Steampunked K-9

K-1889 by James Richardson-Brown

After the steampunked Dalek last week, I felt I really must share this extremely cute reimagined K9. The artist James Richardson-Brown created it for a piece of Doctor Who fan-fiction entitled Time and Tide.

It looks to me as if he’s used the Character Options remote controlled K9 as a base.

Just when I thought that the Doctor’s mechanical mutt couldn’t go more retro…

Source

Published in: on February 10, 2010 at 2:44 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“You have exterminated me sir!”

Steampunked Dalek by Peter Michael Tulay

And just because I’m a Doctor Who geek, ladies and gentlemen I present a steampunked son of Skaro…

(via Ancient and Forever)

Published in: on February 4, 2010 at 4:21 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Of Osirian oddities and murderous mannequins

After nearly five years of marriage my long-suffering wife has stopped rolling her eyes when the postman delivers yet another package to our door. There’s every chance that the contents are completely useless, infinitely geeky and will soon be cluttering the already groaning shelves of my study.

Toy trouble - One of Sutekh's Mummies arrives to clutter our courageous writer's shelves

Today’s arrival was a case in point. I was far more excited than a 36-year old man should be in pulling a new Doctor Who action figure out of a box. But what a delightful little chap if you’re a fan of the 1975 Pyramids of Mars. For those who aren’t in the know, the TARDIS lands in 1911 to find a priory somewhere in England menaced by robotic mummies, servants of the Osirian extra-terrestrial and part-time Egyptian god Sutekh the Destroyer who is banged up on the Red Planet.

The first clip I ever saw of this Doctor Who story was a hapless poacher getting his head crushed between two of these shambling monstrosities, an image that replayed in my nightmares for years to come. Of course when I saw it again years later, there was much less blood than I remember – well, none to be precise – but the mummies themselves were just as impressive, lumbering through an anonymous British forest to do away with Mr Bronson from Grange Hill or setting out forcefields generators hidden in canoptic jars.

In the picture above you can also see the dasterley Weng-Chiang and his Peking Homunculus in the background. As mentioned before, Doctor Who adventures such as Pyramids and The Talons of Weng-Chiang led, in part, to my love of Victorian fantasy and science fiction. I’m giddy with excitement therefore that Big Finish, that redoubtable audio-drama company that has employed me from time to time over the years, is launching a series focused around two of my favourite characters from Talons: Henry Gordon Jago, master of ceremonies at the Alhambra Theatre and eminent pathologist, Professor George Litefoot. The duo were reunited last year for the first time since 1977 in The Mahogany Murderers by Andy Lane. This two-hander has proved so successful that four more audio adventures are due to hit stores in June.

I cannot recommend The Mahogany Murderers enough. It’s an extremely steampunky tale of homicidal wooden automata and develish-doings by the darkest denizens of Victorian London. Both Christopher Benjamin and Trevor Baxter easily slip back into their roles of Jago and Litefoot respectively and the stage is set for more infernal investigations. Roll on June I say.

THE STEAMBLOG BOOKSHOP

The Mahogany Murderers
by Andy Lane
Big Finish (2009)

Click here for Amazon.co.uk –
– Click here for Amazon.com –

Published in: on February 1, 2010 at 3:28 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Welcome

I’ve always loved the gas-lit streets of Victorian England, swathed in their constant claustrophobic pea-soupers and populated by screws, peelers and muck snipes. As a child, it seemed such an exciting world, so different to our own and yet so peculiarly similar. After all, our great grandparents were Victorians weren’t they? The alien shore of the past was still within our reach.

My family’s religious heritage probably helped. I was brought up in a Salvationist home, our line going right back to the early day’s of William Booth’s movement. Even growing up in the 70s, the Salvation Army of the day had much in common with its Victorian roots – the uniforms, military terminology and brass bands. The links to yesteryear were firm.

Then a few years ago, I first heard the phrase Steampunk, that strange sub-division of speculative fiction that re-imagines the Victorian age. What if the denizens of the late 19th century had technology from beyond their years – robots, computers and even spaceships? In this fantastic world you are just as likely to encounter an alien as you would an unfortunate in the grimy district of Whitechapel.

The dreaded Peking Homunculus and a dodgy rat threaten a very Victorian Doctor

It was like coming home. You see, I had been a fan of Steampunk long before I’d even heard the term, thanks largely to a cult British TV series known as Doctor Who. For years I had followed the time-travelling Doctor back to Victorian Britain to encounter mummies from Mars, static electrical space-portals and the devilish Peking Homunculus.

Then there was Hammer Horror. Those late night fright-fests watched when Mum and Dad thought I’d gone to sleep introduced me to Christopher Lee menacing the likes of Terry from Minder in a strange world where bosoms always seemed to be heaving and the night sky looked suspiciously like funny-coloured daylight. Baron Frankenstein was up to no-good in stiff collars and even more mummies stomped and smashed their way through balsa sets. Sublime.

Both Hammer and Doctor Who also introduced me to the occupants of 221B Baker Street as Tom Baker swapped his scarf and capacious pockets for a deerstalker and Cushing and Lee romped over Surrey, doing their best to pretend it was Dartmoor. By the time Jeremy Brett made his first, oh-so-beautifully arrogant appearance I was hooked.

So here, is my occasional tribute to steampunk, steampulp, gaslight fantasy, neo-victoriana or whatever you want to call the ever-growing and ever-changing genre. Along the way we’ll take in Holmes, horror and maybe even some proper history to boot.

It’s going to be the most singular adventure.

Drive on cabby!

Published in: on January 23, 2010 at 6:38 pm  Leave a Comment  
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