Technology with attitude

Steamcon II: Steampunk Convention in Seattle this weekend

Steampunk Aeronautics mask. Photo: flickr user Everfalling.

Ever wondered what the Victorian era  might have been like if history had taken a slightly different turn?

That question is the key concept behind the Steampunk movement, a science fiction sub-genre that imagines an alternate Victorian Age filled with dirigibles, steam-powered war machines, and some truly old school lo-tech gadgets. It’s a movement that has entered the spotlight with the likes of The Golden Compass (both the film and Philip Pullman’s excellent novels) and the occasional misguided Hollywood movie (we’re looking at you, Wild, Wild West), but – if you’ll pardon the pun – it currently seems to be gathering a head of steam.

This weekend, November 19-21, 2010, will see the second Steamcon take place in Seattle, threatening to turn the city into the capital of the new genre in the process. Last year’s event was a resounding success, and with local authors like Cherie Priest taking up the Steampunk mantle, Seattle is certainly a city that’s on those alternate Victorian maps.

Steamcon II also has some impressive guest speakers this year, including writer James Blaylock (arguably the author of the first American Steampunk story, 1977’s ‘The Ape-box Affair’), Steampunk artist Jake Von Slatt, veteran game designer Shane Hensley, and, of course, Cherie Priest. With events organized throughout the weekend – including the Airship Awards banquet on Friday night – and a merchandise hall packed with Victorian headgear and curious inventions, it promises to be an exciting and unique convention.

If you haven’t yet registered for Steamcon II, you can still buy memberships from the convention door at the Hilton, starting at 10:00am on November 19. Adult memberships for the full weekend cost $55, or individual day memberships are available for $20-$25. Discounted memberships are offered for teens. Check the Steamcon schedule for full details of the convention.

If this year’s ZomBCon zombie convention was anything to go by, Steamcon II should be a blast. Just keep an eye out for low-flying airships.

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