Tag: History

Worldbuilding Wednesday 4/3/19: Steampunk Novels

Steampunk, a term coined in the mid-1980s, is a catch-all term for artistic design and subject matter that harks back to the Victorian Age, when steam-powered machinery and clockwork mechanisms began to drive the Industrial Revolution. The term was invented by SF writer K.W. Jeter in a tongue-in-cheek reference to Cyberpunk. But the term and …

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Jet Age [Reading Challenge 2019]

Jet Age: The Comet, the 707, and the Race to Shrink the World by Sam Howe Verhovek Avery, 2010 [Challenge # 25: A book in which airplanes figure prominently.] Hubris and aviation have a long, intertwined history together. Overconfidence in a flight control system most likely caused the recent crashes of a Boeing 737 Max …

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Worldbuilding Wednesday 2/27/19: Let’s Talk About Chicago

I’ve always thought Chicago had a special ring to it. It’s both soft, and hard, and rolls easily off the tongue (as I also noted for the name Christopher.) It improves any other word it’s paired with. The Chicago Cubs. Chicago pizza. Chicago Transit Authority. It’s the subject of a famous poem that is famously …

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Inside the Clown

I’m not rolling on the floor with laughter. Neither is the dog.

Marie Antoinette

“What, me worry?”

Those Savage Queens

These days, you can’t spit in fantasy art without hitting some variant of a beautiful, barely clad female lounging on a throne, pasties on her nipples, a pout on her pretty face. The strong suggestion is she rules by whim and her power is absolute, a thing which, I’m sure, many of the male artists …

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Mari Lwyd

Mari Lwyd was a Welsh Christmas and New Year tradition in which a group of male singers carried a hobbyhorse — a horse’s skull mounted on a pole, cloaked and decorated — to houses around the village, with singing and refreshments. Happy New Year!

In Pharaoh’s Army
[Reading Challenge 2018]

In Pharaoh’s Army by Tobias Wolff Vintage Books, 1995 [Challenge # 24: A book about war, on the lines or the home front, fiction or nonfiction.] For my War is Hell selection I originally chose A Delicate Truth by John le Carré, and was stoked to read it because I had recently enjoyed the 2016 …

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Santa Horror

Since the 18th century, when images of Santa Claus began to be disseminated through newspapers, books, and periodicals, his appearance has changed quite a bit. Often those earlier depictions are a tad grotesque, as much for what was considered appealing at the time as the skill of the artist and the means of reproduction. When …

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Worldbuilding Wednesday 12/19/18: Santa’s Elves

Hard as it is to believe, Santa Claus did not always have elves for sidekicks. That tradition came from 19th century Scandinavia and drew on the deeper pagan roots of Northern Europe. Elves, pooka, fairies, and the like were all part of a greater folklore of diminuitive, humanlike creatures that lived alongside humans, often in …

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