This weekend I was honored to participate in the author reading at the Springfield Steampunk Festival alongside Elizabeth Bear, Brett Cox, Jennifer Eifrig, Bruce Hesselbach, and Daniel Mills. The reading was part of the Vermont Speculative Fiction Writer’s Series organized by Geek Mountain State.
This was Springfield’s first Steampunk festival, and I was incredibly impressed by the scale and organization of the event! Springfield may be a small town in rural Vermont, but it has a lot of history and was the perfect venue for the festival. They had two main locations…The Great Hall downtown, and The Hartness House up on the hill.
The reading took place in the ballroom at the Hartness House. There were many other events going on simultaneously, but we had a pretty good turnout. Six different authors with six very distinctly different voices each read for about fifteen minutes. I read the first scene I wrote in my Victoria Pontifex series. Although Give Me Your Answer Do is the middle of the five books, it is the first one I wrote. It began on a dare to write a story about a Steampunk mermaid, an emo pirate, and a metrosexual naval officer. I put the thousand-word excerpt up over on Under Loch and Key.
The event attracted more vendors than I ever believed could exist in or near our tiny state! So many wonderful artists and creative people. The fun with Steampunk is that the rules (if there are any) are broad enough to allow for a great deal of variety. Some vendors had Doctor Who inspired merchandise, which fit right in. I had an hour in between the reading and the ball, so I grabbed dinner from the Samosa-man. (Not exactly Steampunk, but nummy!) And then I went with a bunch of other folks to tour the Inn’s tunnel to the mini-museum and telescope room in the back garden. Bruce took this great picture for me standing by the astro globe. I have no idea who the women photobombing me are…but aren’t they awesome?
Besides having so many incredible vendors, the festival attracted a crowd in the most fantastically diverse variety of costumes imaginable. Patrick Lennox Wright photography set up a ‘booth’ in the parlor of Hartness House for anyone and everyone to have their picture taken and shared. There are almost two thousand pictures across two galleries, but it’s well worth paging through! So much great cosplay. My pictures are in gallery one, starting at 604.
I love to dress up. Alas, I do not have a suitable Steampunk outfit…yet. I did do my hair up fancy, though… it’s hard to see in the picture, but the charms in my bun are a beautiful purple stone, a little paper origami thing I made, a tiny pair of scissors, a dangly lizard, and in the center is a cameo-like hand signing ‘Live Long and Prosper.’
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I wish I had stayed longer at the ball. Normally, I would have danced the night away. Unfortunately, I was already pretty darn tired and I pooped out early. I was sitting with a lovely young woman in red who also left early, frustrated that no one else was dancing. I hope the party perked up later…the band was awesome! But rocking too hard for my middle-aged bones to handle.