Friday, 18 January 2008

Online Steampunk Resources: 'The Heliograph' and 'Gothic Steam Phantastic'

Following a recent posting on this blog by MCG, I followed his link and it took me to a wonderful steampunk magazine: 'The Heliograph' which was produced for a number of editions in 1996. I recommend you take a look as it has some wonderful steampunk images and fascinating short stories for passing the time when you are in a steampunk frame-of-mind in front of your computer. The link is:

P.P. Since posting this link, I have come across another resource entitled 'The Heliograph' (making the third one I have heard of with that name, the other being a magazine about wargaming colonial era wars) which is the title of a blog which covers a whole range of steampunk themes as well as information about actual Victorian history for useful reference and has loads of interesting links to follow up. A lot of it is about a steampunk community in Second Life making my inability to get my avatar in there in any decent shape and particularly in the Goth lord with steampunk gear that I wanted, even more frustrating. Anyway its URL is:

While discussing online steampunk resources can I suggest you also have a look at Gothic Steam Phantastic which is a forum for discussion about steampunk and is a good place for references to ideas, books, films, etc. in the steampunk genre. It seems to be run by Dutch and German fans but the bulk of postings are in English. My 'The Grey Commission' was first posted there and there is occasional short fiction located there. The link is:

While I am thinking about such things you may also enjoy 'Transactions of the Royal Martian Geographical Society' which was produced 1991-2000 in support of the role-playing game 'Space 1889'. It envisaged Victorian explorers of the solar system with imperial battles transposed to Mars. There are editions available online in a wonderful style reminiscent of 'The First Men in the Moon' by H.G. Wells (1901). It can be found at the following link: The company which produced this now concentrates on 'Zeppelin Age' which is a proposed role-playing game set in the 1920s and 1930s but where airships have been more successful, what I might term 'bakelitepunk'. This link is:

I have just encountered Brass Goggles which bills itself as a looking at 'the lighter side of Steampunk'. It has a good watching brief on examples of steampunk in our modern day culture in visual, video and written media, plus events, from the UK, USA, Europe and farther afield and has wonderful images which may inspire your own steampunk activities. See:

I came across another slightly different one which envisages superheros appearing on Earth in the 1880s and distorting the history of the world as we know it in terms of countries, technology, etc. as viewed from the alternate 1994. It is called 'Overman 1994' and was apparently inspired by a rather steampunk story which ran as a serial as part of 'The Two Ronnies' comedy show:

Another resource supporting a game is the Castle Falkenstein site. It has a lot of interesting resources about things like aerial, land and air vehicles, wars, countries, secret societies, currency, medals and the role of women in a Victorian alternate world setting of 1870, apparently for a role-playing game of the same name, which I must confess I had never encountered. I was interested to find that a character from the CSA I am using in a story I am writing is also listed here. Lots of interest and inspiration for steampunk fiction:

P.P.P. - 22/02/2009. The Gothic Phantastic site seems to be a little moribund these days, but a more vigorous steampunk website is The Smoking Lounge, which appears to be associated with a journal too. It has discussion boards of the kind of the Gothic Phatastic site has about all sorts of steampunk media and culture:

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