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It's Steampunk Week at Tor.com!

I'm excited and pleased to see that friend-of-SPWS, Ay-leen the Peacemaker, has taken the helm for this year's Steampunk Week at Tor Books blog

With steampunk “hitting the mainstream,” the big question nowadays has changed from “What is steampunk?”* to “Where is it going?” To help address this question, Liz Gorinsky has kindly passed the mantle of Tor.com steampunk curator to me this year. Although this is only a week-long theme, I’ve packed it to the brim with contributions from both established and up-and-coming voices in the steampunk community. I’m especially proud of the diverse range of voices worldwide who offer a look at steampunk from various angles — from Eurocentric to multicultural, artsy to lowbrow, politics to fandom, and everything in between. Hopefully, you’ll have as much fun reading this week as I’ve had assembling it.

Mystic Radio - Hendrick's Gin Curate a Box Give Away

Nearly a year ago the nice folks at Hendrick's Gin contacted me to see if I'd like to do a box for their "Curate a Box" contest give away. Well, I had never tasted their product so I demurred until I had a chance to sample it at last year's SteamCon in Seattle. In fact fellow SPWS editor Libby Bulloff and I consumed quite a bit of it while we prepped for our "Queering Steampunk Fashion" panel.

The box is finally done and you should keep an eye out at Unusual Times to find out how you can win it!

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Heart of Iron - Ekaterina Sedia

I got to meet and sit on a panel with the lovely Ekaterina Sedia this past May and was lucky to receive an advanced copy of Heart of Iron. Alas my daughter grabbed it the moment I came home from The Steampunk World's Faire so I've yet to read it but Alchemy of Stone was so good I'm sure I'm going to love it.

"In a Russia where the Decembrists' rebellion was successful and the Trans-Siberian railroad was completed before 1854, Sasha Trubetskaya wants nothing more than to have a decent debut ball in St. Petersburg. But her aunt's feud with the emperor lands Sasha at university, where she becomes one of its first female students - an experiment, she suspects, designed more to prove female unsuitability for such pursuits than offer them education. The pressure intensifies when Sasha's only friends - Chinese students - start disappearing, and she begins to realize that her new British companion, Jack, has bigger secrets than she can imagine! Sasha and Jack find themselves trying to stop a war brewing between the three empires. The only place they can turn to for help is the Heavenly Kingdom of Great Peace, newly founded by the Taiping rebels. Pursued by the terrifying Dame Florence Nightingale of the British Secret Service, Sasha and Jack escape across Siberia via train to China. Sasha discovers that Jack is not quite the person she thought he was...but then again, neither is she."

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Hey Portland! Savor Cakes Kickstarter


People send me their kickstarter projects all of the time and sometimes I'm in and sometimes I'm not. I only promote the ones that I actually contribute to.
I can't wait to taste a Savor Cake!

Strange Hours Atelier

Strange Hours Atelier One of the things that I like most about going to Steampunk events is that I get to meet people that I've known online for years--in person for the first time.

Earlier this year the city of Waltham, Massachusetts hosted The Interntional Steampunk City event. This was a city-wide celebration of everything Steampunk to benefit The Charles River Museum of Industry & Innovation

But a highlight of this event for me was getting to meet Chronographia von Strangehours of Strange Hours Atelier.  Chronographia brought with her some of the most amazing hats and we had a nice time hanging out and talking about all snd sundry, but mostly Doctor Who which turns out to be a shared interest!

Click through for a gallery of awesome hats!

Splendid!! Professor Elemental

I was sorely dissapointed that I was not able to spend  time with the lovely Professor Elemental at the Steampunk World's Fair this year. I only got the briefest of "Hellos!" in as we passed in the hallway heading to our events. It's nice to see that the Professor is doing well, in fact, everything seems SPLENDID!!

The Shack is Back! - Our own Meredith Scheff for Radio Shack

I am so happy that Radio Shack has made the decision to return to it's roots and I'm even happier that they've tapped our own Meredith Scheff to help them tell the world about it!

The Oomphalapompatronium!

My friend and fellow citizen of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Len Solomon demostrates his Oomphalapompatronium! 

StarBoards now live in the SparkFun shop!

Remember more than a year ago when I posted this? Well, since then I've partnered up with SparkFun (purveyers of enchanting electronics) and now they're finally available for sale! I still have my solderably conductive thread and will have special kits made up with StarBoards soon. 

Solderable conductive thread

I've been experimenting with materials for Etextiles for a long time, and one of the biggest issues is conductive thread. It's one of the most important parts of an Etextile project- but it's inevitable hard to work with, for several reasons. The thread by it's very nature is hard to sew and prone to fraying; and secondly the way it is produced leads it to having very high resistance, making lines more than a foot long very difficult to run power through. Lastly, since most of it is actually nylon (or some other synthetic) it's non-solderable, which leads to having to make knots to attach it to components.

So imagine my joy when I found this stuff! I found out about it through a friend who had gotten a sample, but he had written it off as unobtanium. I got it through almost a year of emailing back and forth with the company that makes it. They weren't keen on selling small amounts to an individual, but eventually I think they just sold me some to shut me up (this is a useful skill I've acquired). 

This stuff is great. It's actually extremely thin, flat strands of wire wrapped around a kevlar core- so It's solderable! The soldering melts the kevlar but the strands hold up nicely. It works OK in an industrial straight-stitch machine (what we have at Noisebridge) and I'm pretty sure It'd work OK in the bobbin of a home machine. The real kicker is that it has very low resistance- 2.5ohms a yard! 

Comparatively, Lamé Lifesaver (my former go-to for thread) has 36ohms a yard and AnioMagic (another good brand) is 24ohms a yard. It's making planning out things like dresses and skirts much easier, not having to figure in an extra couple hundred Ohms in the process. 

I have a bunch of 5 yard samples up for sale in my Etsy store. They're $5, but if you send me a really, really good story about what you're going to do with it and how it's going to be awesome and save the world, I'll send you one for the cost of shipping ($2). I'll only be doing 5 of these.

 

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