Sunday, September 30, 2012

Steampunk Summer Winners Announced!

I know you have been patiently waiting... your breath held till you almost passed out, and than a nice person can along a gave you some interesting breathing apparatus, very chic and Steampunk, but that's another story for another day. I'm sure all you want to know is, who won what, so here goes!

The first name drawn was kara-karina (The Janus Affair), the second name drawn was Carrie (Steampunk Bible), the third name drawn was Denise Z (The Leagure of Extraordinary Gentlemen) and whichwaydidshego (Phoenix Rising) was forth. I will update the post later, once I hear from them, with what each of them chose.

Also, check out my newest giveaway, it's totally awesome... not that I'm biased or anything...

Here are the prizes they chose from as a reminder:
*The Steampunk Bible by Jeff Vandermeer
*The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen  by Alan Moore, illustrated by Kevin O'Neill
*The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Book 1: Phoenix Rising Signed and Inscribed to you, by the authors, Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris!
*The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Book 2: The Janus Affair Signed and Inscribed to you, by the authors, Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris!

Sartorial Sundays

What I would like to say before beginning my final Sartorial Sundays post is, that while I am slightly above the novice in costuming, being that I don't just buy off the rack and do do customization, I am still only starting. If you have ever seen the work of a true maker, then you know how much people take this lifestyle to heart. They are amazing and their work reflects that. While I too am a maker at heart, I sadly don't have the time or the skills to reach their level of awesomeness... YET! So take these posts as from a person continuing the journey into Steampunk, who will probably not be a master, but who gives a shout out to and tip of the top hat to those amazing people who are.

Ok, back to me.

So, I actually changed out to a more Victorian skirt, because I found it online and just fell in love with it. As for the basket, I actually found that at Teslacon and it was perfect. Reminds me of something a bee keeper would use... don't ask me why, but it does. Sadly, despite knitting up to the very last minute, I kid you not, it was 5AM of the day I was going to wear this costume, it still didn't fit as a wrap. The reason? Because the lady who designed this pattern is a freakin' midget. I'm not the only one to think so. My friend Amy did one of her patterns and also said it was way short on her too. Amy and I are of similar heights (I'm just shy of 5' 10") and when I tied this on, the back should still rest about your wait/tailbone, and it was seriously the middle of my back. Those who know me well enough know that even though I "finished" it for the con... it's not "finished." I will frog that last line and make this pattern work gosh darn it!

As for the underskirt I spent all that time on, I used two corset clips to layer the back so you could see it underneath, and it was also REALLY comfy to sit on, like your own ass pillow. Sadly, one of the clips died at the ball, which pissed me off, because they weren't exactly cheap, so I couldn't wear this outfit again for the con and went with costume two for the final day.

For the hat I actually made a wide band that snapped so it could be removed from the hat, therefore it didn't damage the hat and made it multi-purpose. Also, best place to store your passport to the con that they check all the time... in your hat band. I also had a lot of fun sewing on little gears and flowers to the band, and unlike the goggles I did, I didn't glue myself to any furniture.

Overall I really like how my costumes turned out and I love that I have enough stuff to mix and match now. Of course for this next year I have even more ambitious plans... it's going to be at Halloween... so I think the minimal is a Steampunk Harry Potter costume...

Friday, September 28, 2012

Just the Beginning...

While I have covered some of my favorite Steampunk authors, they are by no means the only Steampunk authors! This is a genre that is expanding and evolving every day. Like the great YA leap, when authors where trying to finagle their way into that genre, authors are trying to find ways to market to this burgeoning demographic all the time. In fact, my reading list for this summer did overflow with Steampunk books I longed to read and finally get around to. What with that pesky thing called "life" I was unable to even finish much of my list, restricting my reading to just the authors that participated this summer.

I hope that this summer has found a new genre or a new favorite book for you. Perhaps I will do this again next summer with even more authors, what do you say to that? Until then, remember to enter the giveaway, ending Sunday night, and here's some more books to check out, again, these are just books I found interesting, but the list isn't really that accurate or exhaustive a list. Also, I'd love to hear your recommendations too!

Shelley Adina: Lady of Devices, Her Own Devices and Magnificent Devices

Paolo Bacigalupi: The Windup Girl

Jonathan Barnes: The Somnambulist

Cage Baker: The Women of Nell Gwynne's

Frank Beddor: The Looking Glass Wars, Seeing Red and ArchEnemy

Meljean Brook: The Iron Duke, Heart of Steel and Riveted

G.K. Chesterton: The Man Who Was Thursday

Cassandra Clare: Clockwork Angel, Clockwork Prince and Clockwork Princess

Kady Cross: The Girl in the Steel Corset and The Girl in the Clockwork Collar

Gordon Dahlquist: The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters, The Dark Volume and The Chemickal Marriage

Glenn Dakin: The Society of Unrelenting Vigilance and The Society of Dread

Bonnie Dee: Like Clockwork

Kate Elliott: Cold Magic, Cold Fire and Cold Steel

Phil and Kaja Foglio: Girl Genius Comics, Agatha H. and the Airship City and Agatha H. and the Clockwork Princess

O.M. Grey: Avalon Revisited
Clay and Susan Griffith: The Greyfriar, The Rift Walker and The King Makers

M.K. Hosbon: Native Star, Hidden Goddess and The Warlock's Curse

Mark Hodder: The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack, The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man and Expedition to the Mountains of the Moon

Stehphen Hunt: The Court of the Air, The Kingdom Beyond the Waves, The Rise of the Iron Moon, Secrets of the Fire Sea, Jack Cloudie and From the Deep of the Dark

Matthew J. Kirby: The Clockwork Three

Suzanne Lazear: Innocent Darkness

Karin Lowachee: The Gaslight Dogs

Scott Lynch: The Lies of Lock Lamora and Red Seas Under Red Skies

Richard Matheson: I Am Legend

Andrew P. Mayer: The Falling Machine, Hearts of Smoke and Steam and Power Under Pressure

China Miéville: Un Lun Dun

Tim Powers: The Anubis Gates

Christopher Priest: The Prestige

Félix J. Palma: The Map of Time and The Map of the Sky

S.M. Peters: Whitechapel Gods

Philip Pullman: The Shadow in the North, The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass

Lilith Saintcrow: The Iron Wyrm Affair

Mary Shelley: Frankenstein

Jacques Tardi: Adele Blanc-Sec Comics

Tiffany Trent: The Unnaturalists

Scott Westerfeld: Leviathan, Behemoth and Goliath

Yseabeau S. Wilce: Flora Segunda, Flora's Dare and Flora's Fury

Also, further Steampunky goodness from this summer's authors:

Gail Carriger: 2013 will see some more Gail with Etiquette and Espionage, the first book in The Finishing School series, and Prudence, the first book in The Parasol Protectorate Abroad series

George Mann: The Osiris Ritual, The Immorality Engine, Ghosts of Manhattan and Ghosts of War

Cherie Priest: Clementine, Dreadnought, Ganymede and shortly, The Inexplicables

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

TV Review - Doctor Who: The Talons of Weng-Chiang

Doctor Who: The Talons of Weng-Chiang
Release Date: February 26th, 1977 – April 2nd, 1977
Starring: Tom Baker, Louise Jameson, Christopher Benjamin, Trevor Baxter, John Bennett, Deep Roy, Michael Spice, Chris Gannon, Alan Butler,  Tony Then, Vincent Wong, John Wu, David McKail, Conrad Asquith, Judith Lloyd, Vaune Craig-Raymond, Penny Lister, Dudley Simpson and Patsy Smart
Rating: ★★★★
To Buy

The Doctor brings Leela to Victorian Earth so that she can learn such things as how to wear real clothes and maybe even what silverware is for, and to see a Victorian stage magician at work. Sadly, they don't make it to Li H'sen Chang's show, being set upon by members of the Chinese Tong of the Black Scorpion, who worship the God, Weng-Chiang. Strange disappearances have been happening, centered around the Palace Theatre that Henry Gordon Jago runs and which is the venue for Li H'sen Chang. Early in the night a cab driver arrived accusing the theatre manager because the theatre was the last place his wife was seen alive. Could this cab driver be the man who the Tong where attacking when The Doctor and Leela interfered?

When the body appears in the river some time later, The Doctor's suspicions are confirmed. The Tong has, for some reason, silenced a man who could like Li H'sen Chang and the Palace Theatre to the missing women. At the autopsy, The Doctor strikes up a friendship with the good Professor Litefoot, who soon becomes a part of their investigations. Yet Professor Litefoot may be more important than any of them thought, what with being raised in China. Could the God Weng-Chiang really have returned? Or is it someone else cunningly using the Tong's devotion for his own means? It will take all of them to bring down this madman, for it is he who is responsible for the disappearances of the women as well as countless other atrocities.

I remember years and years ago watching this episode for the first time and being bored out of my mind. I don't know why I didn't connect to the episode, it has Holmesian elements, especially in Tom Baker's outfit, Jack the Ripper, Victorian London... yet, for some reason it bored me to tears and I just wanted it to end, which it didn't for a long time, being a six-parter. Going back to it now, I was at first rather apprehensive, I was expecting to be bored to tears. I wasn't! The only tears where the occasional tears of laughter from the lack of budget, mainly the Victorian ROUS (Rodents of Unusual Size) which where occasionally real rats in scaled down tunnels or men dressed like giant rodent stuffed animals, that where remarkably clean for living in the sewers. I'm saying, a little grease could have gone a long way.

Also, I loved that this evil genius villain who combines the horrors of Jack the Ripper and the chic of The Phantom of the Opera has so much trouble finding a box. I mean, really? The Tong and a midget, who is really a pig creature (more tears of laughter here, oink oink) can't get one box from an old man? Hilarious. Yet, it was so well acted, and just such Victorian Camp fun, I don't know why I didn't like it my first time around. I say for anyone looking for a true Steampunk episode of Doctor Who that is into old school Doctor, you need to check out this! Part Phantom part Jack part Sherlock part My Fair Lady and all Britishy fun and goodness. And don't discount Jago, that man look familiar? Christopher Benjamin should! He's Mr. Lucas from Pride and Prejudice, amongst countless other credits. Also, Mr. Sin is every Oompa-Loompa in the newest adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Another fun game to play is to watch how many times Li H'sen Chang blinks... he almost broke Rufus Sewell's record of six blinks total in all of Kenneth Brannagh's Hamlet, and dood, that movie was long. He could totally defeat the Weeping Angels!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Book Review - Terry Pratchett's Dodger

Dodger by Terry Pratchett
Published by: HarperCollins
Publication Date: September 25th, 2012
Format: Hardcover, 368 Pages
Rating: ★★★
To Buy

Dodger is a Tosher. The best Tosher there is, if he was asked. He knows all the secrets of the sewers under London and all the perfect places for a coin to get trapped in the muck, or more fortuitously, a bit of jewelry. Everyone knows and likes Dodger. His is a simple life, he doesn't desire more. Though one act of heroism will change everything forever; not just his reputation, but his outlook on life. Maybe Dodger does want something more, if there was a someone to want the more for...

It was a dark and stormy night, as all good stories start, and Dodger rescued a damsel in distress from some thugs by leaping out of the sewers and thwarting their attempts to do a bit of mischief. Shortly the sewer rat and the damsel are stumbled upon by Charles Dickens and his good friend, Henry Mayhew. These two eminent Victorians take the care of the young girl to heart, knowing more about the underbelly of London than the average citizen. But Dodger still follows, concerned for the young girl's safety. The young girl, who they dub Simplicity, is in a bad way, she has miscarried and it is obvious that the danger to her life is coming from someone rather high up the social ladder, if the fancy ring she is wearing is anything to go by. She is scared, but she trusts Dodger implicitly.

Dodger, totally smiting, makes it his goal to find these evil men and make the world safe for Simplicity. Easier said than done. Ever since that night Dodger seems to be attracting danger. He thwarts a robbery at Dickens' newspaper, he fights of Sweeney Todd, has dealings with Disraeli, and all the while, he feels as if what's happening and what people think is happening are two entirely different truths. That's something Charlie specializes in, the malleability of the truth. Let people believe what they want to. Could this work to Dodger's advantage? Could he create a new truth, a false truth, by playing with what people expect to see versus what they really see? Dodger sure is learning a lot and his star is definitely coming up in the world.

There is one thing that mystifies me about this book and it's how they are promoting it as a historical fantasy. To me it is historical fiction plain and simple. I mean most historical fiction is quite fantastical, just look at some of the things Philippa Gregory has written, or even The Tudors TV series. License in writing historical fiction gives you a lot of leeway, without having to add the additional "fantasy" label. I really didn't find anything in this book that would have been totally unrealistic for the time and setting and therefore needing this added genre. But, I have a feeling it was more for the fans of Terry. Terry Pratchett writing historical fiction? No no, you must be wrong, there has to be a bit of fantasy in there cries the fan base. Personally, I don't see why they bother, they being the publishers, Terry's fans are some of the most loyal out there, I mean, even this hideous and totally not at all relating to anything in the book cover hasn't put them off. I mean, this book was one of the few books willing to go up against J.K. Rowling's new book with the same release date, unlike other authors, like Ian Rankin, whose publishing date was pushed back. Than again, it is a YA book, so a different list... which brings me to another point, why YA? But then again, I've never been one to really separate why some books by an author are YA and some are not. Pratchett is Pratchett and Discworld is Discworld, no matter what those wack jobs who always insist that the YA Discworld shouldn't be counted... yes, that was a huge argument I had a few years back on Goodreads, thankfully Terry himself was in favor of my reasoning. Suck it YA haters!

If Terry's purpose in writing this book was to create an homage, not just to the world of Dickens, but to Dickens' style of writing and his characterization, I have to say he succeeded admirably. Dodger feels like a modern book that Dickens himself would have written. There is a vast cornucopia of interesting characters from Dodger's "landlord" Solomon and his adorable and loyal dog Onan (wiki that name and you'll get a funny joke, like Pratchett, I will not repeat it myself), to the French lady who feeds soup to the destitute, to the Mayhews and their love of social reform and rehabilitation, to Charles Dickens himself. The characters though are just one level of Dickensian drama. The plot itself, especially the solution for Simplicity, is one that I'm sure Dickens himself would have written, it has some of the more far fetched elements of say Our Mutual Friend. More than anything though, it was the pacing that made me think of Dickens. This isn't a book to be ploughed through, beginning to end, it's a world you stroll through, leisurely, savoring the characters. I think Dickens would be proud, and if this even ended up being adapted for stage or screen, I'm sure Dickens would demand to play himself.

Yet underneath that Dickensian shine, there is Pratchett. That lovely little devious Brit in black. There are footnotes and asides that only Terry could do. And in the end, this book deals with one of Terry's favorite themes, Truth, and yes, it needs the capitol "T." Terry has explored in various books, including one called The Truth, the idea that Truth is malleable, that it is what we make it. The way Dickens tries to explain this to Dodger shows that Dickens is Terry's conduit, the author within the book telling you how it is. Truth can easily be changed by writers, and more so by writers in the press. Yet, there is Truth that needs to be accepted, people need their fantasies, they need to believe certain things to survive. Everyone needs their own Truth, and it's what you make of it that matters. My Truth? I need a world with Terry Pratchett in it.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Tuesday Tomorrow

The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling
Published by: Little Brown
Publication Date: September 25th, 2012
Format: Hardcover, 512 Pages
To Buy

The offical patter:
"When Barry Fairbrother dies unexpectedly in his early forties, the little town of Pagford is left in shock. Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war. Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils…. Pagford is not what it first seems. And the empty seat left by Barry on the town’s council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations? Blackly comic, thought-provoking and constantly surprising, The Casual Vacancy is J.K. Rowling’s first novel for adults."

The question is... can J.K. succesfully follow-up Harry Potter with this adult book?

Dodger by Terry Pratchett
Published by: HarperCollins
Publication Date: September 25th, 2012
Format: Hardcover, 368 Pages
To Buy

The offical patter:
"A storm. Rain-lashed city streets. A flash of lightning. A scruffy lad sees a girl leap desperately from a horse-drawn carriage in a vain attempt to escape her captors. Can the lad stand by and let her be caught again? Of course not, because he's . . . Dodger.

Seventeen-year-old Dodger may be a street urchin, but he gleans a living from London's sewers, and he knows a jewel when he sees one. He's not about to let anything happen to the unknown girl—not even if her fate impacts some of the most powerful people in England.

From Dodger's encounter with the mad barber Sweeney Todd to his meetings with the great writer Charles Dickens and the calculating politician Benjamin Disraeli, history and fantasy intertwine in a breathtaking account of adventure and mystery.

Beloved and bestselling author Sir Terry Pratchett combines high comedy with deep wisdom in this tale of an unexpected coming-of-age and one remarkable boy's rise in a complex and fascinating world. "

New YA Terry Pratchett, which I'm beyond excited for... kind of... it's not Discworld, and the US cover is crap, and I'm still hating Nation... but seeing as it's "British" I think it could work!

Under Wildwood by Colin Meloy and Carson Ellis
Published by: Balzer and Bray
Publication Date: September 25th, 2012
Format: Hardcover, 560 Pages
To Buy

The offical patter:

"Ever since Prue McKeel returned home from the Impassable Wilderness after rescuing her brother from the malevolent Dowager Governess, life has been pretty dull. School holds no interest for her, and her new science teacher keeps getting on her case about her dismal test scores and daydreaming in class. Her mind is constantly returning to the verdant groves and sky-tall trees of Wildwood, where her friend Curtis still remains as a bandit-in-training.

But all is not well in that world. Dark assassins with mysterious motives conspire to settle the scores of an unknown client. A titan of industry employs inmates from his orphanage to work in his machine shop, all the while obsessing over the exploitation of the Impassable Wilderness. And, in what will be their greatest challenge yet, Prue and Curtis are thrown together again to save themselves and the lives of their friends, and to bring unity to a divided country. But in order to do that, they must go under Wildwood.

In Under Wildwood, Colin Meloy and Carson Ellis reveal new dimensions of the epic fantasy-adventure series begun with the critically acclaimed, bestselling Wildwood."

Sequel time... can they live up the the first volume?

Reflections of the Magic of Writing by Diana Wynn Jones
Published by: Greenwillow Books
Publication Date: September 25th, 2012
Format: Hardcover, 272 Pages
To Buy

The offical patter:
"In a career spanning four decades, award-winning author Diana Wynne Jones wrote more than forty books of fantasy for young readers. Characterized by magic, multiple universes, witches and wizards—and a charismatic nine-lived enchanter—her books were filled with unlimited imagination, dazzling plots, and an effervescent sense of humor that earned her legendary status in the world of fantasy. From the very beginning, Diana Wynne Jones’s books garnered literary accolades: her novel Dogsbody was a runner-up for the 1975 Carnegie Medal, and Charmed Life won the esteemed Guardian children’s fiction prize in 1977. Since then, in addition to being translated into more than twenty languages, her books have earned a wide array of honors—including two Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Honors—and appeared on countless best-of-the-year lists.

Her work also found commercial success: In 1992 the BBC adapted her novel Archer’s Goon into a six-part miniseries, and her bestselling Howl’s Moving Castle was made into an animated film by Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki in 2004. The film was nominated for an Academy Award in 2006, and became one of the most financially successful Japanese films in history.

Diana Wynne Jones has also been honored with many prestigious awards for the body of her work. She was given the British Fantasy Society’s Karl Edward Wagner Award in 1999 for having made a significant impact on fantasy, received a D.Lit from Bristol University in 2006, and won the Lifetime Achievement Award at the World Fantasy Convention in 2007.

Born just outside London in 1934, Diana Wynne Jones had a childhood that was “very vivid and often very distressing”—one that became the fertile ground where her tremendous imagination took root. When the raids of World War II reached London in 1939, the five-year-old girl and her two younger sisters were torn from their suburban life and sent to Wales to live with their grandparents. This was to be the first of many migrations, one of which brought her family to Lane Head, a large manor in the author-populated Lake District and former residence of John Ruskin’s secretary, W.G . Collingwood. This time marked an important moment in Diana Wynne Jones’s life, where her writing ambitions were magnified by, in her own words, “early marginal contacts with the Great.” She confesses to having “offending Arthur Ransome by making a noise on the shore beside his houseboat,” erasing a stack of drawings by the late Ruskin himself in order to reuse the paper, and causing Beatrix Potter (who also lived nearby) to complain about her and her sister’s behavior. “It struck me,” Jones said, “that the Great were remarkably touchy and unpleasant, and I thought I would like to be the same, without the unpleasantness.” Prompted by her penny-pinching father’s refusal to buy the children any books, Diana Wynne Jones wrote her first novel at age twelve and entertained her sisters with readings of her stories. Those early stories—and much of her future work—were inspired by a limited but crucial foundation of classics: Malory’s Morte D’Arthur, The Arabian Nights, and Epics and Romances of the Middle Ages.

Fantasy was Jones’s passion from the start, despite receiving little support from her often neglectful parents. This passion was fueled further during her tenure at St. Anne’s College in Oxford, where lectures by J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis increased her fascination with myth and legend. She married Medievalist John Burrow in 1956; the couple have three sons and six grandchildren.

After a decade of rejections, Diana Wynne Jones’s first novel, Changeover, was published in 1970. In 1973, she joined forces with her lifelong literary agent, Laura Cecil, and in the four decades to follow, Diana Wynne Jones wrote prodigiously, sometimes completing three titles in a single year. Along the way she gained a fiercely loyal following; many of her admirers became successful authors themselves, including Newbery Award winners Robin McKinley and Neil Gaiman, and Newbery Honor Book author Megan Whalen Turner. A conference dedicated solely to her work was held at the University of West England, Bristol, in 2009. Diana Wynne Jones continued to write during her battle with lung cancer, which ultimately took her life in March 2011. Her last book, Earwig and the Witch, was published by Greenwillow Books in 2012."

With a forward by her dear friend Neil Gaiman, this looks unmissable!

Confessions of a Murder Suspect by James Patterson
Published by: Little Brown
Publication Date: September 25th, 2012
Format: Hardcover, 384 Pages
To Buy

The offical patter:
"James Patterson returns to the genre that made him famous with a thrilling teen detective series about the mysterious and magnificently wealthy Angel family . . . and the dark secrets they're keeping from one another.

On the night Malcolm and Maud Angel are murdered, Tandy Angel knows just three things: 1) She was the last person to see her parents alive. 2) The police have no suspects besides Tandy and her three siblings. 3) She can't trust anyone--maybe not even herself. Having grown up under Malcolm and Maud's intense perfectionist demands, no child comes away undamaged. Tandy decides that she will have to clear the family name, but digging deeper into her powerful parents' affairs is a dangerous-and revealing-game. Who knows what the Angels are truly capable of?"

I love James Patterson's late night ads so much that I would probably by anything he wrote just to keep those ads on the air. Even with that caveat, this looks awesome.

Inside HBO's Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
Published by: Chronicle Books
Publication Date: September 25th, 2012
Format: Hardcover, 192 Pages
To Buy

The offical patter:
"HBO's Game of Thrones reigns as cable's highest-rated series. This official companion book gives fans new ways to enter this fictional world and discover more about the beloved (and reviled) characters and the electrifying plotlines. Hundreds of set photos, production and costume designs, storyboards, and insider stories reveal how the show's creators translated George R. R. Martin's best-selling fantasy series into the world of Westeros. Featuring interviews with key actors and crew members that capture the best scripted and unscripted moments from the first two seasons, as well as a preface by George R. R. Martin, this special volume, bound in a lavishly debossed padded cover, offers exclusive access to this unprecedented television series."

Anyway to keep of the hunger and desire for the next season/book... I have a feeling there will be several season before another book, sigh.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sartorial Sundays

Accessorizing is the key to Steampunk. Finding, making or modding just the right item to bring everything together. Now that the overall clothing is done, I realized, I needed footwear... sigh, such a hard thing buying shoes... no really! I wear a size 10/11 so truly, hard to find. So I headed out to DSW at the start of boot season, go any later and those other big footed women get my shoes! I was more than mildly distracted by the craft store next door, more on that below, but then I found the perfect pair! I kid you not! They're comfy, roomy and lace up, but than again, you can see for yourself...

I love them so much I also bought them in black too. And seeing as I was stopping at Target I was able to pick up a cheap pair, doubly cheap because they where on sale, brown knee high socks, because my theory is, why wear tights when you don't need to?

Now the most important part, my hat! How I love a good bowler or top hat! Seeing tons of people in one place wearing them is like living my Period Drama fantasy, now where is Mr. Darcy... even if I would prefer Henry Tilney, but the joke comes across as more Austen with old Fitzy. My local hat emporium doesn't have anything beyond the "black" model of derby or bowler, and the one I have isn't classy enough, in my mind, so I looked to the interwebs.

Here is the hat I found through Ladies' Emporium, also, obligatory goofy picture of me wearing the hat. Fits like a dream and looks so nice with some of the bling I bought.

For my outfit, I view my hat as the true expression of the inner Steampunk geek coming forth. Because, let's face it, my costume so far could easily pass as just someone doing a Victorian Renn Faire. Last year at Teslacon I saw someone who had the most gorgeous hat with faux flowers in it. I had been eyeing my mother's faux sunflowers for a few weeks when I decided to go to Michaels Craftstore and check out what they had. I found these lovely beauties. The dark brown is luscious and will go so well against the hat (truly, they look wonderful together!), while the cream will bring back in the colors from the tea dyed skirt and the blouse. So in love with this find. But not as much as the rest of the stuff I found...

So, needless to say, I spent more money than I should have at the craft store, but look at all these cool Steampunk bling to mod my hat! Gears and cogs and clock bits and unfinished pocket watches and birdcages and birds! So much awesomeness I went around the store in a state of bliss. Also, cunning me, because while this costume is earth tones, two of my other costumes aren't, so I bought some silver paint to bling the bling to the starlight side!

Friday, September 21, 2012

~Questions and Answers with Paul Magrs~

I was lucky enough to meet Paul Magrs at last years Teslacon where he was one of the three guests of honor, along with George Mann and Gail Carriger. While his books aren't overtly Steampunk per se, I would agree with his moniker of Chintz Punk, the Brenda and Effie books being about the Bride of Frankenstein running a B and B in Witby, they do contain Steampunky elements, besides just being awesome books. Also, we can not discount the fact that he has also written numerous Doctor Who books, both traditional items of paper and glue and the less traditional, audio. Doctor Who has so many elements of Steampunk, I would in fact say that it's probably the most mainstream Steampunk out there.

Needless to say, because of Teslacon, no one can say Steampunk to me now without me thinking of and then highly recommending Paul's books. Paul was happy to participate in Steampunk Summer and in fact, this silly little Q and A, of which he fully embraced the openendedness of the questions, is just a taste of what's to come... wait for it... all October will be Magrs Month! Make sure you come back! Hopefully this will whet your appetite.

Question: What is the definitive Steampunk book for you?

Answer: It has to be George Mann’s The Osiris Ritual*, which I bought on a whim when I found it in Waterstones, soon after it first came out. I knew I would adore it, and I did – and all the others in the series. Reading it was the beginning of a great friendship, too.

*George was a guest at last years Teslacon, and is participating in Steampunk Summer

Question: What drew you to this genre?

Answer: I think it would have to be Peter Cushing and Doug McClure in ‘At the Earth’s Core’ at Darlington ABC Cinema in 1976. And then ‘Talons of Weng Chiang’, the classic Doctor Who story broadcast the following year. The idea of Victoriana combined with monsters has never ceased to haunt me since then.

Question: How do you take your tea?

Answer: Sweet, spicy and milky.

Question: Must have sartorial accessory?

Answer: I’ve just found a silk and wool tweed jacket in a secondhand shop and it’s vintage Harrods. It’s wonderfully light to wear.

Question: Sartorial leaning: Street Urchin, Tinker, Explorer or Aesthete?

Answer: Aesthete on the beach.

Question: Top hat or bowler hat?

Answer: Bowler, I think. Though Panama above all.

Question: Subgenre you most identify with: Boilerpunk, Clockpunk, Dieselpunk, Gaslight Romance, Mannerspunk, Raygun Gothic or Stitchpunk?

Answer: Chintz punk.

Question: If there was one thing that could truly exist from the world of Steampunk what would it be?

Answer: Brenda’s actual B+B. When I’m in Whitby I long to be able to go round her house and sit in that attic and have a cup of spicy tea with the ladies. It’s ridiculous, but I always know that something’s missing when I’m there, and it’s visiting that attic sitting room.

Question: If there was one element in the Steampunk genre you could remove forever what would it be?

Answer: I do find guns dreary.

Question: Favorite movie or television series with Steampunk elements?

Answer: I’d have to say the single episode of ‘Evil of the Daleks’ from 1967 that still exists. Daleks menacing an antiques shop and time-travelling by using mirrors. A perfect piece of telly. Oh, and ‘At the Earth’s Core’, of course.

Question: Preferred mode of transport: celestial, aether, terra firma or aquatic?

Answer: Celestial Omnibus.

Question: Favorite Queen to have had a diamond jubilee, Victoria or Elizabeth?

Answer: Quentin Crisp.

Question: Victorian or Wild West?

Answer: Victorian

Question: Would you like an automaton butler or ladies maid, considering that it might be the first step in the robotic apocalypse?

Answer: A teasmaid would be heaven. We used to have one, but it broke. It lit up with this gentle amber glow and started hissing with steam at 7.30am. It played music and poured your tea for you.

Question: If The Doctor showed up at your door, where would you go?

Answer: Anywhere. Absolutely anywhere. It’s no use specifying a particular place. Those are the stories that go horribly wrong. Just let him twist the dial and see where it takes you, I say.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

~Questions and Answers with George Mann~

Ask the majority of Steampunk fans and they will say their favorite author is George Mann. It's easy to see why, his Newbury and Hobbes books have a quirky Britishness that I would compare to The Avengers but as easily appealing to fans of Doctor Who and Sherlock Holmes. Not to forget strong female characters, go Victoria Hobbes! He is also amazingly nice and polite and generous, can you think of many authors who would not only put up with answering silly questions but also write a little piece of new work for a blog, that isn't their own, I think not, you are the man George! If that hasn't yet convinced you of his awesomeness, he's not only written a 11th Doctor Who book, Paradox Lost, he's met the 11th Doctor! See, that's real geek and Steampunk cred right there!

Question: What is the definitive Steampunk book for you?

Answer: Not strictly steampunk, but for me you have to go back to Verne and Wells. Wells's 'The First Men in the Moon' is a particular favourite.

Question: What drew you to this genre?

Answer: I love the freedom that steampunk offers, how it makes a fantasy from the past. There's something very honest about exploring 'what never was'. Plus I get to play with all the things I love - clockwork robots, airships, tentacled beasties, occult secret societies...

Question: How do you take your tea?

Answer: Assam in the morning, Earl Grey in the afternoon, with a dash of milk in both

Question: Must have sartorial accessory?

Answer: A sword stick, of course. Preferably with an ornate silver handle.

Question: Sartorial leaning: Street Urchin, Tinker, Explorer or Aesthete?

Answer: Aesthete.

Question: Top hat or bowler hat?

Answer: Always a top hat, obviously.

Question: Subgenre you most identify with: Boilerpunk, Clockpunk, Dieselpunk, Gaslight Romance, Mannerspunk, Raygun Gothic or Stitchpunk?

Answer: Clockpunk with a dash of Gaslight Romance.

Question: If there was one thing that could truly exist from the world of Steampunk what would it be?

Answer: Veronica Hobbes ;-)

Question: If there was one element in the Steampunk genre you could remove forever what would it be?

Answer: The naysayers ;-)

Question: Favorite movie or television series with Steampunk elements?

Answer: Doctor Who.

Question: Preferred mode of transport: celestial, aether, terra firma or aquatic?

Answer: Aether.

Question: Favorite Queen to have had a diamond jubilee, Victoria or Elizabeth?

Answer: Victoria.

Question: Victorian or Wild West?

Answer: Victorian.

Question: Would you like an automaton butler or ladies maid, considering that it might be the first step in the robotic apocalypse?

Answer: No! Have you READ The Affinity Bridge? Those things are dangerous!*

*Yes George, thanks for the nightmares!

Question: If The Doctor showed up at your door, where would you go?

Answer: 1880s Monmatre, for a glass of absinthe and a visit to the Moulin Rouge.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Tuesday Tomorrow

Skagboys by Irvine Welsh
Published by: W.W. Norton and Company
Publication Date: September 18th, 2012
Format: Hardcover, 544 Pages
To Buy

The offical patter:
"Prequel to the best-selling phenomenon Trainspotting, this exhilarating and moving novel shows how Welsh’s colorful miscreants first went wrong.

Marked by Irvine Welsh’s scabrous humor and raw Scottish vernacular, Skagboys transports us to 1980s Edinburgh, where the Trainspotting crew is just getting started. Mark Renton has it all: the first in his family to attend university, he has a pretty girlfriend and a great social life. But when economic uncertainties and family problems intervene, Rent succumbs to the defeatism—not to mention the drug use—that has taken hold in Edinburgh’s tougher quarters. His friends are responding according to personality. Laid off, Spud Murphy is paralyzed in the face of long-term unemployment. Sick Boy, supreme manipulator of the opposite sex, is scamming and hustling for money and drugs. And meanwhile, psycho Franco Begbie is scaring the hell out of everyone. Darkly humorous, Skagboys gives a gritty and gripping portrait of a time, not unlike ours, when money was scarce, unemployment was high, and drugs seemed the answer."

So Welsh is finally delivering on the more Trainspotting, this time with a prequel. Not sure if I want to read it, loved the movie, but the book Trainspotting kind of traumatized me.

Beautiful Lies by Clare Clark
Published by: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication Date: September 18th, 2012
Format: Hardcover, 512 Pages
To Buy

The offical patter:
"London 1887. For Maribel Campbell Lowe, the beautiful bohemian wife of a maverick politician, it is the year to make something of herself. A self-proclaimed Chilean heiress educated in Paris, she is torn between poetry and the new art of photography. But it is soon plain that Maribel’s choices are not so simple. As her husband’s career hangs by a thread, her real past, and the family she abandoned, come back to haunt them both. When the notorious newspaper editor Alfred Webster begins to take an uncommon interest in Maribel, she fears he will not only destroy Edward’s career but both of their reputations.
Inspired by the true story of a politician’s wife who lived a double life for decades, Beautiful Lies is set in a time that, fraught with economic uncertainty and tabloid scandal-mongering, uncannily presages our own."

True story, blah, blah, blah, sounds awesome, true or not!

Hiss and Hers by M.C. Beaton
Published by: Minotaur
Publication Date: September 18th, 2012
Format: Hardcover, 304 Pages
To Buy

The offical patter:
"If only the bossy, beloved Agatha Raisin were as lucky at finding the right man as she is at catching killers in M. C. Beaton's New York Times bestselling mystery series

Celebrating the twentieth anniversary of everyone's favorite sleuth, M. C. Beaton's Agatha Raisin is as feisty as ever—armed with her famous wit and biting sense of humor. This time, though, there's some biting of a whole other sort going on. Agatha has fallen head over heels in love—again. This time, she has her eye on the local gardener, George Marston, but so do other women in their little Cotswold village. Shamelessly determined, Agatha will do anything to get her man—including footing the bill for a charity ball just for the chance to dance with him. And then George doesn't even show up. Only partly deterred, Agatha goes looking for him, and finds his dead body in a compost heap. Murder is definitely afoot, but this killer chose no ordinary weapon: A poisonous snake delivered the fatal strike.

Rising to the occasion, Agatha rallies her little detective agency to find the killer, only to learn that George had quite a complicated love life. But murderously complicated? Well, if she can't have George, at least Agatha can have the satisfaction of confronting the other women and solving the crime. With Hiss & Hers, once again, "M. C. Beaton has a foolproof plot for the village mystery" (The New York Times Book Review) in the irresistible adventures of the irrepressible Agatha."

This one's for my mom. The biggest M.C. Beaton fan I know.

The Diviners by Libba Bray
Published by: Little Brown
Publication Date: September 18th, 2012
Format: Hardcover, 608 Pages
To Buy

The offical patter:
"Evie O'Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City--and she is pos-i-toot-ly thrilled. New York is the city of speakeasies, shopping, and movie palaces! Soon enough, Evie is running with glamorous Ziegfield girls and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is Evie has to live with her Uncle Will, curator of The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult--also known as "The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies."

When a rash of occult-based murders comes to light, Evie and her uncle are right in the thick of the investigation. And through it all, Evie has a secret: a mysterious power that could help catch the killer--if he doesn't catch her first."

New Libba Bray, yeah! Hope there's some seances, then extra yeah!

The Raven by Maggie Stiefvater
Published by: Scholastic
Publication Date: September 18th, 2012
Format: Hardcover, 416 Pages
To Buy

The offical patter:
"It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

From Maggie Stiefvater, the bestselling and acclaimed author of the Shiver trilogy and The Scorpio Races, comes a spellbinding new series where the inevitability of death and the nature of love lead us to a place we’ve never been before."

This sounds AWESOME! Also, ravens are cool.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sartorial Sundays

Get your knit on! So, now I have the yarn and I have a pattern... knitting is the next step. But before you dive in, there's something very important you need to do. While buying your yarn you might have thought, wow, I should also pick up these lovely Addi Turbo circular knitting needles (best needles in the world, like knitting with needles made by alchemists from liquid mercury, yes, they are that good, and that pricey) for my project. The pattern says size 10, so size 10 it is. Don't do it! You are being lulled into a trap. You need to gauge your yarn! This is a very amateur mistake, the worst amateur mistake I've ever seen? Sewing your sweater together with thread not yarn. But this is a big mistake too. Because if you don't gauge your yarn, the finished size will be wrong, could look short or wide, or any variety of wrong. So, you start with the given needle size, you should have some laying about, then look at the gauge, for my pattern it's:

In garter stitch (knit every row), 14 sts and 28 rows = 4”

So I need to knit 14 stitches for 28 rows, and if they don't equal 4", than this is not the needle size for my yarn, and I keep trying, depending on how close the size 10 needles are I will go up or down, so let's get to work!

Ok, first I tried the 10... and it was too small, by 3/4 of an inch, so up a size. Note, I usually just frog this and start over to not waste yarn, but for your pictorial benefit, I saved my gauging.

Ok, now 10.5... and still too small, closer though at 3 3/4 inches. Damn, this is taking longer than I thought it would...

Ok, final try, fingers crossed. 11 and... yes! Finally, it's right on 4" as you can see, and as for what you can't see because of the ruler, a stitch I dropped, hey, it's only a test after all. Whew, was worried there. I've never worked with needles as bulking as 11s, so this should be interesting.

As for the progress I've made. Well, it's not done yet, but it's getting there.

As you can see, I can't really get a striking and lovely picture, the circular needles make it all bunched up, but you can see there's a mass of yarn there!

Here you can see the detail of what goes down my spine. Because that is where the majority of the increases happen, it's not only expanding the pattern, I mean there's over 300 stitches by the time I'm near the end, but it creates a nice detail too.

So you can see my copious notes and how I'm keeping track. As you can see from the bold "x's" that's where I inadvertently messed up (added and stitch and when fixing lost two stitches, but frogged it out in the end). Quite a few more rows to go, but now that I'm at 200 stitches, it's taking awhile for me to get through a row. I'm hoping the Emmy's next weekend will be a good chance to finish! That and re-watching all of last season's Community. Man, I love that show!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Book Review - George Mann's The Affinity Bridge

The Affinity Bridge by George Mann
Published by: Tor
Publication Date: July 1st, 2008
Format: Hardcover, 336 Pages
Rating: ★★★★
To Buy

In our world, Queen Victoria would have died at the turn of 1901, but in November of that year Victoria lives still via machines, past her time on this earth, in this world. Preserved as ruler. Sir Maurice Newbury works as an "investigator for the crown" for this indomitable woman who plans to outwit death, by any means necessary, should further measures need to be taken. While he works at the British Museum as an expert on ancient societies and the occult, it is his dabbling in the occult that Victoria calls upon from time to time, making his Museum job more a cover than anything. Or as Newbury and his clever assistant, Victoria Hobbes, would say, the museum is there between the interesting adventures.

Queen Victoria has several mysterious situations at present that need Newbury's expertise. There is a plague of revenants, zombie like corpses attacking people in the fog, a string of deaths in Whitechapel that are linked to a mysterious glowing policeman, but most importantly, a crashed airship that had a minor royal on board and among the lists of the dead, well they where all dead except the pilot who was missing. While Newbury longs to find a satisfying conclusion to the murders in Whitechapel and help Scotland Yard and his copper friend Sir Charles Bainbridge, Victoria has insisted that the crash of The Lady Armitage comes before everything else.

Going to the company that made The Lady Armitage, Chapman and Villiers, they discover that the company has been expanding beyond their regular line of airships to encompass Automatons. Villiers is a scientist who left France under a cloud because of his unorthodox experimentations, but Newbury can not help marvelling at the work shown to them. They have created simulated life. A simulated life that coincidentally may be responsible for the disastrous air crash, no matter Chapman and Villiers's denials.

The closer Victoria and Newbury get to the answers, the more in danger they are. Maurice needs help from "The Fixer" on more than one occasion to keep him alive at all. Add the ubiquitous presence of the unnerving automatons everywhere and then throw in a dash of an insane asylum and laudanum addiction and you can see it's going to be a miracle if they can solve the cases and keep themselves alive. Now just a quick rest for tea and off into the foggy fray they go!

I distinctly remember the day I picked up this book. I was in Saint Louis on the way to my best friend's wedding in Arkansas. We had stopped for two nights in Saint Louis because my friend Matt's family is there and it was a very nice half way point. Upon planning a trip to any town I research the bookstores in advance. I was very excited to go to Left Bank Books, which I had heard so much about. But being in a literary town I have high standards. Sadly, the bookstore left me wanting... yet... there, below a window in the basement I found this book. I had been wanting to buy it, there was more than a little cover lust and I loved the handling of the type, especially how George Mann's name was framed, also, I've always loved the name Hobbes since Calvin and Hobbes. So the bookstore itself was a bust, yet the find made me joyous. I had even greater joy later upon learning that George was going to be at last years Teslacon. I was going for Gail Carriger, but I met two more authors there that I now consider friends, George was one of them.

The Affinity Bridge spoke to me on so many levels. One being the sheer Britishness of it. Just count the times they have tea and you will start to feel the call of Queen and Country... is that a stiff upper lip developing? Also, I adore people who, while working covertly, also have a cool day job; British Museum, hello! I'd take that any day! Though it was the pacing that drew me in more than anything. Some Steampunk books have a flaw of constant action with a quick tea break. This break neck speed doesn't always appeal to my Victorian sensibilities, or even my British sensibilities. You would not see The Avengers rushing about. Sure, they had an action packed punch up when needed, but they took the time for the crime to unwind, sure, in their case many people died, but the leisurely pace from one clue to the next with taking lots of time for tea and strolling arm and arm to the crime gives the book a nice lazy Sunday afternoon vibe. Action packed, yet relaxing and inviting.

I also liked the automatons. Given how they play out, there are many Doctor Who Cybermen references that could be bandied about. In particular the fact that the Chapman and Villiers plant is located in Battersea and they used the Battersea Power Station made famous by Pink Floyd for the conversion facility in the David Tennant two-parter, Rise of the Cybermen and The Age of Steel. Yet, George makes them far scarier than I have even felt the Cybermen where. With their fluidity of motion and their mirrored eyes, I would be more likely to compare them to Steampunk Cylons. Needless to say, they freaked me out, and once we find the reason for their malfunctioning, they go into the truly terrifying category. Well done George, you have succeeded in giving me robot nightmares that Doctor Who has failed to do since I was a little girl playing in my grandfather's gravel pit.

Finally there is the Blue Policeman. He caught me at page whatever he first appeared on and George cleverly kept him off stage for awhile, but not too long, pushing me forward to find out what the frak was going on. Side note, I view frak is perfectly acceptable in this review because of the automatons similarities to cylons, end note. I also loved that, most likely, it was a mystery in a mystery. Always keep us guessing George and you'll always keep me reading, though maybe edit that fight scene on the train a little but thanks for downplaying the "zombie card". Can't wait for the next one, Egyptian overtones I hope judging by the title, The Osiris Ritual!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Summer - George Mann

They sat beneath the crumbling arches of a ruined abbey, taking tea and scones in the waning afternoon light. Nearby, an automaton gave gentry folk a tour of the formal gardens.

The summer had passed in a haze of adventure: patchwork golems rendered of iron and flesh; glowing terrors on the welsh marshes; glass men animated by the strangest blue aether; revenants loose in the Houses of Parliament.

Newbury smiled warmly. "Finally," he said, taking her hand. "Some time to ourselves."

"I fear not," sighed Veronica, glancing over his shoulder. "Here comes Sir Charles, and his face is like thunder."

George Mann has been "messing around writing 100 word Newbury and Hobbes stories recently." So, when he offered to write one especially for Steampunk Summer I jumped at the chance. As he told me, he "might not have time for a lengthy blog post" but what he has written is pure magic. I quite literally spent a few months trying to find a picture that would complement the text but without taking away from the visual it created in my mind. I know it doesn't do the text justice, but it's a place your mind somewhat conjures, if not precisely, when you are lost in George's words. Look for more George in the coming days!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Tuesday Tomorrow

Frozen Heat  by Richard Castle
Published by: Hyperion
Publication Date: September 11th, 2012
Format: Hardcover, 320 Pages
To Buy

The offical patter:
"Hot on the heels of Richard Castle's #1 New York Times bestseller Heat Rises comes the fourth novel in the Nikki Heat series, Frozen Heat. Nikki Heat and Jameson Rook are together again, facing an unsolved murder mystery that has haunted Nikki for ten years.

NYPD Homicide Detective Nikki Heat arrives at her latest crime scene to find an unidentified woman stabbed to death and stuffed inside a suitcase left on a Manhattan street. Nikki is in for a big shock when this new homicide connects to the unsolved murder of her own mother. Paired once again with her romantic and investigative partner, top journalist Jameson Rook, Heat works to solve the mystery of the body in the suitcase while she is forced to confront unexplored areas of her mother's background.

Facing relentless danger as someone targets her for the next kill, Nikki's search will unearth painful family truths, expose a startling hidden life, and cause Nikki to reexamine her own past. Heat's passionate quest takes her and Rook from the back alleys of Manhattan to the avenues of Paris, trying to catch a ruthless killer. The question is, now that her mother's cold case has unexpectedly thawed, will Nikki Heat finally be able to solve the dark mystery that has been her demon for ten years?"

Short list of releases this week, must be because no one wants their book published on 9/11, and can you blame them? I love the reality/fiction blend and that Castle is now, quite literally, a #1 New York Times bestseller... now if only he'd go on a signing tour...

The Brides of Rollrock Island  by Margo Lanagan
Published by: Knopf
Publication Date: September 11th, 2012
Format: Hardcover, 320 Pages
To Buy

The offical patter:
"On remote Rollrock Island, men go to sea to make their livings—and to catch their wives.

The witch Misskaella knows the way of drawing a girl from the heart of a seal, of luring the beauty out of the beast. And for a price a man may buy himself a lovely sea-wife. He may have and hold and keep her. And he will tell himself that he is her master. But from his first look into those wide, questioning, liquid eyes, he will be just as transformed as she. He will be equally ensnared. And the witch will have her true payment.

Margo Lanagan weaves an extraordinary tale of desire, despair, and transformation. With devastatingly beautiful prose, she reveals characters capable of unspeakable cruelty, but also unspoken love."

I have been time and again told to read Margo Lanagan... perhaps I should get on that...

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