Portrait of Michael Faraday, by Thomas Phillips, 1842. If I were to guess, I’d say the apparatus on the left is a battery.
Michael Faraday, as I hope to convince you by the end of this blog post, was not only the most famous scientist of the Victorian Era, but quite possibly the scientist most responsible for the technological advances that have been achieved since. And considering his humble origins, possibly the least likely to have done so.
After reading the paragraph above, it should come as no surprise that Michael Faraday is my favorite scientist. As an electrochemist, my work owes much–no, everything!–to the discoveries that he made. And so, it was probably inevitable that Faraday would have a cameo appearance in my steampunk adventure novels. Little did I know when I started writing that he would end up being one of the main characters in the book that I just launched, The Secret Notebook of Michael Faraday. While writing in the steampunk genre allows one to bend the truth a bit (as far as I know Faraday did not keep a secret lab notebook), I have endeavoured to depict Faraday for the most part truthfully. His life is sufficiently interesting that it needs little embellishment from me.
I’m happy to announce that Chapter 1 of my new book “The Secret Notebook of Michael Faraday” is being featured on the Steampunk Journal website. You can find it here.
While you’re there, check out the rest of the steampunky goodness on their site!
I am happy to announce that my second book, The Secret Notebook of Michael Faraday, is now available!
This novel is the second I’ve written in the Airship Flamel Adventures series, but is actually a prequel of my first novel, To Rule the Skies. When I wrote that book, I came to the realization that I was starting in the middle of Professor Nicodemus Boffin’s story. This new book tells some of his history. Here’s the synopsis:
Nicodemus Boffin rose from a boyhood in the ash heaps of East London to reach the pinnacles of British science when he is mentored by the great scientist, Michael Faraday. When Boffin finds a secret laboratory notebook in which Faraday has described incomprehensible experiments, Nicodemus wonders if Professor Faraday has discovered a new science, or has lost his faculties. Nicodemus’s rival, Viscount Whitehall-Barnes, seeks to gain the notebook by any means necessary to study the descriptions of a strange orange mineral with unusual properties which he believes is the alchemists’ Philosopher’s Stone. Realizing that the Viscount must never learn the secrets of the orange stone, Nicodemus takes action to keep the knowledge hidden, protect his family, and preserve the legacy of his mentor.
Besides telling the story of how Nicodemus Boffin grows from a poor but uncommonly clever boy in the slums of London to the forefront of Victorian British science, the novel features pompous aristocracy, a surprisingly capable laboratory assistant, and snarky air pirates. Several Illustrious Personages may wander through the story as well.
The Secret Notebook of Michael Faraday is available in paperback and Kindle format at Amazon, and in many other ebook formats at Smashwords.
Do you like steampunk and cliffhangers? Adventure and intrigue? Dragons and Sasquatches? Then you’ll like the forthcoming anthology Thirty Days Later, Steaming Forward: 30 Adventures in Time, featuring pairs of stories by favorite steampunk authors who have appeared at the Clockwork Alchemy steampunk convention!
Thinking Ink Press is proud to announce we will publish Thirty Days Later in time for Clockwork Alchemy this Memorial Day. Edited by AJ Sikes, BJ Sikes, and Dover Whitecliff, Thirty Days Later is the sequel to the steampunk anthology Twelve Hours Later: 24 Tales of Myth and Mystery, a charity anthology to promote California literacy programs, and Thinking Ink Press is proud to donate half the royalties of Thirty Days Later to promote literacy.
I’m honored to be included in this year’s anthology. My stories involve a Victorian astronomer who makes a world-changing discovery. Or does he? Only his more sensible assistant knows for sure. Or does she?
Thirty Days Later will launch at Clockwork Alchemy in San Jose, CA over the Memorial Day weekend. Stay tuned for more news!
I’ve always admired countries that put figures other than national political leaders on their currency. The UK £20 note featured the great scientist Michael Faraday for a while in the 1990s and in pre-Euro days, Galileo was on the Italian 2000 lire note. Apparently Jane Austen is scheduled to appear on a UK £10 note next year. The closest that the US has gotten is Benjamin Franklin on our $100 bill. While Dr. Franklin was a noted scientist of his day, he is featured on US currency because he was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States.
It was not always so, however. Continue reading
I ran across this graphic which describes the origins (and typical toxicity) of many materials that have been used across the centuries as dyes and pigments. (What’s the difference between a dye and a pigment, you say? Simply put, a dye imparts color to a substrate (cloth, hair, etc.) while a pigment consists of particles which are mixed into a carrier and coated onto a substrate (think paint.))
In any case, it’s an interesting stroll through arsenic-laced wallpaper, heavy metals, and ground-up mummies, leading to purple mauveine, the first synthetic dye, whose discovery by Joseph Perkin in 1856 started organic chemical synthesis–which itself leads to the modern pharmaceutical and chemical industries.
I hadn’t heard of the web comic before–Veritable Hokum–but it describes itself as “a comic about mostly history, maybe science, and possibly some other stuff too.”–so right up my alley. I foresee binge reading of its archives in my near future.