Traveler's Steampunk Blog

res ætheris exploramus

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!

Book Feature: Guns and Guano by Andrew Knighton

Posted By on 17. August 2015

And so we continue to work on the æthermails that accumulated during my absence with another piece of literature, this time on the light-hearted side of things:

Guns and Guano by Andrew Knighton

Dirk Dynamo is enjoying a life of learning with the gentlemen adventurers of the Epiphany Club. Joining an expedition to find the Great Library of Alexandria, Dirk finds himself on the island of Hakon, where colonial life is not what it seems. With monsters in the jungle, conspiracies in the mansion and ninjas dogging his trail, can Dirk and his friends find the first clue to the Library before they meet a deadly fate?

Guns and Guano Cover

This is the short of it, now for the long, i.e. an excerpt, the prologue:

Prologue: Paris in the Spring

Dirk Dynamo sat outside a small café, watching the people of Paris go by. He smiled as a waitress appeared. Real coffee had been a rare treat during the Civil War and now he made the most of it whenever he could. Just because he still wore his old blue trousers didn’t mean he had to live like a soldier.
“Thank you, ma’am.” He leaned over the back of the chair into his leather jacket, pulling out a couple of coins. The waitress’s eyes widened as she saw the revolver hanging there, a hefty custom-made Gravemaker. It was worth more than all Dirk’s well worn clothes put together, and carried more menace than his bulging muscles.
“Can I get you anything else, monsieur?” She smiled at Dirk and tucked back her hair as he handed her the cash. Dirk knew enough to know that the smile was for his rugged looks, not just the money. But he also knew it was rude to make a move on a waitress while she was working.
“No thank you, ma’am,” he said.
The gangling figure of Sir Timothy Blaze-Simms emerged from the crowd, clutching a briefcase to his chest. He peered around him through wire-rimmed spectacles, unruly blond curls threatening to block his view. Dirk leaned back a little, hand inching towards his holster.
“What ho, Dynamo!” Blaze-Simms exclaimed as he sank into a wrought-iron seat.
“Tim,” Dirk said with a nod. “You oversleep?”
“I’m afraid so,” Blaze-Simms replied in a crisp upper-English accent. “Am I terribly late?”
“You’re buttoned up wrong.”
The Englishman looked down. None of his tailcoat’s buttons were through the right holes.
“I say, Dirk, good spot.” He set about re-dressing himself. “Was I followed?”
Dirk nodded again, still watching the crowd. Four men had appeared discreetly around the street, all wearing grey suits so precisely nondescript as to become conspicuous in this most vibrant city.
“Are they still following me?”
“Have been all night.” Dirk recognised one from the lobby of the hotel, another from the restaurant where they’d eaten. They were almost certainly the shadowy figures he’d lost on the way back from the museum. And then there were the four he’d tracked back to their room this morning.
“So what now?” Blaze-Simms nibbled at the corner of a croissant, dropping flakes of pastry down himself.
“Now they pounce.”
“What makes you say that?”
“They change shifts every four hours. Right about now these folks are realising that the next lot ain’t coming.”
As if to punctuate the point, a shot rang out, raising dust from the ground by Dirk’s boot. The morning crowd scattered, revealing the four men now carrying revolvers.
“The Dane says hello,” one of the men called out. “And that you won’t be leaving Paris with those blueprints.”
“Oh bother.” Blaze-Simms put down his half-eaten croissant.
“You got the Gauss Generator?” Dirk murmured.
Blaze-Simms flung his case onto the table and flipped the lid. There was a high-pitched hum followed a split second later by the sharp retort of gunshots. Suddenly the table was surrounded by bullets, hanging motionless in a crackling halo of light. Dirk stared at them, impressed.
“Better act quickly,” Blaze-Simms said. “I don’t know how long it can-”
Dirk was already vaulting the table, kicking the first gunman with both feet. As they crashed to the ground he rolled and rose into the next guy, sending him flying with an uppercut.
A hail of cutlery flew as if by magic from the café, tinkling like a wind-chime factory in a hurricane. It halted abruptly as it hit the glowing web around Blaze-Simms, who gulped as smoke trickled from the case.
Dirk caught the second attacker’s gun as it fell, and swept a third man’s legs out with a low kick. Still turning, he flung the pistol into the face of the last gunman. There was a crunch and the man sank to the ground, blood spurting from the ruin of his nose.
A halo of metal hung in the air around the table, from butter knives to loose change to the thick disc of a manhole cover, all suspended in the glowing corona of the magnetic field. A steel bollard shook loose of its base and shot across the pavement trailing sparks. As it hit there was a flash, the aura disappeared and the case on the table burst into flames. There was a clatter of falling cutlery and the bollard hit the cobbles with a clang, making Blaze-Simms jump.
Dirk strolled back to the café, casually kicking one of the goons as he passed. He sat back down next to Blaze-Simms, who was beating out the fire with a copy of the Times.
“Mademoiselle?” Dirk said, waving over the nervous-looking waitress. There would be other agents watching, and he had the Epiphany Club’s reputation to protect. “More coffee please, and some water for the fire.”

About the author:

Andrew is a Yorkshire based freelance writer, responsible for writing many books in other people’s names. He’s had over forty stories published in his own name in places such as Daily Science Fiction and Wily Writers. His steampunk adventure series, The Epiphany Club, is out now in all ebook formats, and the first volume, Guns and Guano, is available for free from Amazon or Smashwords. You can find out more about his writing at and follow him on Twitter where he’s @gibbondemon .

The Resurrectionist – Upcoming horror short film

Posted By on 8. August 2015

A while ago I featured the horror short film Love is a Grave. Now the company behind this movie is up to something new:
The Resurrectionist.

The year is 1868. In a swamp near the Louisiana Line, a man goes to the Crossroads to resurrect his lover.

And that is already everything known up to this point. The teaser trailer already looks promising, take a look:

There is an upcoming Indigogo campaign, starting at the 17th of August, I keep you posted and will follow this closely myself. It is not quite Herbert West, but hey, you can’t have Cthulhu and his Mythos everywhere, can you?

Minutes at the Edge #10 – The Geeks Shall Inherit the Solar System

Posted By on 3. August 2015

Today’s episode of Minutes at the Edge is a very happy one. I talk about the New Horizon mission to Pluto, the discoveries made and the geek fest the people at NASA had naming the geological structures they found on Pluto and Charon.
Please enjoy this shiny podcast!




And here are some links for further reading (all highly recommended):