Steampunk pioneer by Larisa Glushakova

Check out more beautiful art by Larisa Glushakova.

 

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Steampunk, and Disney, and Marvel, Oh My!

I stumbled upon something quite interesting on Twitter, on Wednesday.  The nerdy powerhouse, Geek & Sundry started a Twitter tag chat thing (still learning my terms…) #ComicChat with writer Jim Zub, about a fun looking comic called Figment, that will be released this summer.

Doesn’t that image just inspire curiosity?  The story of this 5-part comic will center around two characters from a Disney Epcot ride, Journey Into Imagination, called Figment and Dreamfinder.  I’ve never been to the park myself, but these two look wonderfully interesting.

According to the Disney Wikia: “Dreamfinder was a character created by Walt Disney Imagineering. He created Figment, a tiny royal purple dragon made of two tiny wings, big yellow eyes, horns of a steer, the body of a lizard and a nose of a crocodile, plus a dash of childish delight. He teaches Figment about the wonders of imagination and takes riders along through all of Figment’s overdone splendors in his machine’s Idea Bag.”

As Jim said on Twitter, this comic “has an Oz, Little Nemo, fantastical steampunk approach.”  To which I reply, shut up and take my money!  As little info as there is on this comic, I’m already stoked and can’t wait to follow the adventures of Figment, the child-like purple dragon, and Dreamfinder, the “steampunk stud” as Jim called him.

Jim was nice enough to answer all sorts of interesting questions with the #ComicChat tag.  He’s a well established writer, with many a comic under his belt.  Check out his site for writing tutorials, FAQs about the comic industry, and more!  You can even read some of his digital comics on comixology.com.  He recommends Skullkickers.

As for the artist, Filipe Andrade has worked with Marvel on loads of different comics.  You can find more information on him on his blog.  And here’s one of my favorite images from one of his other projects.

All in all, this comic looks nothing but good.  Follow @JimZub on Twitter, or keep an eye on this blog for updates.  I’m sure I’ll be doing a review as soon as I get my own copy.

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Are you an author who loves Steampunk as much as I do?   Or, are you just a big big fan of a Steampunk/Neo-Victorian author?  Would you like to see  your favorite book, or your own book, featured on this blog?  Please leave a comment on this post with a short pitch and a link!   I’ll happily feature anything that I think will fit the style of my blog.  And even if I don’t feature it, please please leave your info in a comment anyway!  Who doesn’t love new books?

You need to see Tai Chi Zero

So, my Dad casually mentioned that he found a fun looking Chinese movie on Netflix.  My Dad has a tendency to try out movies on a whim, sometimes finding Asylum movies or things that he turns off after 10 minutes, and sometimes finding gold.  If the movie is no good, we can always just switch over to the Catherine Tate Show or re-watch an old Black Books episode to enjoy the rest of our evening.

On this occasion, as with so many others, we settled in for a cozy evening of movie and snacks, innocently unaware of what we were about to watch.  The movie started in the middle of an epic war between a huge army and a single man with a magical horn.  That got my attention.  Then the guy with the top hat, the phonograph, and the giant steam-powered tank  showed up, and I turned to my Dad in shock. “This is steampunk kung-fu?  That’s a thing?”

That’s right, it’s a story about a young man who wants to learn the most powerful fighting style in the land, with a backdrop of beautiful,  late 1800s, rural China.  And it’s steampunk.  It’s a delicious combo that I suddenly realized I hadn’t seen before.  So much of steampunk is either set in London or desolate and dusty patches of America, that I found it a real treat to see all my favorite steamy fun a different setting, and in a different culture.

The whole thing is delightfully goofy.  The characters were charming, the action is great and often comedic, the settings were lovely, and the true villains were excess and the future itself.  If you like kung-fu movies, you’ll like this one.  If you’re a steampunk, you’ll like this movie.  If you like to see the little guy fight for traditions and truth in the face of a greedy and corrupt future, you will like this movie.  If you like cute and bantering rom-coms, you’ll like this movie.  Even if you just like goofiness for the sake of goofiness, you won’t be disappointed.  There really is something for everyone!  And for me, it was a lovely surprise as well.

Most critics gave this movie a 6, but I like off-beat things.  If I were a movie reviewer type, I’d give this fun little find at least an 8.5 out of 10.  Sure, it’s not Serenity level movie watching perfection, but it’s fun, silly, and entertaining throughout.  So, if you’re looking for something fun to watch tonight, go stream Tai Chi Zero on Netflix.  There’s even a sequel!  I haven’t seen it myself yet, but the story continues with Tai Chi Hero.

What’s you’re favorite Steampunk movie?  Leave a comment and let me know!  But if you say The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, then I will all throw things at you and call you names.

Picture Day: Bjorn Hurri’s Steampunk Star Wars.

There’s a lot of Steampunk Star Wars images and sculptures out there.  I’ve seen some fun cosplay too.  Today I’m going to treat you to my favorite version, with the art of Bjorn Hurri.  Click any image for enlargements and source pages.

      

      

      

What’s your favorite version of Steampunk Star Wars?  Drop a link or an image (site the artist if you can, please) down in the comments!

And may the steam be with you.

Top 10 Bizarre Victorian Inventions

This is someone else’s article, but I’m sharing because it made me giggle.

We all know that the Victorians could be a bit silly from time to time, and here are 10 great examples of that.  From mechanical stamp lickers, and automatic  smoking machines, to a Spherical Velocipede (which I totally want), there is something goofy for everyone!  Enjoy.

Top 10 Bizarre Victorian Inventions

Did this list not include your favorite silly inventions from the era?   Leave a comment and share it!

Editing your own work… the horror…

I usually do a book review on the 3rd Sunday of the month, but this time I thought I’d talk a little bit about the nasty business of reviewing one’s own work.  It’s the hardest part of publishing for me, but certainly one of the more important.  Over the years I’ve tried lots of different ways to go about it.

I’ve used online checkers like Grammarly (even their plagiarism checker because, as Tesla would say, no one likes an idea-stealing-Edison, unintentional or otherwise) which work well but take time on large word-counts.  I’ve tried asking intelligent friends to read my work and look for errors, and found that they tend to miss things in the really exciting bits.  I’ve asked English professors to comb through my verbiage, and found that they really don’t know how to read non-essays.  I’ve used Spell Checker and swore at the screen when it told me ‘Twist” shouldn’t be capitalized for the 1000th time.  I’ve gone over the work myself for the 10th time, and been amazed I didn’t notice that on the 7th run through.  In the pits of desperation, I’ve looked for professional editors and swooned at the prices. (usually around $3000 for each of my books)

In the end, I find myself glaring at my doc file with Gollum-like adoration and loathing, honestly wondering if I speak English at all.  Some things work, others work better, but Gaiman’s Law remains true: “Being handed the first copy of a book you wrote, if there’s one typo, it will be on the page that your new book falls open to the first time you pick it up…”

I don’t believe in no-win situations.  I find that the only way to deal with a brick wall in your way is to fake it out.  Glance away, pretend it doesn’t bother you, and then rush it when it least expects it.  I tried ALL of the above listed attempts to edit my first book, and worked out a method that actually kind of works.  If, like me, you’re too broke for a professional, then give this a try.

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