Clockwork Angel – Cassandra Clare with a little steampunk

The Good Reading Magazine on 06-Aug-2010 published an interview with author Cassandra Clare. We enjoyed her young adult series The Mortal Instruments and it has been on bestseller lists so her readership is large. In this interview she talks to about her latest book, Clockwork Angel. This is part of a trilogy called The Infernal Devices, which is a prequel to The Mortal Instruments trilogy, follows 16-year-old orphan Tessa Fell through Victorian London. Reading information about this new book there are mentions of steampunk technology sitting alongside her fantasy figures and, for me, this will add a new and interesting dimension to her story.

From the interview we also find out that Cassandra has recently finished writing a pure steampunk story for an anthology called Steampunk! An Anthology of Fantastically Rich and Strange Stories which is coming out soon.

By using all these digital resources I have learnt quite a bit about the book already and they have certainly piqued my interest. The Infernal Devices site alone is interesting and has a lot about the first title and places for information about the others already set up. This is all great publicity for the new book and I am looking forward to buying and reading it. The sites will be great to show our students and aspects of the way the publicity has been presented can be replicated by libraries to enhance and advertise their resources.

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Richard Harland on writing and Steampunk

  Steampunk Clockwork Spider Brass and Cop by Catherinette Rings Steampunk, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic License  by  Catherinette Rings Steampunk  

Another post about Steampunk (More thoughts on Steampunk and Alternate History) has written by Richard Harland (author of Worldshaker) and posted on the Ripping Ozzie Reads Blog. I came across it last week when I was looking for sites supporting reading and writing. Richard Harland has a site devoted to giving out free tips for aspiring writers, and he offers  Australian, US and British versions. I have only looked at the Australian tips. 

In the ROR post he muses about writing in the steampunk sub-genre. He discusses fantasy, alternate history, points of divergence from history as we know it (which he callsPODs) and tries to identify an era. I particularly like the discussion about alternate histories and that he encourages writers to think up some creative and different ways diverging from some that have begun to be a bit passe. The images he used to illustrate his post are of some amazing steampunk USB’s. There are really some very inventive and clever people out there! 

This is not the first time Richard has written about Steampunk. On his Worldshaker site he posted a definition here. Richard’s sites are worth looking at if you are interested in many aspects of writing, not just steampunk.

I can’t resist adding 2 more images. The first is a steampunk phone and the second came about as I was looking for some images for Dr Who. It turned up in a post on the  Brass Googles site.

NB I used imagecodr to embed the 1st 2 images from Flickr 

Steampunk Mobile Phone by urban don, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License  by  urban don  

Steampunk Dalek (Alex Holden)

Useful sites (weekly)

Steampunk revisited

I have always read science fiction so over the years that adds up to a lot of books. There have always been sub-genres to this very broad category. I have often been asked to explain the science fiction genre and its history to students.

The sub-genre that has taken off in the last few years is Steampunk. I have really enjoyed the novels in this branch of science fiction. A number of books that can be labelled as “Steampunk” have been around for a while the book that has brought Steampunk to a greater audience in our library is Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan series.

The videos below offer a good explanation if you have not investigated Steampunk before.

A video made about machines from a Steampunk Museum exhibition (Oxford) highlighted the beautiful design and craftsmanship in them

We want to create a library display about Steampunk and try to show a lot more students  the books that make up this genre. We approached one of our Visual arts teachers and we will have some Year 7 student work to display later this term as well as our own 2-dimensional images for wall displays and a large screen to put on videos and other digital images.

An interesting article “Steampunk: 20 core titles” to read available in  the Library journal.com

Good Reads also has a number of links to Steampunk books and discussion. One is called “Best steam punk books” and here some have included the Monster Blood Tattoo series and Incarceron (Incarceron, #1) by  Catherine Fisher

Steampunk fiction that we have in our library includes:

Books that we decided cross over into the Steampunk genre include:

Classic novels that pre-dated the term “Steampunk”:

Both of these are available on-line as e-books and audio books as well as still being in print.

There are many artists creating very interesting and wonderful works in the genre and many can be found on the sites below.

Keith Thompson (the illustrator for Westerfeld’s Leviathan series) is also well worth a look

Links to sites

  • Links to sites on a post I wrote last year about Steampunk sites are here
  • How to draw steampunk machines“The purpose of this web page is not to teach you how to draw. I will not be going though the technique, perspective, color, line weight, software, or any of the stuff  you can easily surf up. This page is to inform artists who want to draw steampunk machines but don’t quite understand how steam works. The focus is to add enough elements to your drawings, to make your steampunk machines more believable.’
  •  SteamPunk magazine  – The magazine is a publication that is dedicated to promoting steampunk as a culture, more than a sub-category of fiction. It is a journal of fashion, music, misapplied technology and chaos as well as fiction. Back issues can be downloaded as PDFs.
  • Steampunk Home  – Sara Brumfield’s blog about steampunk design. Many ideas of steampunk furniture to decorate your home
  • The Antipodean League of Temporal Voyagers – Australian Steampunk blog
  • Antipodean Steampunk Adventures  – Australian steampunk blog.
  • The Steampunk librarian blog – Librarian blog specialising in all things Steampunk
  • Brass Goggles – A blog that celebrates the lighter side of steampunk
  • Steampod For readers who enjoy podcasts. Appreciate Steampod where you can listen to audio stories and interviews.

Steampunk links

Since first hearing about Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan about 6 months before it was published I have been looking up more information about the “steampunk” concept, trying to get a better understanding of the literature that has been classed as “steampunk”. The Steampunk librarian’s blog is an interesting site to read that gives you many links to all things “steampunk” as is the blog Steampunks links. Recently the later site highlighted art by James Ng. I really liked his artwork but it has information about many other visually interesting sites as well .

Another  site I really like is The Steampunk Workshop. It has some great posts and offers all sorts of interesting ideas and projects. Working in a school populated by teenage boys, it is a great site to get their attention. There are links to many things”steampunk”, from links to literature and reviews, projects, technical links , ephemera (that includes all manner of things that have caught the author’s attention) and even music.

The projects the author, Jake Von Slatt, takes on, ranging from the Steampunk keyboard to the Victorian camper to the Victorian PC, are amazing. I am not sure how he thinks up his ideas but as this photo is from a post about creating a “steampunk” PC  it is all quite fascinating. 

Steampunk PC

This is a comprehensive site that also features many other people’s works and anything else the author discovers. It is a good site to keep tabs on to get solid overview of whatever is happening in the steampunk community.

Mortal Engines and Leviathan

Below is not a book trailer but Kenneth Branagh reading an extract from the novel, Mortal Engines. It would be a good way to introduce new students to the book (and the others from the series).

A few posts ago I wrote about opening lines. How about the first line in Mortal Engines? “It was a dark, blustery afternoon in spring, and the city of London was chasing a small mining town across the dried-out bed of the old North Sea.”

This is a great YA novel and one that quite a lot of our students have enjoyed. Like the newly published Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld, this is a steampunk novel and it could be enjoyed by both younger and older readers.

It is a world where cities are built on axles or treads, the number of tiers the city has determines its place on the food chain, and London, even though it has been skulking in the wastelands, is high up there. One of the first cities to take to the treads, it has determined, like a shark, to keep moving, and to keep moving it needs to chase down prey — smaller cities and towns — and consume them. (Part of a  review by Cindy Lynn Speer on the SF Site)

And the Leviathan Trailer, created entirely from Keith Thompson’s art from the book. I am looking forward to reading this novel after buying it just the other day.