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Saturday, November 6, 2010


Magnet #988 - My Other Car

I like to think that I'm open to new things, new ideas, new experiences.

Ok, I like to think that I try to be open to new things, new ideas, new experiences. So when I see or hear of things that I feel like I should know about, I try and explore it. Or, at least dip a toe.

My latest fascination is the Steampunk culture. For those who aren't quite sure what it is, according to a couple of sources, it's basically an era or alt world where steam power's the main source of energy - usually around latter 1800s (Victorian, my absolute fave period of history), with a huge dose of science fiction/fantasy.

And, from what I've gathered so far, it also includes airships, gas masks (presumably to ward off steam pollution), clockworks, parasols, shiny buttons and shiny metal, and very cool goggles. No, really. I'm all about the goggles. WANT.

The reason steampunk ever came up in the first place, is because @jane_l or @smartbitches, can't remember which, said that Meljean Brook's The Iron Duke was so good, that they were ready to buy a copy off of Amazon for three followers, asap. That's a helluva recommendation for me.

But since then, I keep running into it everywhere I turn.

They were at Comic-Con, not enough to make me think it was a thing, but enough to say to myself, goggles.

Then someone (probably @Syfy) Tweeted about Riese: Kingdom Falling, a web series from Syfy.

I also went to Lady Jane's Salon, where authors read their work aloud, at the sexy, red velvet-draped Madame X, and promptly sat down next to the lovely author Stella Price, who gave me her marketing packet which included this supercool sticker magnet.

A friend of mine's assistant dressed up as a Steampunk Librarian for Halloween. Same friend's assistant reco'd Steamed: A Steampunk Romance by Katie MacAlister.

See? It's ubiquitous. The thing is, every time I try to delve into Steampunk, something holds me back.

I read the free Kindle first chapter of The Iron Duke, and liked the heroine, but had a hard time adapting to the world around her. Then I tried to read a bit of the second chapter in B&N yesterday (and yes, I put the re-shelved the books correctly /pet peeve) to see if it grabbed me, but it didn't. And then last night, I was disturbed to hear that there's a bit of "forced seduction" in it. Which I'm not totally opposed to, when done right. But, I'm afraid I can't get that far. Yet.

Then, because I was already at B&N, I tried reading Steamed, which had gotten quite mixed reviews on Amazon, but I was thrown off by the first person POV, which I really don't like in a romance. I may use a lot of Is in my magnetposts, but it's vastly different than reading a whole romance. Plus, there's the added hurdle of figuring out how to get into the hero's viewpoint. And that's hard to do! I don't know if she did it well, I didn't get to the heroine and the hero's first meeting. Yet.

And then there's Riese: Kingdom Falling. So far, it's the only Steampunk piece holding my attention. I'd like to say it's because of the storyline or acting or the great production values, or the less than 10-minute segments.

The overall storyline's ok, with a pretty cool alt universe. And I'm actually loving the overall production of it, it's nicely done, and I can't even add on "for a web series" to that. It's good. And looks expensive. I will say that I'm having huge troubles with the female voice-over talent - her read feels too audio-book-ish.

If I were honest? The biggest reason I'm still watching Riese, and will keep watching the rest of the series, is because of Riese. And her kick-ass wardrobe. Which includes those much-coveted kick-ass goggles. And bonus! She has a cool cape! And a wolf as her constant companion! Hello, superhero. (It's kind of weird, because I see her and I think Fred, from Angel. Not Amy Acker herself, but Fred, the character.) But, goggles!

So I'm thinking, maybe Steampunk is an acquired taste, like beer. Just because nothing's clicking so far, I'm not ready to give up on it yet.

Clearly, I'm not. Because today, I totally almost walked out of a store with a superduperreallycool Steampunky overcoat. And, were it not for the 17% Wool (in NYC? in the winter?) and 11% Other (what is "Other" and where does it grow?), and the impossibly cuter and more practical coat on the next couple of racks over, I totally would have brought that home and Steampunked that ish up!

Oh! I'd forgotten! There was one other thing! The really good Steampunk episode of Castle!
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vp said...

Yeah the alt world thing is a problem for me with any genre. It has kept me from enjoying fantasy stuff even when it is well done. I find it a bit easier to accept the steampunk alt worlds because they are almost always so Victorian in nature and I love that period.

joy said...

That's why I'm surprised that I'm not soaking the Steampunk genre up - the Victorian period is very much my favorite period ever. I should be predisposed to liking it.

I can deal with alt worlds, but there really is something off for me in Steampunk. I think part of it is that I don't like the half-human, half-clockwork machine quality of it. Like I think it's really cool to see on covers and stuff, but applying it to any of the characters throws me off.