Clockwork Alchemy is here!

Clockwork Alchemy is San Jose’s steampunk con and it takes place every Memorial Day weekend (for those not in the US, that’s the last full weekend in May).  That means now!

It actually started today, and I got there just in time to set up my table in “Authors’ Row” to sell my book, To Rule the Skies.  Clockwork has a fairly strong authors panel track, and they gave me the encouragement to write and publish my book. I read a short excerpt from the book at the Book Launching Party this evening and it went over well.

I’m also giving three presentations–“Building Victoria”, about Victorian engineers, “Beyond Darwin”, in which I present the stories of several Victorian age scientists (but NOT Darwin or Tesla), and “The Technology of Steampunk”, reviewing the immense technological changes that occurred during the 19th Century.  Perhaps I’ll expand some of the information into future blog posts!

Whew!  I hope I get a chance to see some of the musical groups, and the Artist’s Bazaar!

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The American Widow’s Walk: Explaining Victorian-era Architecture for Steampunk Writers – Part One

An Old House Idiosyncracy from the Cogpunk Steamscribe blog

Cogpunk Steamscribe

Located in Oak Bluffs (East coast), featured on an episode of This Old House, via Flickr. Wrap around porch and a widow's walk on the roof.

The Widow’s Walk is mainly found on Northern American Victorian-era architecture, though there are examples in other countries. It is called the Widow’s Walk because it is supposedly a place from where wives could keep an eye out for their husbands’ ships. However, since their are many examples of this architectural feature on inland houses without a glimpse of the sea, this is most likely a fabrication.

The Gothic flavour of this myth has all the earmarks of the Victorian obsession with sentimentality:  the patience of the faithful wife; the possibility of lost love; the implied promise of the husband’s return; the gloomy yet poetic name. It was also another excuse to add gingerbread and fretwork to ornament the house; which I suspect was the real reason behind the design and construction of the Widow’s Walk. The classic Widow’s Walk is an ornately fenced rooftop platform often with a enclosed cupola, painted in contrasting colours to the rest of the house…

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Fascinating Early Motion Pictures of London

The link below is to an amazing video from Yestervid.com of early motion pictures of London, including the oldest (a view of Trafalgar Square) as well as the earliest recording, on Edison wax cylinder, of the chimes of the Clock Tower.

As interesting as it is to see how much has changed in London over the 100-plus years since most of these motion pictures were taken, it is equally interesting to see how much has not changed.

Also great reference for period costumes!

Yestervid.