel room. He is said to have been quite mad, apparently firmly convinced that he was in love with one of the pigeons he often fed in the morning.

Now, his final life’s work, is up for sale. Wardenclyffe, his lab in Shorehan, New York. There he tried to build a tower that would provide free wireless energy for the world. The project was never completed, since the man funding it realized there would be no way to harness it and make money from it.

Now people are finally starting to recognize Tesla and everything he did for the world. There’s a valiant effort to save up enough money to purchase the lab and turn it into a museum. BUT, there's another offer on the land. Someone who wants it for retail! Someone who wants to tear down his lab and stick another strip mall in the spot. We cannot let it happen! Who needs another mall? We want a museum! Finally his life’s work would be honoured. And it’s about time.

Donate three dollars:

Saturday, August 11, 2012


Many Steampunk, Clockpunk and Dieselpunk Vendors, Authors and Bloggers from around the world have banded together to launch THE PUNKETTES. The month of September will be our grande opening and we will be handing out over $1000.00 worth of punk-worthy prizes! Stop back in and you can be one of the many winners!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Why I Write Dieselpunk

The short version: I'm sick and tired of medieval Europe.

I'm probably pretty different from a lot of the people hopping on the Steampunk bandwagon right now, who love the gadgets, the fashion, the retrofuturism. But that's not what I like about Dieselpunk.

I came to Dieselpunk first through the Final Fantasy series, and the first one I ever played was Final Fantasy VIII, followed by Final Fantasy VII. Both are very Dieselpunk, and while I didn't have a word for it at the time, my first reaction is “this is so...different.”

Then I got to Final Fantasy IX, and I hated that one. I've realized I don't like Steampunk for the sake of the steam – it was the story that was lackluster, and without a story, you've got nothing.

Moving on to Final Fantasy VI (III in the US originally), and it's back to the mashup of technology and magic that drew me to the series in the first place.

And I think that's where my love of Dieselpunk really comes from – that juxtaposition of elements that don't seem like they should mix. Because anything goes, really. (Which is why I laugh at people trying to pigeonhole Steampunk and it's relatives.) You don't have to be doing something retro, you can do secondary world and make up you own whole world, and it doesn't have to be permanently stuck in the dark ages. I have multiple times looked at a story I'm working on and gone “You know what this story needs? A giant mechanical dragon.”

Or a mechanical tiger, or spider, or a character with a mechanical arm after it's amputated. Or a giant flying aircraft carrier. And how does it work? Powered by magic, of course.

So you can take that “you know what would be awesome?” and bridge that gap in suspension of disbelief with your fantasy element.
                  -Lindsay Kitson, The Dieselpunkette

Sunday, August 5, 2012

50 Shades of Grey in Clockpunk!

Presenting the Watchmaker's Lady by Heather Massey

Writing 4 out of 5 ☆ 
Level of Clockpunk- 

As some of you know I’ve been writing my own Clockpunk series so of course I wanted to check out other Clockpunk books on the market. In my searching I stumbled upon this little beauty.

First let’s get the best part[my opinion ;)] out of the way—Do I recommend this book? Sure!

Was it all I expected it to be? No, unfortunately not. The reason is [in my opinion] it did not focus enough on clockpunk to be a Clockpunk book. It is a historical romance with pieces of clockpunk and steampunk mixed in.
The Watchmakers Lady is comparable to 50 shades as it has some kinky, not normal sex in it. So if you don’t like that type of thing this is probably the book to avoid. If I had known about it before I started would I still have read it? Yeah probably, but for the clocks you sicko’s not the …well you know. The book had a great pace for the first two thirds then it all of a sudden jumped into high speed. My guess is because smaller word count is what publishers are looking for so the author had to shorten her work. To me it seemed to do an injustice to the book overall but please support the author and be the judge for yourself. I give the book 4 out of 5 and for how much of it is Clockpunk, well other than the guy being a watchmaker and his girlfriend a high functioning clockwork automaton not much. The clothing and environment are Victorian inspired, which some of you know I find better fits with Steampunk books than Clockpunk(see intro to Clockpunk page). So because of the above reasons I rank this book a 7 o’clock out of 12 potential o'clocks! If you like historical fiction and you like 50 shade's of Grey you will like this book!
-Rebecca Sky, The Clockpunkette

Authors synopsis;

Matthew Goddard is a lonely watchmaker in 1840, New England. One fateful day, he discovers the lover of his dreams in a dusty corner of the local general store--Isabel, a bisque porcelain mannequin head with mesmerizing, smoky blue eyes. When Matthew invites her to come live with him, she eagerly "accepts."

The couple embarks on a lust-filled affair, one fueled by Matthew's wild imagination. In order to provide Isabel with a brass body and pretty clothes, he begins a secret side business selling clockwork sex toys to his wealthy female customers.

Danger, however, threatens their idyllic romance when a disgruntled customer exposes Matthew's forbidden business to the townspeople. Despite the growing menace, Matthew will stop at nothing in order to save his soul mate--and protect their love.

On Steampunk, Jules Verne and the General Squishiness of Octopuses

            Why the Octopus – Origins:
                It seems like everywhere you look steampunk octopuses are popping up. You’ve got cephalopod inspired jewelry, clothing, sculptures and drawings. Why has the octopus become the unofficial mascot of the steampunk world? It certainly has a lot to do with Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. The book was inspired by an alleged incident between a French naval vessel and a giant squid.

 Lovecraft was also octopus obsessed it would seem. The creation of his terrifying monster “Cthulhu” was heavily octopus influenced. These two writers are very central to the steampunk culture, so you don’t have to be Nancy Drew to make the connection.

                Some people will tell you it’s not the Octopus, but the Kraken that takes the name of mascot. The Kraken is much more adventure oriented then its counterpart. It’s larger, scarier and it sinks ships and eats soldiers. Tales of the Kraken originated sometime in the 12th century, when Norwegian seafarers reported attacks from giant, tentacled sea monsters. The stories were likely greatly exaggerated, as they were reported to be “as big as islands” and people claimed to have seen them wrap their tentacles around large man-of-war ships and pull them to the bottom.  The tales became less common as time went on, but attacks by giant squids were still reported as late as world war two (apparently at least one soldier was eaten).

                Steampunk seems to concentrate less on high seas drama and more on airships, so the genre has come up with the fearsome “air kraken” just to keep things balanced.
                So who exactly is the official mascot? The Kraken, the giant squid or the octopus?
Since steampunk is about breaking the rules, there probably never will be an “official” one, so pick what you want. Whichever creature you prefer, as long as it’s sufficiently slimy and packing tentacles.

Prime Candidate…
There are other reasons that steampunks favor the octopus. They really are neat creatures. Not only are they wonderful to look at, with their squirmy tentacles and big, black eyes, they’re smart. Steampunk is about invention, innovation, creating your own solutions and just…creating.  And cephalopods are some of the most inventive creatures that live. Did you know an octopus will collect the empty coconut halves that fall in the water? After he gets one he’ll scoop it underneath himself and sit in it, effectively creating a little boat that he floats along in, propelling himself along with his tentacles. He takes the shell home and drops it off, and then he goes back for another half. When he’s got both halves back to his place, he sits back down in the shell and places the other half on top, giving himself protection while he takes a snooze. Not only that, but the squishy little guys have the ability to learn. In studies the octopus has proven its adaptability, not only learning how to open a plastic box to get the crab inside, but learning from simply watching his buddy do it. Some humans aren’t even that smart.

                The Eyes Have It:
                It’s not all about looks, but the octopus sort of just looks steampunk, with his big, goggle-like eyes, sticky cups and multi-use tentacles. It’s hard to think of anything else in the animal kingdom that’s more unique than that! Try looking up videos of them, watch them cruise along the ocean floor, or wrap their arms around an unsuspecting diver in a giant hug. Don’t you wish you had eight arms?

                And so…
                In conclusion, the steampunks have adopted the octopus for a multitude of reasons. It may have begun with Verne and Lovecraft, but has continued on due to its innate curiosity and inventiveness, which the steampunk community admires and relates to.

                                                                                                     -Erin Latimer, the Steampunkette