Posts Tagged ‘graphic novel’

On August 15, I did an introduction to steampunk literature presentation at the Bolivar-Harpers Ferry Public Library. I had a great time and hope the attendees did too!  There were some great questions and the library pulled together a wonderful collection to check out!

Here are some photos from the event (photos provided by Charlma Quarles with permission, copyright 2013).

Library Steampunk Event 1 - (c) Quarles 2013 Library Steampunk Event 2 - (c) Quarles 2013 Library Steampunk Event 3 - (c) Quarles 2013  Library Steampunk Event 5 - (c) Quarles 2013

Steampunk Literature event at Bolivar-Harpers Ferry Public Library August 15, 2013

Steampunk Literature event at Bolivar-Harpers Ferry Public Library August 15, 2013


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Review – Clockwork Watch – The Arrival

Original Story:  Yomi Ayeni
Adapted by:  Corey Brotherson
Artwork, Lettering and Cover by:  Jennie Gyllblad
Title Design by: Fabio Duarte Martins

This beautifully drawn and conceived graphic novel is set in Victorian England, close to the end of Queen Victoria’s life.

The story begins:

“London. Steam billows out from every corner of the city while huge Zeppelin airships float in the sky overhead. Enter the world of Clockwork Watch, a place where Victorian values are coupled with anachronistic technology, not the least of which are the Clockwork Servants – the mechanical slaves that keep this society ticking along – this is the world of Steampunk.”

The novel has all the hallmarks of the steampunk genre, which are apparent in the opening lines, but there is a twist which sets it apart from most steampunk plots. The hero, Janav, arrives in London with his family from Calcutta. His father, Chan Ranbir, is the Head of Sciences at Calcutta University, who is working on a project called “Clockwork.” Janav meets an automaton named “B” whom he promptly renames Ashwin, which is the name of Janav’s best friend in Calcutta.

Unfortunately, Janav quickly encounters people and events which both anger and frighten him.

What happens next? The reader is given some clues, but certainly has more questions, about Janav’s future and the role Ashwin Number Two has in it.

There is an introduction by the creator, Yomi Ayeni, as well as an article by Corey Brotherson about the art of adaptation. Design, illustration and concepts by Jennie Gyllblad round out the publication.

I learned about this project via a IndieGoGo promotion in 2011, and it has been fascinating following the team as it produced not only the graphic novel, but the entirety of its production to create a transmedia experience.  IndieGoGo named this project one of its best of 2011.

By way of full disclosure, I did make a contribution and am very pleased with the result. I’m looking forward to the next installment!

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Time was I would see a word like “dystopia” look it up, move on and I wouldn’t see the word again for years. This week, I have read the word in almost every media format from newspapers to magazine, online listings, movie and book reviews and tweets. Is the universe giving me a clue? Is dystopia the new black? Or is my usual fare of historical murder mysteries not dystopian, by definition?

It started with a review of The Hunger Games. Then the Smithsonian magazine. Finally, The New York Times Book Review listings for Print/Children’s Best Sellers under Paperback Books and Series the number one book reviews for both categories contained the word dystopia:

“Divergent, by Veronica Rogh … A teenager must prove her mettle in a dystopia split …”
“The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins … In a dystopia, a girl fights”

Egads! Am I a fatalist?

It is interesting that both utopia and dystopia are frequently incorporated into the science fiction genre, i.e., it is not real, people! However, it may be even more interesting that dystopia is also a medical condition where there is a “malposition of an anatomical part” according to Merriam-Webster. But the Smithsonian used the word as if it is a future state of being as in “[l]ately our future seems to have grown more dystopian, worst-case scenarios waiting for us at every turn.” (BTW, I would highly recommend reading this issue. There are articles about or by Richard Clarke, E.O. Wilson, Bruce Sterling, the Futurist art and transhumanist movements, Arthur Radebaugh, and Neal Stephenson, not to mention Casanova, proms, giant snakes, and Libyan women.)

So as I wade more deeply into the steampunk genre, should I wear a life jacket?

Tom Sawyer cross-bows designed and crafted by Pith Helmet Provisions, as well as the new graphic novel version of Soulless by Gail Carriger are available at Steam at Harper’s Ferry.

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