Traveler's Steampunk Blog

res ætheris exploramus

The SEA is Ours – Interview with Jaymee Goh and Joyce Chng

Posted By on 8. Oktober 2015

Following up on the review of The SEA is Ours (see below), I got in touch with the curators of the anthology, Jaymee Goh and Joyce Chng, and asked them if they would be willing to give me an interview. They were happy to and I am delighted to present the interview here, now.

And please, if you have not done so yet, get yourself a copy of The SEA is Ours: tales of Steampunk South East Asia!


Please give us a quick introduction about yourselves.


Joyce Chng

Joyce Chng hails from Singapore. She writes mostly science fiction and YA and things in between.


Jaymee Gho

Jaymee is a writer, poet, and academic, from Malaysia, currently living in the United States, where she is a PhD candidate at the University of California, Riverside.


Where can we find you on the web?

Joyce can be found at A Wolf’s Tale: She tweets as @jolantru on Twitter.

Jaymee’s steampunk blog is Silver Goggles: her “normal” writer blog is You can also find her on under Jaymee Goh in the University of California, Riverside, Comparative Literature department.


What is your involvement with steampunk?

Joyce is a writer mostly and more intrigued by the aesthetic of steampunk.

Jaymee is primarily a writer and a critic. She writes a postcolonial steampunk blog that picks apart representations of race and racism in steampunk work, and offer up questions to consider when ‘doing’ non-Euro steampunk. She also used to run a monthly interview series of steampunks of color, and travelled the convention circuit over North America to present on multicultural steampunk. She writes steampunk short stories, and a few of them are set in an alternate-history Malayan Straits that was never colonized by the British. In 2012, she co-edited The Omnibus of Doctor Bill Shakes and the Magnificent Ionic Pentatetrameter: A Steampunk’s Shakespeare Anthology for Doctor Fantastique Books.


How prominent is steampunk in Southeast Asia?

It’s a growing trend. In Singapore, you can see people in steampunk costumes during conventions. In Malaysia, there are pockets of fans here and there interested in the concept of steampunk and how to do it. There is a Singaporean steampunk anthology, and sporadically we get steampunk stories from the Philippines, like Paolo Chikiamco’s “On Wooden Wings” and Kate Osias’ “The Unmaking of the Cuadro Amoroso” (which we have reprinted).

Can you point us to any SEA Steampunk websites?

Jaymee used to run, and there is a Melaka-specific Tumblr. The artist who runs it calls it “seampunk” because she thinks of Melaka (a state of Malaysia that used to be a very important sultanate) as a seam of the world, which is pretty great:


How long did it take to get The SEA Is Ours going (from the initial idea to the final anthology)?



We were tossing ideas about starting an anthology or a publication for SEA people by SEA people. We were definitely kicking the idea around as early as 2012, and put the idea on the backburner. Rosarium got in touch in 2014, and we ran a call for submissions from February to June 2014. We edited and edited until early 2015, when we commissioned artists to draw illustrations.

How did you find the authors?

We had a list of people we sent the call for submissions to and personally invited them to submit. These are folks from all over the world—science fiction writers always find each other somehow. They then forwarded it to people they knew. We also had a general call for submissions page, on the publisher’s website, on Tumblr, and on our blogs. But the bulk of the work in finding the authors really depends on having made friends in the various Southeast Asian SFF communities we could think of reaching, and communicating clearly our vision for a diverse anthology that is Southeast Asian-centric. Rose Lemberg has an important post on how to encourage diversity in submission slush piles:


Sorry, that this is such a loaded question, it is not intended to be: Do you think, European/North American Steampunk literature engages in “glossy colonialism”, i.e. they focus on the glory parts of that era for the usual countries (the colonial powers including the US) while glossing over all the horrors that happened?

No worries. We have to confront the racism embedded within steampunk itself and that it stems from – you guess it – colonialism. Indeed, colonialism might be flashy, shiny and full of gear bits, but it is true that Eurocentric Steampunk focuses on the glory parts. Most of the literature takes the pov/perspective of the colonizer. Of course, if you are the victor, you write the history. The voices of the colonized have been swept aside and even erased altogether.

Certainly there are books out there which do so uncritically, and many books which attempt to problematize the colonialism but still don’t push it all the way. There are also books out there which focus on the horrific parts of colonialism for sheer shock value too, in order to seem profound (also because the suffering of the colonized is considered entertainment, still). You will find books which gloss over the horrors of colonialism because their characters simply aren’t in a place to witness them. You will find books which resist the urge to glorify colonialism, but still indulge in a decadent impression of the era.


What has the feedback been like so far?

There seems to be a warm reception (and a great need for) to the anthology itself. Perhaps people want different perspectives now and with the cry for diversity, filling a large gap. Thus, so far, pretty good.

We have some very happy reviews on GoodReads (and even the 1-star review is very telling about the success of the book). People are really excited about the anthology. We even got a Starred Review on Publishers Weekly, which is apparently a very big deal! People from all over the world have tweeted or wrote us in support.


Did you encounter any racism from the Steampunk scene so far in response to the anthology?

None so far, regarding racism from the steampunk scene. Steampunks in general are very supportive, and those who aren’t know how to mind their own business!


Are there any follow-up anthologies planned or already in the works?

We’ll see! We didn’t get stories from/about half the Southeast Asian countries, so we are definitely interested in having another volume with wider range.


Thank you very much for your time, it has been an hour and a pleasure and I hope there will be another anthology set in South East Asia.


Non-Euclidean Æthercast #33 – International Hug A Shoggoth Day! Please Share!

Posted By on 7. Oktober 2015

Today is International Hug A Shoggoth Day!

Why today? Well, I explain all this in the podcast. The International Hug A Shoggoth Day is for clearing up some of the misconceptions people still have about these titanic beings. These misconceptions are based mainly on their horrid form (horrid from our point of view) and the bad image that is painted of them in the Mythos literature.

Please listen to the podcast to get a different view and spread the word!

Subscribe on iTunes

Art by Douzen

Interview and Film Feature – The Art of Human Salvage

Posted By on 6. Oktober 2015

So the other day, yet another æthermail came in asking if I would like to feature a dystopian cyberpunk short film called The Art of Human Salvage. I had not heard of it before but it sounded interesting, so I had a look.

Oh my Cthulhu was I in for a surprise. The short subject is not only one fantastic piece of a cyberpunk, it also features none other than Edward James Olmos, a.k.a. Admiral Adama!

Well, now I was interested, and I also got an interview with the creative mind behind it all, Mr. Dempsey Tillman. Please enjoy the interview and the short film:


Please give us a quick introduction about yourself and the project “The Art of Human Salvage”

I’m Dempsey Tillman the director of the scifi short film “The Art of Human Salvage” starring Edward James Olmos, Jamie Walters and Matthew Boylan. The short film is based on the feature screenplay “The Art Of Human Salvage” written by Ted Dewberry. The feature screenplay was a finalist in the 2011 SHRIEKFEST film festival. Ted and I collaborated to develop a short PROOF OF CONCEPT film that we could use to help raise the budget necessary to shoot the feature film. “The Art Of Human Salvage” like my previous short film titled “Collector” can be found on Youtube and Vimeo.

Where can we find you on the web? And where can we find the film and related websites ?

You can find us on the web at There are fun facts, links to the film, behind the scenes pictures and plenty of fun trivia about the film on our site.

Have you done any other projects that we can find on the web?

My previous short film which was a supernatural thriller starring the late Brad Renfro (Apt Pupil, Bully, The Client) won a bunch of film festivals and can be seen on Vimeo at this link:

What were your inspirations (movie, literature etc) for “The Art of Human Salvage”?

Films like Ridley Scott’s “Bladerunner”, Alfonso Cuaron’s “Children of Men” and Luc Besson’s “The 5th Element” inspired the visuals behind our film. A lot of filmmakers talk about how they only had so little money to make their film but I think having such a shoestring budget forces you to be super creative. It forces you to find a way to get the look you want for your film. A look that sometimes connects better with your audience. A look that comes from being grounded and organic.

How long did it take to realize the project from the first idea to the final short film?

After reading the feature screenplay I had all these ideas zooming around in my head. But I knew that to make a good short film I had to focus these wonderful images into something that could work for a short film. Something that could grasp and hold an audience for 10 minutes and also be something that people would say “wow, I want to see more”. Coming up with something like that took a little time but working with Ted, the writer, we were able to hammer it out on paper within a few weeks.

How did you manage to get Edward James Olmos involved? (I am impressed and in awe!)

Yes, we had Academy Award nominated actor Edward James Olmos in our film. He was amazing. How I got him to be in the film was amazing in itself. Let’s just say, I’m a Rubix cube master to some and he was one of my pupils. I can solve a cube in about 1:30 seconds. I taught Edward and Cameron Diaz at the same time. I made a deal with them both that I’d teach them, if they remembered my name so when I contacted them in the future they would read one of my scripts. The rest is history from there.

Is the movie all funded by you or did you have some sponsors?

We had six producer / investors on the short film. They believed in the project at the even at the short film level. It was fully financed by them. They made is possible and that’s why this was a success.

Are there any plans for a follow up short movie or a full-fledged feature film?
If so, are you considering crowd funding to finance the project (I would love to help spreading the word)?

We are working hard to get the feature film funded. It’s a great script. We’ve got an Academy Award nominated actor interested in the project. It’s scifi! We are looking for an investor who wants to make a movie. Crowdfunding is definitely an option, too. So if you know anyone, send them our way.

Have you got any other (more or less related) future project you would like to tell us about?

Yes, I have several other projects that I’m developing besides the “The Art Of Human Salvage” feature film. A supernatural thriller called “The Blade”. It’s basically Constantine meets Jacob’s Ladder. It’s really exciting project. And Ted Dewberry, the writer of “The Art of Human Salvage”, and few of the other producers of the short and I are developing a ALIEN CONSPIRACY project.

Thank you so much for your time, it has been a pleasure!

And now for the movie itself:

The Art of Human Salvage Trailer – Short from Dempsey Tillman on Vimeo.

Pre-Release Book Feature: A Vanishing Glow by Alexis Radcliff

Posted By on 28. September 2015

Today’s book feature is a bit different from the others, because this time I asked the author, if she would like to be featured on my blog. I contacted Alexis Radcliff after reading a short description of her upcoming novel A Vanishing Glow on her personal website. A Vanishing Glow will be released on October 1st, but now on to the author and the novel:

Alexis Radcliff is an author, gamer, unashamed geek, and history junkie who spent the better part of a decade working in tech before dedicating herself to her first love, literature.

Alexis lives and works in the Portland area with her adorable (if surly) cat and her equally adorable fiancé. When not writing, she spends her time reading, running, playing way too many video games, and thinking too much about everything. | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon



Here is a blurb:

A Vanishing Glow is the opening to The Mystech Arcanum series, a blend of steampunk and flintlock fantasy with mature themes. 

It is an Age of Revolution, an Age of Industrialism. Constructs, living men who are as much brass and steel as they are flesh, man the factories and wage the wars of a ruling elite who gorge themselves on the fruits of the common man’s labor. Mystech, a brilliant fusion of magic and machine, gives rise to a new class of privileged inventors and merchants even as the country festers with wounds from decades of internal strife.

Only one man holds the promise of a brighter future: Nole Ryon, the crown prince. When his childhood friend Jason Tern answers his call for aid, the two of them set out to fight for the change their country needs in order to survive, even as shadowy foes frustrate their efforts. But soon, Jason and Nole’s idealistic mission of hope becomes a furious manhunt for a political murderer as the nation balances on the precipice of a country-wide civil war. Can they cut through the threads of intrigue to discover their true enemy before everything is lost?

And here is an excerpt of the first chapter:


Jason Tern slid his rapier free of its sheath as he crouched in the brush with two other blue-coated soldiers, yards away from the lynching.

One construct already hung from the solitary oak tree in the clearing before them, dead, still twitching like a marionette on the branch, while his companion screamed, fighting for his life. Two burly men in leather work vests held the remaining construct fast, one to each side, while the ringleader tightened a noose under his chin. Sunlight glinted off the brass-and-steel arm restrained behind the construct’s back as he struggled against his captors. The ringleader stooped to gather the end of the rough hempen rope and tossed it into the air. It arced over a thick branch of the tree, beside the first rope, and sailed back down into his calloused hands. He yanked hard, and their captive jerked with a strangled gasp.

“I count five of them,” Jason whispered. He and his Windriders would have the element of surprise if they stepped in now. The workmen looked more like common thugs than real fighters—bullies who’d talk big while they had the upper hand, but would back down quickly from the business end of a sword.

“Five is two more than we have, and they all have clubs,” Albas grumbled. He spit his tobacco into the dirt and pulled his cap low over his eyes. “I don’t like those odds if it comes to a fight. We should wait for our outriders.”

“It won’t come to a fight.” Their grizzled sergeant, Lugan, loosened his sword in his scabbard and drew his flintlock pistol. “Trust an old veteran. Those men are cowards.”

The construct screamed again as the two remaining men joined the ringleader and prepared to hoist him into the air. He kicked and scrabbled at the dirt, jerking from side to side. His captors gritted their teeth and held on. The construct wasn’t a large man—scrawny and pale with a mop of dark hair; Istkherian, judging by the style of his factory-made clothes. He would have been no threat at all to the burly men surrounding him, except for the long, skeletal arm with the joins and pistons visible which protruded from the stump of his shoulder. His construct arm lacked the plated armoring or reinforced leverage of a war model. It was stronger than an average man’s arm, but not strong enough to break free of their grip, and little help against a hanging once they had him strung up.

“I won’t stand by while they kill him,” Jason said. Not unless the council approves it, and this doesn’t look sanctioned.

“Your call, Captain.” Albas drew his own pistol. “Let’s just hope they don’t have friends hanging back. Numbers have a way of curing cowardice.”

Jason plunged through the foliage into the open air of the clearing, sword at the ready, with Lugan and Albas close behind him.

“Stop what you’re doing, in the name of the Council of Ghavarim,” he called out.

Everyone froze, eyes popping wide, and stared at the long iron barrels his men had trained on them. The end of the hemp rope slid out of the ringleader’s fingers and dropped onto the ground with a tiny puff of dust.

Jason gestured toward the construct. “What’s going on here?”

“Who are you?” The ringleader squinted at them suspiciously over the tip of his pinched nose. His workman’s outfit had seen better days, and a thick wooden cudgel swung from a loop attached to his belt. “Those aren’t Crimson Fist uniforms you’re wearing.”

Another of the men with a face like sanded leather and a touch of gray at his temples coughed. “Those jackets—They’re Windriders. Militia-men, from Fen. Windriders haven’t been this far south of the border since the Ordist rebellion. What are you doing here?”

“I believe the Captain asked you the same question… And we have the guns.” Albas cocked his pistol and flashed them a crooked, yellow grin that was anything but warm.

Jason waved him down. They needed to defuse the stand-off; not trade banter. “I’m Captain Jason Tern, Lord of Fen, traveling to Adaron on council business. We heard shouts from the road and came to investigate.”

“These men are from Lagrish,” Lugan said. Jason nodded his agreement. Their southern accents had marked them clearly. Lagrish had never been friendly to constructs, but when had murdering them in broad daylight become acceptable?

“Yes, we are. Honest Lagrishmen.” The pinched-face man stuck his chest out and jerked a thumb at the constructs. “And these men are thieves, my lord. We’re having our justice.”

“I’m not a thief, I’m not!” The construct began to struggle again. “And neither was Peter! These men jumped—” He cut off with a muffled grunt as one of the men holding him cuffed him.

“You must have mislaid your magistrate’s robes.” Lugan turned his pistol toward the man who’d struck the blow. “Touch him again before you’ve explained yourselves and my finger might get itchy.”

“What did he steal?” Jason would eat his belt if the construct had actually taken anything from these thugs, but protocol required hearing both sides. He’d have to make a decision here. They didn’t have the manpower to drag all six of these men into Adaron for a judge to sort out. The ringleader opened his mouth but stopped as Jason held up his hand. “Not you.” He pointed to the youngest of the five men, standing a little back from the others in the clearing. “You.”

The sandy-haired youth’s eyes grew even wider. He licked his lips, throwing a worried glance at his comrades. “Er… well. That is… our jobs, I suppose.”

“He stole your jobs?” Jason wasn’t sure he’d heard him right.

“Our livelihoods!” The pinched-face man broke in again, shooting the boy a dirty look. He shifted nervously. “Pity, lord. You’re an Easterner. You must know how it is back East. We came from the Giltland to find work in Adaron, but it’s just as bad up here as it is down there. The capital is crawling with Western junkers like this claptrap, and they’re soaking up all the jobs because their freakish bits let them work faster. These two Istkherian constructs took our jobs and laughed at us as we were turned out.”

Are you excited about A Vanishing Glow? You can get it here.


Review: The SEA is Ours: Tales of Steampunk Southeast Asia

Posted By on 20. September 2015

This is the aforementioned Steampunk from Asia Part II.

As you may have noticed by the amount of book features I post, I get a lot of review requests recently, most of which I have to turn down because of time constraints. I do literature reviews on request only in exceptional circumstances. Enter The SEA is Ours: Tales of Steampunk Southeast Asia.



I have not been so excited about an anthology in a long time. As is obvious from the title, the anthology is a collection of tales set in Southeast Asia and the writers are from there, too. Those tales are authentic and not done by some Western European/North American authors, trying a setting different from the usual (i.e. Europe, Old West, British Empire).

To me, reading them from a European perspective, the short stories contained in the anthology are wonderfully different, and they open your eyes to the view of those who were on the receiving end of colonialism. It is a whole different view and it is a completely different way to tackle Steampunk.

You get Buddhist spirituality, organic technology, spirits, fauna adapted to a certain kind of ore, alchemy, music and technology and so much more.

I cannot even say which one of the stories is my favourite. Each one is unique in their own way. There are some in there that I found more fun to read than others. Some of them are really sad, one becomes pretty predictable after a certain point but each opens vistas you simply do not get in the usual Steampunk tale.

The SEA is Ours: Tales of Steampunk Southeast Asia is beautiful, exciting, and it makes your inner Steampunk landscape more complete. It also reminds you that there are cultures in this part of the world Europeans and North Americans usually know so little about, that are older than our own, that have their own histories, stories and ways to deal with the world.

The SEA is Ours: Tales of Steampunk Southeast Asia takes you on a fantastic journey east, to lands unknown to most of us and shows you things you will not forget.

There can be only one verdict for this anthology:
10 out of 10 Zeppelins and the badge of honour!


Get it here and then visit them on Facebook!

Steampunk from Asia Part I – James Ng strikes again

Posted By on 14. September 2015

Today’s post is part one of two concerning Steampunk out of Asia.

If you have been following my blog for a while, you are familiar with James Ng, I have featured his work on a number of occasions before and I recommend you visit his website and follow him on Twitter.

If you have not heard of James before, here is a short introduction:

James Ng (pronounced Ing) was born in Hong Kong, where he spent most of his childhood drawing monsters and robots, making his own elaborate cardboard toys, and playing soccer. Ever since, he has been on the move between Hong Kong, Vancouver, Chicago and New York. His travels have greatly influenced him, allowing him to combine Eastern and Western cultures in his artwork.

Currently James is enjoying the freedom of being a freelance concept artist and illustrator.

James’ work has been featured in several exhibitions and at conventions, including Steamcon in Seattle and has also won several awards.

James art is heavily influenced by his cultural background, just as the art of European and other artists around the world is. So his interpretation of Steampunk is different from what you usually see, have a look at this tiny sample of his work:

So please, pay his website a visit, there are also links to his exhibitions and follow him on Twitter, where he is rather active.

And concerning Part 2 of Steampunk from Asia, next up is a review of an anthology by Asian Steampunk writers set in Asia.

Professor Elemental’s #ApeQuest – Lend your support!

Posted By on 9. September 2015

The honourable gentleman, scholar, rhymer and all around splendid fellow Professor Elemental is up to something again. As always, his trusted side-kick Geoffrey is by his side… No, wait, Geoffrey has been lost in space and time, but let the good Professor explain the situation himself:

As a mad professor living in a tumbledown mansion somewhere in Sussex, it’s only right that I should have an orangutan butler named Geoffrey. Sadly, two albums ago, Geoffrey stole my time travel trousers and got lost in space and time. Now, it’s up to me to track him down. Can I find Geoffrey before it’s too late? And who is going to help me on my strangest and most exciting adventure yet? Find out in this unique Hip Hop album…

So, in order to get this album under way and find Geoffrey, the Professor needs our help. We all must stand together and make


our combined endeavour and shared success! Let us find Geoffrey! Let us enjoy yet another fantastic album by Professor Elemental!

Epic adventures and great perks await everybody who lends a hand or a pound or two, check out the campaign !

I have already done my part to find Geoffrey, now it is your turn. Be part of something great, you know you want to!

Come on, the perks alone…

The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing announce UK Tour!

Posted By on 3. September 2015


Well, well, look at that. My other favorite Steampunk Band is going on tour in the UK, and they are also about to release a new album (and the release show is already sold out), here’s a teaser track:

Following the album’s sold out launch show at Camden’s Barfly on 9th September, TMTWNBBFN will be heading to the Isle Of Wight (that’s a place I need to visit one day, coming to think of it) to rile up the crowd at Bestival before going into full tour mode in November.

If you are lucky enough to live nearby or in driving distance, tickets are available via the band’s official website and you can check out the full list of dates below:

9th Sept – The Barfly – Camden, London
Album Launch (SOLD OUT)

11th Sept – Bestival – Isle Of Wight

17th Nov – The Musician – Leicester

18th Nov – Talking Heads – Southampton

19th Nov – The Fulford Arms – York

20th Nov – Think Tank – Newcastle

22nd Nov – Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar – Brighton

24th Nov – Ruby Lounge – Manchester

25th Nov – Stereo – Glasgow

26th Nov – The Oobleck – Birmingham

27th Nov – Bullingdon – Oxford

28th Nov – Louisiana – Bristol

13th Dec – Steampunk Yule Ball, The Phoenix, Exeter


So get yourselves to one of the concerts, you know you want to.

I also just found that such notables as Neil Gaiman, Alan Moore, Robert Rankin and Phil Jupitus are among their fans. My word. If this does not get you interested in The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing, I do not know what will.


Band photo via A Badge of Friendship, with kind permission

Non-Euclidean Æthercast #32 – A very Cyberpunk interview with Matthew de Abaitua

Posted By on 31. August 2015

Today’s podcast follows the happy and unfortunately long neglected line of posts on this blog dealing with the publications of the Angry Robot Books.

I have the pleasure of welcoming Matthew de Abaitua as my interview partner today, whose cyberpunk novel If Then will be published by Angry Robot Books on September 3rd.

If Then by Matthew de Abaitua

Please enjoy the podcast!

Subscribe on iTunes

LZ-X1 Württemberg_Werft

And now for some things mentioned in the podcast:

This is the short subject Doctor Easy we were talking about:

Dr. Easy from Shynola on Vimeo.

Again, you can find If Then at Angry Robot books.

And these are the other works we mentioned:





Review: Cryptex Version 2.0 – Almost like a Pocket Watch

Posted By on 25. August 2015

After getting my hands on the first version of the Cryptex and reviewing it, it was only a matter of time until the collection was extended. I am now also the proud and delighted owner of the next generation Cryptex USB drive in a flat, round brass shell which doubles rather nicely as a pocket watch substitute in the waistcoat of your choice and thus bridging from Steampunk right to Cyberpunk:


Absolutely delightful!

Storage capacity on the USB drive is 16 GB which is more than adequate for the kind of files I carry around with me. This version of the Cryptex has since become a constant companion, attached to a decorative chain, on every occasion when I am wearing a waistcoat.

The perfect accessory for the discerning Steampunk lady or gentleman with an affinity towards cyberspace.

10/10 Zeppelins and the badge of honour


And if you want to get one, it is available at, just like the first one, of course!