Steampunk fiction, reviews and interviews

Posts tagged “reveiws

Morning Cuppa: Intelligent Designing For Amateurs

Good morning ladies and gentlemen, welcome back to Max and Collin’s marvellously meretricious parlour located within the splendidly scenic city of Lancaster.

True some have called it a brummagem quagmire  brim full of the ashes of mortal hopes and dreams… but we consider that such individuals are merely embittered that they have not yet received an invitation.

You find us this morning wading through a slough of self pity, shuddering sporadically with shame as we remember the horrors and humiliations of the past two weeks.

Montmorency waved his straw-stuffed hand breezily as he assured me that exploitation was not a word in his vocabulary, that everyone in his employment was over sixteen and by opening his burlesque club to employ “Men, Women and Everything In Between” he is “pioneering a new era of equality in workers’ rights and flying high the flag of anti-discrimination.”

But nobody likes being referred to as a non-descript entity lost between the two poles of normality, especially not myself… or Max, and we suspect that merrily making money out of the bodies of those with tentacles alongside the bodies of those without is not the sort of equality and anti-discrimination The New World should be aiming for.

Somebody needs to get a handle on that scarecrow and, in the meantime, we need to find better methods of making money.

But now the long dark teatime of the soul is over, the rent is paid and we can sink into our imaginary silk cushions and brew ourselves a reviving pot of Molly’s Morning Magic from DesertSageNatural and open something splendid to take our minds off the trauma…



Yet another utterly ineffable piece of steampunk splendidness from Nimue Brown, this mischievous tale is jam packed with druids, pirates, undead biscuit bakers, inventors, archaeologists, industrialists, circus performers, preachers, pesky kids and one fabulously formidable grandmother to keep them all in check and make sure they wash their hands before tea.

Little Temperance is terribly excited when an archaeologist moves in next door – she can’t wait for them to start unloading the dead people! But socialite Justina Fairfax isn’t ‘that sort’ of archaeologist, and even when she does discover ‘something’ she needs to call on the skills of would-be-inventor  Charlie Rowcroft to re-construct the broken pieces and figure out what it is before she can claim the fame and glory. Enter Temperance and her dead cat and suddenly Charlie’s house is overrun with reanimated corpses. Before long the quiet and unsuspecting town of Bromstone is awash with chaos, beards and mortless mice…

This is a wonderfully witty and marvellously magical tale which fans of Terry Pratchett or Neil Gaiman will absolutely adore.

Now then, our oracular cephalopterois is straining at the leash to bring us some news from the aether so let us plop him int his tea cup and see what his tentacles have tuned into this morning…


Mechanical animals eh? Well I don’t know what it is trying to tell us but I do know that I have had quite enough philosophy for one morning. We wish you a very easy and taxless morning free from exploitation, discrimination and copromise and we invite you back to join us tomorrow for elevenses so until then, please be always

Utterly Yourself




Morning Cuppa: The Quest Of The Prodigy

Good Morning Ladies and Gentlemen and welcome to Max and Collin’s Temptingly Temporal parlour located within the splendidly scenic city of Lancaster.

True, some have called it a anachronistic abomination and an scandalous misuse of time and space but we consider that such people are merely embittered that they have not yet received an invitation.

You find us this morning deep in philosophical debate with our dear friend Dodge Charleston on the possibilities of time travel.

If you are a Parlour Regular you are no doubt aware of Dodge and his fabulous theories however if you are rather new to our little world, let us offer you an introduction..

During recent years, several scientists have tried to create a theory to explain and understand the universe using the analogy of cake. The most promising and widely accepted of these has been Universal Fruitcake Theory, because it adheres most closely to the rule of Occam’s Slice, which states that ‘the theory which gives one the same comfortable satisfaction as a large slice of Victoria sponge is usually the most correct.’

Universal Fruitcake Theory states that the universe is like a fruitcake and was first formed when the All-Mother added all the necessary universal ingredients to her enormous cauldron and stirred it all together with a big wooden spoon. The ingredients came together in places and formed matter, which Dodge likened to the sponge parts of a fruitcake. This formation of matter left holes in other places which were immediately filled by high-energy, pan dimensional currants. Lastly, and this was perhaps what made the theory so comfortably satisfying, Dodge suggested that aether was like the half teacup of Earl Grey topped up with one part cherry brandy and one part ruby port, and poured over the top of the cake, thus soaking through the entire universe and pervading everything.

This gorgeous mouthful of a theory was first proposed in Dodge’s fictional children’s book written in 1835 and titled ‘Sallis In Plunderland.’ The story tells of a group of street urchins who are adopted by an elderly but destitute baker, who teaches them to make cakes and sell them on street corners and in Tiffin Dens, whilst skillfully avoiding capture by The Good Folk and The Watchers. The orphans accidentally manage to create a new universe in their large copper cake cauldron and are immediately sucked into a world where logic and reason appear not to exist.

Max’s mother was so outraged by the book that she ordered every copy to be confiscated and burned. Needless to say, this has made Sallis In Plunderland many times more popular than it would have been without the queen’s stamp of disapproval and bibliophiles and young men wanting to impress their sweethearts will go to any lengths to procure one of the few copies which have survived the flames. We believe even old Peril has a copy in his Lovely Library, alongside Dodge’s later work ‘Through The Cooking Class; an analogous approach to understanding the universe.’

Enthusiastic fans of Dodge have even gone so far as to make hand-written copies of the book and sell them for exorbitant sums of cash, but, sadly, Dodge has never seen a penny of the profits and, although his social calendar overflows with invitations to dine in the student quarters of various universities he has never heard of, or give speeches at various Tiffin Dens where the clientele were always so reluctant to let him leave that he has taken to carrying a Nock’s Sugar-Bowl Revolver, his finances do not reflect the popularity of his work.

Still here he is, lapping up our milk ration with the impunity of a Parlour Cat and devouring all our ill-gotten tiffin at a most ungentlemanly rate as he raves about his latest ideas for building a time machine out of a giant teapot…

I think I shall leave Max to do the polite nodding and smiling and instead attempt to lose myself in a good book…



We first read this book a few years back under its first edition and we love the new look of the cover design on this one. This fast paced adventure is classic steampunk scrumptiousness with a cast of larger-than-life characters we instantly fell in love with.

When Mimi discovers a mysterious book in her local library she finds herself pursued by the ruthless Ambassadors Of Time who will stop at nothing to retrieve the book and gain its secrets for their demonic king.

Fortunately Mimi and her brother are saved by the adorable time-travelling thief Sebastian ‘Bas’ Barkley who introduces them to his marvellous space-time-dimension machine the ‘Bas House’ and a world of alchemical and scientific wonders where Mimi begins to unfold her wings, growing in self confidence and belief in her own worth and abilities. Ever looming is the threat of the king and as Mimi and her brother become more involved in Bas’s world Mimi discovers that only she has the power to protect the people and keep the secrets of time safe.

There are a lot of laughs in this adventure from some very witty character interplays, but be prepared for some tears too and even a little romance as the rich story line develops. We really really hope the series will continue with another instalment soon but in the meantime you can keep up to date with Claire E Smith’s news and writing tips via her blog at  and youtube channel


Oh my goodness, Dodge is still ranting on, plastering the walls with cake crumbs in his frenzy and poor Max has fallen asleep, face down in a pile of cats and cream… Hm? No no I said cats… I suppose I had better put the kettle on and prepare our tea, which this morning is Blue Box Time Lord Tea (what else?) from Amiteaorganics 

The cephaloperois has hidden under the fainting couch and so there seems nothing left to do except bid you a very splendid morning and invite you back to join us tomorrow for elevenses (when we shall be hopefully free-loader-free) so, until then,please be always

Utterly Yourself.