Full of Steam: Random Bits of Brass and Glass

Geek Culture

Charles Babbage, Patron Saint of Steampunk

I’d like to take a short break between steampunk book reviews to point fans to some new stuff, some not so new stuff, and some stuff that’s hard to classify. But don’t worry — tomorrow I’ll close out my Week of Steam with a review of two great books (in a new series) that anyone who calls himself or herself a fan of steampunk absolutely must read. How’s that for a teaser?

It’s a good time to be a steamer… steamie… whatever. Naysayers abound who say that steampunk is heating its last boiler, but I can’t see any real evidence to support that claim. Yes, movies and TV shows may be abusing the genre by jumping on the bandwagon by slapping some cogs on a helmet and painting a Nerf gun with copper-colored paint, but real fans can spot the real efforts versus the quick buck.

I’d like to open this post up to readers to share their own steampunk recommendations — and below are some of my own that I hope you find of interest.

Torchlight 2 — If you’re not familiar with the Diablo-clone Torchlight, you’re in for a real treat. While the game isn’t 100% steampunk, it does have a playable class called the Alchemist who is a goggle-wearing, flintlock-firing hero who could certainly fool you into thinking he’s powered by steam. You’ve probably got just enough time to buy and play the first game before its sequel is released. No release date has been given yet, but my gut tells me we haven’t got much longer to wait as they’ve announced the price ($20, same as Torchlight 1) and released information on the final class (4 in all) at PAX. Interestingly enough, Torchlight 2 has a similar steampunk-ish class called The Engineer who looks like The Alchemist on steroids.

Crimson: Steam Pirates — Today, Bungie is releasing this free app for the iPad. It comes with 8 levels of play with an additional 8 missions available for $1.99. I like that they’re allowing us to play 8 levels to first see if we like it. I’m impressed with what I’m seeing and hearing about the game, and I’ll report back on Friday with a mini-review.

Instructables Steampunk Weekly Contest — a recent (and very short) contest on Instructables invited participants to submit their latest steampunk creations. The site already has a large collection of steam-based projects, and this quick contest added 15 more projects to the mix. I did notice that the latest steam-craze on Instructables seems to be the design and building of lighting mechanisms — all kinds of crazy lamps! Just visit the instructables.com site and enter the word steampunk in the search tool and prepare to spend quite a bit of time browsing. Be sure to check out the Steampunk Mr. Potato Head — one of my favorite projects on the site.

Steamcon III — I wish this was held on the East Coast as there’d be a much better chance of me ever being able to attend. Oh, well. The event is scheduled for October 14-16 in Seattle and this year’s theme is 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Reboot – Speaking of Verne, there’s some recent news about a new movie in the works. The rumors are that it’ll have very little to do with the original story other than the major characters will be included — not sure how I feel about that. But if the movie is made, I have a strong feeling it’ll be brass fittings galore.

Steampunk Office Inspiration — as someone who is desperately gathering ideas and inspiration for my office redesign, I rely heavily on this project from Because We Can — a steampunk inspired office space. It’s not new, and many of you have likely seen it before, but for those of you who haven’t, prepare to be dazzled. It’s amazing. I have a CNC machine, too. And my finger… is on the button.

I could keep going on and on… but I’ll stop here and ask you to share some of your favorite steampunk-related items of interest.

Tomorrow, I’ll finish up my Steampunk Week with a mini-review of the Crimson: Steam Pirates game as well as two of my all-time favorite steampunk books.

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