Last weekend was the first ever Incredible, Indelible, Festival of Curiosities and Wonders: Eastbourne Steampunk Festival!
There was a great atmosphere at the event all weekend, and some superb entertainment on offer throughout both days and at the Masquerade Ball on Saturday night at the Wintergardens.
Steampunk is a subgenre that takes as its departure point the idea of Victorian-styled Science Fiction. Imagine the world had continued without electricity, everything being powered by steam and clockwork mechanisms. But throw into that world the Sci-fi imagination of airship pirates, cyborgs, automatons, machines gone wrong, experiments in time travel and bringing the dead back to life as just a few examples of the possibilities at play. Early Victorian science fiction literature, such as H.G Wells’ The Time Machine and War of the Worlds, and Jules Verne’s Journey to the Centre of the Earth and The Steam House are cited as ‘steampunk’s forefathers’ in Henry Winchester’s book Steampunk (Flame Tree Publishing, 2014). And its roots reach right back to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, published in 1818.
Opportunities for storytelling abound in the steampunk world.
In designing and creating my own costume, I really found myself getting to grips with characterisation – building a steampunk character who would become my alter-ego throughout the event. She’s a Madame Blavatsky type figure – a gothic, Victorian-occult-underworld travelling storyteller. She’s an illusionist who can be found on both sides of the mirror: she slinks in the shadows and glitters in the moonlight. As yet, she doesn’t have a fully developed name or story, but I’ll be developing the idea further for a steampunk story I’m writing called Sisters of the Moon.
Here’s a picture taken by event photographer Wil Wardle:
I had the opportunity to tell a selection of my stories that seemed to fit with the event. Specifically, The Girl With the Clockwork Heart, which was written especially for it. It’s my own steampunk version of Sleeping Beauty, and I’ve been getting some good feedback on it. There were others too, Tom Tick-Tock and Slippers – crazy versions of Rumpelstiltskin and Cinderella which also worked with the steampunk theme.
My comfort zone was stretched to its limit as I had to share stories I’d never shared before, in ways that I wasn’t used to working. But it was a good learning experience and it’s fueled me with ideas for the future. So watch this space for news and developments on those and other stories 🙂
And I hope to see you there again next year!