Tag: Fiction

Steampunk is a many-splendored thing (sorry Ms Suyin), touching many eras and ideaologies; similarly steampunk music is just as varied as the waistcoats on a steampunk model. Maybe you haven’t heard of some of the following and you’d like to try them, or maybe you’ve heard of others you think we should listen to?

Clockwork Cabaret – A podcast rather than a band, this is the premier steampunk radio program, they’re… mostly… kinda on topic a lot of the time. Episodes have a theme that’s loosely observed from afar, and they play a mix of music broader than steampunk, but definitely entertaining. They also host steampunk New Years Eve parties, DJ at Dragon Con’s alternate history track, and Emmet Davenport runs a steampunk themed coffee shop. I’ve found a lot of new music from this podcast.

A Halo Called Fred – Their tag line “the best guitar, bass, violin, and Tupperware band in the universe” may describe why I like them so much. Fun music, from the “step on a butterfly, change the future” logic of ‘In an Alternate Reality’ to the all inclusive nerd anthem of ‘We Love You All’, they’re fun fun fun.

The Cog is Dead – Each song is its own little story or snapshot of a steampunk world. My son and I regularly sing “Danger on the Dancefloor” in the car, and the “Prepare for Adventure” really sets up the whole album.

The Electro Swingers – Reversing the trend of “new music in old styles”, this takes old music and jazzes it up with electro.

Abney Park – Embracing the Steampunk Air Pirate to the nines, they’ve spawned games and books set in their post-apocalyptic universe. I really like “Steampunk Revolution” and I’m staring a “Whole Life Crisis” right in the face.

The Clockwork Dolls – The Dramatis Personae really feels like a collection of interwoven stories in song, with recurring characters, and a great listen from beginning to end. “Clockwork Maid” makes me think, but “No Guns Allowed In My Bar” is particularly rollicking.

Professor Elemental – One of the Chap-Hop greats out of the UK, soaring into the steampunk consciousness with “A Cup of Brown Joy” (I still prefer his original), he’s also in comic form and youtube series form.

Sunday Driver – Asian steampunk, mixing colonial UK with the Asian continent. “Black Spider” is a good starter, and “Mechanical Angel” feels like fairies on the keyboard.

The Decemberists – I’m listening to the Decemberists less lately because they’re definitely on the dark side of the Industrial Revolution. Revenge and horrors of life abound.

Frank Bennet – One of my great losses were his two original albums, because you can’t get them anymore. They were made of Jazz covers of modern music – you could argue they’re more Diesel punk than Steampunk, but bah. I like ’em. The cover of “Creep” sticks in the mind.

The Gregorian Masters of Chant – Flipping time maybe too far the other direction, modern songs performed in Gregorian Chant. I have a particular soft spot for “Bridge Over Troubled Waters”.

The Mouldy Lovers – A local group I first heard at Prometheus Bound (steampunk nightclub). Very Romanian influenced, I like the “Tetris” one especially.

Mr B – One of the Chap-Hop greats out of the UK. Yes I repeated that title, as Professor Elemental and Mr B have had a joking “Rap Battle” that turned into competing complements and then a promise to join forces. I listen to Mr B slightly less now as I feel he embraces some of the less awesome aspects of Rap than the bonkers nature of Professor Elemental. “Straight out of Surrey” is great.

Unwoman – Singer with a wicked cello, saw her live at Steampunk Strides and bought a number of albums immediately. The covers in “Lemniscate” are great, I’m especially fond of “Beauty Over Industry” from another album

8in8 – A temporary band formed by Amanda Palmer, but the first song on the album is “Nikola Tesla” with a number of steampunk tropes. Fun.

Any more steampunk music suggestions?

Meanie Jean,

Meanie Jean,
Jean, I mean.

That Meanie Jean
That Meanie Jean
I do not like
that Meanie Jean

Do you just
add cogs for steam?

I do not add them
Jean I mean:
I do not just
add cogs for steam

Would you add
them to eyewear?

I would not add them
to eyewear
I would not add them
anywhere
I do not just
add cogs for steam
I do not add them,
Jean I mean.

Would you wear them
on your vest?
Would you wear them
on your chest?

I do not add them
to my vest
I do not add them
to my chest
I do not add them
to eyewear
I do not add them
anywhere
I do not just add cogs for steam
I do not add them, Jean I mean

Would you wear them
on your hats?
Would you wear them
on your spats?

Not on my hats
Not on my spats
Not on my vest
Not on my chest
I would not add them to eyewear
I would not add them anywhere
I do not just add cogs for steam
I do not add them, Jean I mean

Would you, Could you?
In a blimp?
Wear them! Wear them!
Please don’t skimp!

I would not,
could not
in a blimp

You may like them,
Start with one
You may like them
On your gun!

Not on my gun
I would not, could not on my gun
Not in a blimp, its just not done!

I do not add them to my hats
I do not add them to my spats
I do not add them to my vest
I do not add them to my chest
I do not add them to eyewear
I do not add them anywhere
I do not just add cogs for steam
I do not add them, Jean I mean

A coat! A coat!
A coat! A coat!
Could you, would you
on a coat?

Not on a coat, not on my gun
Not in a blimp, Jean! It’s not done!
I would not, could not on my hats
I would not, could not on my spats
I will not add them to my vest
I will not add them to my chest
I will not add them to eyewear
I will not add them anywhere
I do not add them, Jean I mean.

Say!
In a lab!
Here in a lab!
Would you, could you, in a lab?

I would not, could not,
in a lab

Would you, could you,
on your tote?

I would not, could not on my tote
Not in a lab, not on my coat
Not in in a blimp, not on my gun
I do not like them, Jean, not one
Not on my vest, not on my chest
Not on my hats, not on my spats
I do not add them to eyewear
I do not add them anywhere!

You do not just
add cogs for steam?

I do not
add them
Jean, I mean.

Could you, would you,
on fine boots?

I would not,
could not.
on fine boots.

Would you, could you
on fine suits?

I could not, would not, on fine suits
I will not, will not, on fine boots
I will not wear them on my tote
I will not wear them on my coat
Not in a lab! Not on a gun!
Not in a blimp! Its not my fun!
I do not add them on my chest
I do not add them to my vest
I do not add them to my hats
I do not add them to my spats
I do not add them to eyewear
I do not add them ANYWHERE!

I do not just
add cogs
for steam!

I do not add them
Jean I mean.

You do not add them.
It’s not done
Try one! Try one!
Start with one.
Try them and you may just stun.

Jean!
You are so heartfelt
I will add one
To my belt.

Say!
I did just add a cog for steam
I think I fin’ly see your scheme!
And I will add them to my suits
And I will add them to my boots
And I will add them to my tote
And in a lab, and on my coat
And on a blimp, and on my gun
With care, with flare, they add some fun!

So I will add them to my vest
And I will add them to my chest
And I will add them to my hats
And I will add them to my spats
And I will add them to eyewear
Say, I will add them EVERYWHERE!

Don’t like my gear?
Who gives a damn!
Thank you!
Thank you,
Steam-I-am

Recently the Steampunks of Brisbane were interviewed by Michael Lund of the Courier Mail regarding, well, Steampunk. Entitled “Letting off steam“, the article paints quite a good picture of the Steampunk subculture’s life in the city and has a number of stop-off points to find out more. One of them is this very site, so to further your Steampunkian education I’ve collated as much as I can of my Steampunk-related bookmarks into this post. There may be a test.

Inspiration – blogs

The people who inspire me when I look into steampunk, who are well worth a follow; also individual articles on steampunk that are a good read.

Inspiration – books and comics

Steampunk was coined as a genre around the 1980s, but works that support the steampunk ideal were around well before that. Many of the works by Jules Verne and H.G. Wells can be found for free, legal download from eBook repositories.

  • Arcadia Snips and the Steamwork Consortium » IN WHICH A STREET REQUIRES CLEANING: A book that was released a chapter a Monday. Now fully up for download.
  • Steampunk Magazine – free to download!
  • Steampunk tales for your iPhone: Exciting this, the President of Steampulp Publishing contacted us directly to promote this eMagazine for the iPhone. Billed as the “Penny Dreadful for your iPhone”, it’s now up to issue 9 as of Apr 2011.
  • League of Extra-ordinary Gentlemen: A little more adult than most people expect from a comic book (the Invisible Man introduction was quite confronting, as if the acquisition of Quartermain wasn’t enough), regardless of your opinion of the movie this does delve into a distopian vision of steampunk.
  • Gail Carriger: Parasol Protectorate series. Werewolves, vampires, parasols and Victorian England. Gail’s take on a supernatural steampunk includes a new breed of supernatural rather than just co-opting the well known, parascience also makes a grand entrance. Book four is due 2011. Gail also has a specific page on her site with her views on steampunk.
  • H.G. Wells at Project Gutenberg: The First Men in the Moon, The Island of Dr Moreau, The Time Machine. More ubiquitous speculative fiction that has mirrored modern advancements. Well, we haven’t revealed the time machine yet due to patenting issues.
  • The Difference Engine: Written by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling, it’s described as a prime example of the steampunk sub-genre. Modern-esque devices wrapped in Industrial Revolution technology, hackers (clackers in this parlance) trying to break into the mass produced difference engines. It is a complete alternate history sparking off from our own but with parallels of events/ technology.
  • Jules Verne at Project Gutenberg: 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, From the Earth to the Moon, Paris in the 20th Century. These books were written before the turn of the 20th century and predicted submarines, rocket ships, air-conditioning – many modern technologies. The overarching technology aesthetic remained Victorian in style, a driving force behind modern Steampunk.
  • Girl Genius Online Comics!: By Phil and Kaja Foglio, the comics follow Agatha Heterodyne through an alternate Europe where “the industrial revolution became an all-out war”. Dirigibles, utterly bonkers science, constructs and clanks. Most of ROSEA swear by their goggles that their store is marvelous – not just because most of ROSEA got their goggles originally from said store.

Inspiration – movies and television

  • League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Almost nothing like the comic, but that’s why these are movie adaptions rather than direct clones. The Nautilus is tres steamy. And you cannot go wrong with dirigibles. Well, not without trying hard.
  • The Time Machine: Say what you will about movies not following plots, but that is one delicious looking time machine. Watch the DVD extras for more shots of it.
  • Baron Munchausen: While quite a bit earlier than the generally accepted steampunk era (being the reign of Queen Victoria), the clockwork bird, hot air balloon and musical instrument of the Grand Turk have airs of the technology. And I’m quite taken by the whole tall tales factor.
  • Doctor Who, “The Next Doctor” 2008 Christmas Special: The Doctor has generally had an aura of steampunk – fixing his own technology (occasionally using the ancient technique of percussive maintenance) – but this time the Cybermen get involved. Steam will out, after all.
  • Doctor Who, “The Girl in the Fireplace”: Clockwork bad guys, Madame de Pompadour. The Doctor rides a horse. Delightful.

Inspiration – devicery

This section presents a number of sites with steampunk examples, advice, and items for purchase.

Inspiration – fashion & cosplay

Inspiration – art and writing

Inspiration – games and applications

Most of the games and applications will be based on my own experience and platforms (OS X, PS3, Wii, Win), but I’m always open to suggestions.

Inspiration – music

  • Mr B. – Gentleman Rhymer: For those who like diction with their rap addiction.
  • Professor Elemental: He even has a song called “Steam Powered” specifically about steampunk. His “Cup of Brown Joy” song all about tea was the first truly steampunk song I heard.
  • Abney Park: I lose my license if I don’t mention these guys. We’ve submitted some videos to their “Help make our music video” thing; wish us luck!
  • Clockwork Quartet: Not only are their topics Victorian steampunkian, but they have Steampunk characters and their first two songs are about clockwork and science – with the talent to include clock-ticks and scientific note-taking as musical instruments.
  • Sunday Driver: World music, with Indian overtones but steampunk sentiments.
  • The Clockwork Dolls: Instrumental music with feeling. As they say, great soundtrack to happenings.

Inspiration – shops

Places to buy the Steampunked, the Steampunkable and the Steampunking

Participation – groups and events

I like Silver Goggles. It’s been part of my required reading Rss repository(1) for ages. This week, Jaymee interviewed Stephanie Lai, an Australian-Malaysian-Chinese lass, about Steampunk and Australia. Huzzah!

And then I read the following “There are a lot of readers and writers, and as a community we are definitely growing, if the number of panels being run at cons (and the number of people attending) is anything to go by. There’s nothing separate happening, mostly it’s just a handful of panels at Swancon and Continuum, but I think we’re moving towards maybe a specialised gathering or two”…”Steampunk itself in Australia is still basically nascent!”

Well dang. Steampunk has been proceeding in leaps and bounds all over Australia and New Zealand (I’m including our Antipodean Bretheren) in more places than just con panels, and I’m thinking that we just haven’t been noisy enough about everything we’ve been up to. So consider this, in the vernacular, a signal boost.

Groups:

  • STEAM, ROSEA, FAUST: Brisbane’s major steampunk groups, founded a number of years ago, they’ve participated in charity fund raising, picnics and other events. Full disclosure: I’m one of the founders of ROSEA
  • Antipodean League of Temporal Voyagers: altv has a blog that promotes events and discusses steampunk around Australia.
  • Adelaide Steampunk: a very active collection of talented South Australians
  • League of Victorian Imagineers: Spectacular New Zealand Steampukenrs who have claimed Oamaru as their base, and they’ve been welcomed! A Steampunk town in New Zealand, that’s nifty.
  • Steampunk HQ

Makers:

  • The Mad Uncle, who is currently working on and off on creating a Steampunk Motorcycle, has opened a shop in Melbourne selling antiques and steampunk builds.
  • Baron von Borg: a good friend of mine of many arms, he also had made raffle prizes for Prometheus Bound to help new steampunkers
  • Tesla Down Under: I’ll admit this is more mad science than steampunk, but come on! Guy makes various tesla coils do all sorts of wonderful things, and was at Euchronia last year making things go Fzzzzzzz!
  • Me

Events:

  • Euchronia: a steampunk new years eve event that happens every two years.
  • Prometheus Bound: a steampunk nightcub that on Feb 4 celebrated it’s 4th anniversary. It did this by having not only a massive nightclub, but also featured Voltaire from New York. Exceptionally exciting
  • Supanova. While this is the pop culture expo, so not strictly steampunk, the Brisbane event has an unofficial Steampunk Sunday, where all the local (and some not so local) Steampunkers turn up in their garb to hang out, chat, and get the now traditional staircase photo. Local steampunk era have won a number of the Cosplay awards over the years, so that’s something to say about steampunk’s impact on the non steampunkers.
  • STEAM: Brisbane organizes picnics, movie outings and the like through the year.
  • Steamfest: This isn’t a steampunk event, rather it’s a celebration of the Steam age in Australia. A number of steampunks I know make yearly pilgrimages to this place to learn from blacksmiths, leather workers and other traditionally skilled craftspeople. Plus, steam trains!

Arts:

  • Ged Maybury: the first novel in his series Across the STonewind Sky was published in 2011. Very cool
  • fragrances: still trying to find the link, but the last Prometheus Bound event had a fragrance booth in attendance, that had specially created steampunk fragrances for sale.
  • Courier Mail: Brisbane steampunk has been featured, and we have just been asked to be interviewed again!
  • Steampunk HQ:Again in Oamaru, worth a look.
  • Weta: Home of Dr Grordbort’s Rayguns!

We are indeed everywhere, and are influencing more than just comic conventions. If anyone has any other groups or events or people or anything I should be promoting as Australian Steampunk let me know and I’ll update this list. What Stephanie has highlighted to me is that we are being unsuccessful in communicating to everyone just how many opportunities to join in steampunk there are. Maybe in a small way this blog can assist.

Also, I’m finding and buying the heck out of Stephanie’s books (or the collections that contain her books). Yes I’m aware one of the collections is Steampunk Lesbian Stories, even if I’m not the target audience good stories are good stories. Support the steampunk!

1) arbitrary alliteration addendum accrual (2)
2) continued copied commencement character count (3)
3) ..sorry, stopping. Seriously (4)
4) damnit.

There was a call for submissions to a Steampunk Shakespeare anthology in 2010, I made a comment on Twitter about “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Reanimated”. There was enough amused responses that I wrote something up. I spoke to one of the editors of the anthology and they said they were only taking Real Shakespeare plays and sonnets, so my parody wasn’t going to make it in. Still, I was amused enough to finish it, ask some friends for feedback, and finally here it is. Please let me know what you think.

* ACT ONE

*The stage is dark.  Lights come on to show the heads of GUILDENSTERN [G] and ROSENCRANTZ [R].*

R: Heads… Heads… Heads… Heads…
G: You’re not still going on about that?
R: Huh?  No, along that wall, top shelf.  Nothing but –
G: Heads.

*The top of the stage lights up, showing the two are in a MAD SCIENTIST LABORATORY.  Devices line the walls and, just as R says, the top shelf is full of heads in jars.  The bottom of the stage remains in shadow.  The two remain stationary and only their heads are in view.*

G: A weaker man might be moved to re-examine his own head, on seeing such a thing.
R (*examines his own head with his hands, which are wearing different sleeves, and then G’s*): Heads… still here.
G: What about the rest of us?

R: What?
G: Currently we’re just
R: Heads?

R: But if the heads are here, surely the rest of us is.
G: How can you tell?
R: I thought you were the philosophical one?
G: I’m the one who’s noticing the rest of us is in darkness.
R (*looks down*): Ah.
G: And we’re in a mad scientist’s laboratory.

*There are furtive gestures.*

R: Game?
G: I have no coins to flip
R: Maybe it’s my turn?
G: Do you have coins?
R: Yes, my second right hand found them in my pouch
G: Oh good, at least *beat* what?
R: Ah, a switch

*The switch is thrown and, to a cascade of sparks and flickers, the whole of stage is lit.  R and G are in fact two heads on one body, with four arms and a conglomerate of their clothing and a cavalcade of pipes, bubbling fluid, and an egg timer.*

G: Your second right hand.
R: Yes.
G: Is my second right hand.
R: Yes.
G: … There is a lot less screaming than I expected.
R: And my beard hasn’t grown, *examines* but my fingernails have!
G: A lot more awake then I expected.
R: It’s more roomy than being asleep in a box.

G: This must mean something
R: Besides the redistribution of limbs?
G: Yes.  I guess we were right to be fearful of being too late.
R: Is this ‘late’ beyond “The Late Rosencrantz and Guildenstern”?
G: Well I don’t remember being “the late”, but I remember almost being “the late” and then it was dark.
R: And then we were heads.
G: Ahead?
R: Each ahead.
G: Ahead of what?
R: Being the late.

R: It certainly looks like a mad scientist’s laboratory.
G: You know what science looks like?
R: Yes.
*R looks around, picks up a piece of brass with a cog on it*

R: Science.
G: A circular thing on a flat thing.
R: A circular thing with knobbly bits.
G: But what does it do?
R: Do?

Pause.

G: Circular things with knobbly bits spin against other… circular things with knobbly bits or perhaps long loops also with knobbly bits.  They move things, and why do I hear laughter?
R (*ignoring G’s last sentance*): So knobbly bits are important.
G: Yes.  I think it is time to employ the scientific approach again.
R: As that worked so well for us before.
G: Hush.  Syllogism the first for today.  One: science is meant to do things.  Two: A circular thing with knobbly bits is built for the purpose of doing things.  Synopsis: a circular thing with knobbly bits stuck to a flat thing doesn’t do anything.
R: It looks good though.  Looks like science.
G (*sarcastic*): So looking like science is science.
R: Why would you do science that doesn’t look like science?
G: The scientific approach …
R: to the examination of phenomena is a defence against the pure emotion of fear.
G (*shocked*): where did you hear that?
R: I don’t remember.
G: … We return to the scientific approach.  Our last memories have been under the influence of un-, sub- or super-natural forces.  First probability, then causality and now locality.  This is likely the culmination of all the un-, sub- or super-natural occurrences.  Or possibly, un-, sub- AND super-natural.  In the state that we are in, given the laughter I’m sure I’m hearing, either we’re mad or everything else is mad, and I’m not sure which is worse.
R: It might not be everything else, it might be everything.  But if everything’s mad, doesn’t that mean everything’s on the same level, and thus, sane?

G: I’m reminded.  Second syllogism.  One, we have never known anything like this.  Two, we have just been through something I should very much like to write home about.  Three… three… What’s the last thing you remember?
R: What you just said.
G: No, the last thing you remember before this.
R: Ah.  Nothing good, everything went black and you were still talking.  Not a long time ago.  That and the laughter
*by now the laughter is audible*
G: Laughter?  That was before?
R: No, it’s now.  Outside the door

*The door to the right of stage is flung open and in walks the [S]CIENTIST, who is followed in by the CREATURES.  A [F]RANKENSTEIN MONSTER, a [C]LOCKWORK GIRL, a [B]RAIN IN A JAR (carried), and an [I]GOR.*

S *(finishes his laughter*): They’re awake!

*R & G squirm as if trying to get up.*

S: Don’t move!
R: Why do I feel like we’ve been here before?
G (*holds up all four arms, sarcastic*): I think I’d remember this before.
R: How do you know you think?

*G is given pause, S is exasperated*

S: Gentlemen, please.
G: I don’t suppose you do a selection of gory romances with fine cadence and corpses
S: Well, *points to F* he’s made of fine corpses, does that count?  And don’t get up I know you were Guildenstern and Rosencrantz
R&G: Were?
S: Yes, now you are Guildencrantz.  Or Rosenstern.  *turns to I* You know, I really thought this would have cleared things up somewhat.

G & R struggle to their feet.

R (*brandishes the copper and cog*): What is your line?
S: Science!  And the perversion of the natural order therein.  A little biology there, a little mechanology there; steam, gears, clockwork and grease.  Phrenology for getting ahead and posteriology for being behind.  *he taps on the CREATURES as he goes* [F]Grave robbing and cross stitch, [C]intricate mechanisms and buffing metal, [B]chemistry and biological aesthetics, … [I]and him.
R: What do they do?
S: Let your imagination run riot.  They are beyond surprise.
G (*waves R back*): And how much?
S: To take part?
G: No. To build
S: Watch- … wait, what?

G: I mean, look at this place.  This would take several fortunes, the work of a score, no, four score and seven specialised teams to build and maintain.  And you did it all?
S: All.  I don’t think you understand –
G: Not only that, but how do you keep this place running?  Maintained, I mean, look at him *points at B*.  Do you directly keep his tank clean?
S: Well, I have a girl that comes in on Sundays.
G: A maid keeps everything clean and running.
S: She’s very clever.

_G takes the copper and cog from R and throws it at S.  Whether it hits or not is up to fate and the skills of the actors_

S: Hey!
G: That’s not science.  It’s set dressing.
S: It has to look the part, image is very important
G: To science
S: To steampunk
R: Oh good, I’m starving

S: Not steamed punk
R: Oh.  I’m sure I’d eat it, regardless of what punk is.
G: But where is the steam, then?
S: It’s implied.
G: Nonsense.  He *pointing at F* is breathing, she *pointing at C* is clicking, it *pointing at B* is bubbling and he *pointing at I* is drooling.
I: Sorry.
R: What, no lisp?
I (*looks offended*)
R: I don’t know why I asked that.

S (*excitedly, nodding at R*): Exactly!  The steam is implied, this is powered by convention.
R: Two people in one body isn’t conventional.
S: Depends on the conventions you visit.
R: Let me guess, the ones with Airship pirates

*pause*
*offstage: Well I not be coming in now, be I? I’m off to the pub.

_All experiments look at each other and leave_

S: I lose more companions that way.
R: Look, I’m sor-
S: *exasperated* No, you look. You just saw an animated corpse, a metal woman, a brain in a jar and a whateverthing walk into a bar. Well, towards one.
R: Is this some kind of joke?
S: Only to those who don’t know the punchline.
G: How does that work?
S: Comedy and tragedy, if it’s happening to you it’s tradg-
G: NOT what passes for your jokes, the science behind your “creations”
S: Steam? Whateveryouwantium? The raw scientific potential of painting something copper and sticking a cog on it?
R: But why? Was it all for this? We weren’t fore-warned so now we’re four-armed?
S: Ah. But “Why”‘s not the question we ask here.
R: Oh?
S: Yes. It’s why not? Airships for all ages and empires; exploration by dimensions, mole-machines, rockets and penny-shillings.
R: Penny-shillings?
S: *aside* inflation. Epic battles, romances by the score, exotic locales and foreign worlds; Climactic science and good versus evil gone wrong. Only occasionally and entirely by accident, wayward experimentation blocking out parts of the sun-

_Scientist’s half of the stage cuts to black_

R: …
G: …
R: That’s it, then, is it?
G: We’re not dead this time.
R: … I wonder if he can give me a metal arm with guns in it
_R fades out_
G: So much for knowing better next time. Best three out of five?
_G fades out, leaving only a single light on a cog that is affixed against the wall over the door. It falls with the sound of metal hitting someone one the head.  Scientist goes ‘Ow’, revealing a clue._

G: Well that mistook fell upon the inventor’s head
S: Oh go kiss a boiler.

Published by Professor von Explaino

Fiction

“If I have seen further it is by standing on ye shoulders of Giants.” –Isaac Newton

“Just be sure and face the right way.” — Professor von Explaino

Pushing their way through the thronging masses, Professor von Explaino and young Christoph force their way as politely as possible to the wings of the auditorium.  The general hubbub shows no sign of abating but, as Christoph well knows, it takes an act of extreme interruption to silence a group of scientists at an exposition.  Worse, this was the culmination of the Professor’s latest achievement – a Paradox Proof Polytemporal Person Procurer.  As the innaugral cross-time science symposium, it had taken Captain Adventure’s timely detonating of a variety of experiments (one after another until the desired effect was achieved) for Baron von Borg’s opening keynote to be heard over the competing discussions.  Still, it was all in good fun as the Cerulean had the foresight to create experiments for just that purpose so nobody’s feelings were hurt.

During his musing(1), Christoph saw the Professor grabbing the recently adjusted running sheet and make a few adjustments, when he tried to peer over the Professor’s shoulder to see what the program was he quickly pulled his head back as von Explaino snatched the program away and gave him a look.  The new program brought von Explaino some great delight; the first presentation was on competitive virology from the World Health Organisation (WHO), James Watt was going to expound on some of Nikola Tesla’s theories and a late scratching saw Ms Lovelace, or Ada, now up third in  a free-form programming event.  The maths section held two panels, one on yocto-scale maths (10^-24, symbolised by ‘y’) and a discussion of base 12 trigonometry (with B as the highest single digit).  After lunch was Sune Bergström discussing the importance of peace-promoting research and a German aeronaut discussing their new supercharger for which the Professor had used the appropriate German description of ‘Lader’.

[1) And by ‘musing’ read ‘oggling the science dancing girls troupe who were getting changed into brass outfits for the opening number’ ]
The Professor turned and grinned at Christoph.

PvE> Oh, you’re in for a fantastic day of science!

C> I’d believe you if you’d let me see *reach for program*

PvE> *snatch away again* No no no, Christoph, you schmooze you lose.  But I will read it to you.  WHO is on first, Watt is on second, Ada now is on third…

C> That’s what I want to know

PvE> I said WHO’s on first, Watt’s on second, Ada now is on third…

C> Did you invite the guests?

PvE> Yes.

C> You’re the organiser too?

PvE> Yes.

C> And you’ve got the program right there.

PvE> You’d have your own if you paid attention

C> Well, then, who’s on first?

PvE> Yes.

C> I mean their name.

PvE> WHO.

C> The one up first

PvE> WHO.

C> The first presenter

PvE> WHO

C> ‘And first today is-‘

PvE> WHO is on first!

C> I’m asking YOU who’s on first.

PvE> That’s their name.

C> That’s who’s name?

PvE> Yes.

C> Well can you please tell me?

PvE> That’s it.

C> That’s who?

PvE> Yes.

*Pause*

C> Look, you’ve got a first speaker

PvE> Certainly.

C> Who’s up first?

PvE> That’s right.

C> When the audience applauds, who gets the accolades?

PvE> Every decibel of it.

C> All I’m trying to find out is the name of the first presenter.

PvE> WHO.

C> The presenter getting ready is who?

PvE> That’s it.

C> Who gets the applause

PvE> Sure does, every decibel.  Sometimes they send a delegate.

C> Who delegates?

PvE> Yes.

*Pause*

PvE> What’s wrong with that?

C> Look, all I want to know is that when you were asking about the program, how did they want to show their name?

PvE> WHO.

C> The presenter.

PvE> WHO.

C> How is it written…

PvE> That’s how it’s written.

C> Who?

PvE> Yes.

*Pause, both fidget under the shushing looks of nearby scientists*

C> All I’m trying to find out is what’s the name of the first presenter

PvE> No, Watt is our second presenter.

C> I’m not asking you who’s up second.

PvE> WHO’s up first.

C> One slot at a time!

PvE> Well don’t change the presentation order

C> I’m not changing nobody!

PvE> Calm, Christoph, calm.

C> I’m only asking you, who’s the presenter up first.

PvE> That’s right.

C> Ok.

PvE> Good!

*Pause*

C> What’s the name of the first presenter?

PvE> No.  Watt is on second.

C> I’m not asking you who’s on second.

PvE> WHO’s on first.

C> I dunno.

PvE> No, no, no, we’re not shifting the third presenter again.

C> Now how’d I get to the third presenter?

PvE> You mentioned their name.

C> If I mentioned their name, who did I saw was up third?

PvE> No, WHO’s up first.

C> What’s on first?

PvE> Watt’s on second.

C> I dunno

PvE> Is up third

C> There I go, back to third again.

*Pause*

C> You have a maths section?

PvE> In the east and west lecture halls.

C> The east lecture is on?

PvE> Y.

C> I just thought I’d ask you.

PvE> Well, I just thought I’d tell you.

C> Then tell me who’s in the east hall

PvE> WHO’s up first.

C> I’m not… stay out of the first session!  I want to know, what’s the presentation in the east hall?

PvE> No, Watt is on second.

C> I’m not asking you who’s on second.

PvE> WHO’s on first!

C> I dunno.

PvE and C together> Up third!

*Pause, let Captain Adventure push his way past looking at the both of them oddly.*

C> OK.  East hall?

PvE> Y?

C> Because!

PvE> B(cos), West hall.

*Pause*

C> You’ve obviously got a discussion over lunch.

PvE> Sure.

C> And its on?

PvE> Lader.

C> You don’t want to tell me now?

PvE> I am telling you now.

C> Then go ahead.

PvE> Lader!

C> What time?

PvE> What time what?

C> What time later are you going to tell me who’s talking during lunch?

PvE> Now listen, WHO is not during lunch…

C> So help me, if you say who’s on first!  I want to know what’s on after lunch?

PvE> Watt is on second.

C> I dunno

PvE and C> Up third!

*Pause*

C> Afternoon session?

PvE> Certainly.

C> And they are?

PvE> Sune.

C> Soon.  And lunch is later?

PvE> Now you’ve got it.

C> Your temporal clocks’ all screwed up.

*Pause*

C> You know I’m in ROSEA too.

PvE> Unstoppably.

C> So, I mingle during lunch later.  I strike up a conversation with out first presenter, so I walk over to who?

PvE> Now that’s the first thing you’ve said right.

C> I don’t make any sense whatsoever!

*Pause*

PvE> I’m sure they’ll appreciate it.

C> Talking to who.

PvE> Yes!

C> Now who’s talking?

PvE> Precisely!

*Pause*

C> So… I strike up a conversation with the first presenter, they’re bound to be at lunch, so who’s talking?

PvE> Precisely.

C> Who?

PvE> Precisely.

C> Precisely?

PvE> Precisely.

C> So I get a couple of glasses and walk over to Precisely.

PvE> No you don’t, you start talking to WHO

C> Precisely.

PvE> That’s different.

C> That’s what I said.

PvE> You’re not getting it…

C> I start talking to Precisely.

PvE> You start talking to WHO.

C> Precisely.

PvE> You have it.

C> That’s what I said!

PvE> You ask me.

C> I talk to who?

PvE> Precisely.

C> Now you ask me.

PvE> You start talking to WHO?

C> Precisely.

PvE> That’s it.

C> Same as you!  Same as YOU!  I start talking to WHO.  They’re not interesting and the conversation drifts to the next speaker.  WHO spots Watt and calls them over.  Watt brings over I dunno and everyone’s up to date.  Soon gets interrupted later.  Why?  I don’t know! And –

Baron> YES!  We’ve done it!

C> We have?

PvE> YES!  With electrodes attached to Abbot and Costello’s bodies, we’ve got enough power from them spinning in their graves to be able to send everyone back home!  Good work, Christoph

C> *sinks to the ground, whimpering*

p/p