My Guest today is Tee Morris and he’s talking about THE SEXY SIDE OF STEAMPUNK!
I met Tee Morris and Philippa ‘Pip’ Ballantine at Authors After Dark 2013. This couple are so much fun and really know their steampunk! They have multiple amazing costumes, and I suspect they dream in steampunk!
The brilliant couple are touring their latest joint work:
For years, the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences has enjoyed the favor of Her Majesty the Queen. But even the oldest loyalties can turn in a moment…
Having narrowly escaped the electrifying machinations of Thomas Edison, Books and Braun are looking forward to a relaxing and possibly romantic voyage home. But when Braun’s emergency signal goes off, all thoughts of recreation vanish. Braun’s street-wise team of child informants, the Ministry Seven, is in grave peril, and Books and Braun must return to England immediately.
But when the intrepid agents finally arrive in London, the situation is even more dire than they imagined. The Ministry has been disavowed, and the Department of Imperial Inconveniences has been called in to decommission its agents in a most deadly fashion. The plan reeks of the Maestro’s dastardly scheming. Only, this time, he has a dangerous new ally—a duplicitous doctor whose pernicious poisons have infected the highest levels of society, reaching even the Queen herself… http://www.ministryofpeculiaroccurrences.com/
THE SEXY SIDE OF STEAM PUNK
by Tee Morris
There is a lot to steampunk that makes it appealing. Jeff Vandermeer’s Steampunk Bible, Jared Axelrod’s and Steve Walker’s The Battle of Blood and Ink, and one particularly whimsical episode of ABC’s popular Nathan Fillion vehicle Castle, …all touch on the visual aspects of this quirky, clever, and complex Past that Never Was. When done right, steampunk is beautiful to look at, but can steampunk with all its grease, grime, and soot make your skin tingle, your blood rush, and your heart quicken at a pace? Can steampunk be sexy?
You bet your gadgets, gizmos, and gaudy displays of extravagance it can.
When I think of “sexy steampunk” three things spring to mind:
- Sarah Hunter (a.k.a. Lady Clankington).
- Sarah Hunter in a corset.
There are all kinds of corsets out there, but when you find a really well-made corset and a steampunk who knows just when to say, “Okay, that’s tight enough…” the end result is just a hint at how to raise the steam in your punk. Modesty, or at least the veneer of modesty, was characteristic of the 19th century. However, steampunk likes to turn that sense of chastity and purity, and turn it on its ear, perhaps one way of emphasizing the “punk” in steampunk. Corsets accentuate curves and lines in a woman’s frame, and in this genre, fashion is paramount. You want the gentlemen to stop and stare just as you pass them by as it is a great way to cut through their veneer and find out which one are the pious gents and which ones are of a more randy make.
Speaking of the gentlemen…
The Gentlemen’s Wear
Not since the days of The Avengers’ John Steed have we enjoyed such a renaissance of the D.E.G. (Dapper English Gent) with steampunk’s affection for walking sticks, bowlers, and fine-cut suits, a tradition that only recently Colin Firth gave a nod to.
The D.E.G. carries a commentary in itself: You can still go against the grain, still bring the fantastic to life, and still declare your own individuality while remaining true to tradition and civilization. When wearing a bowler, it only feels natural to tip your hat to a lady as you walk past. When wearing a stylish vest and pinned cravat, your posture immediately corrects itself as the fashion feels more comfortable when you walk back straight, your chin elevated just so. Add to your thought-out ensemble an imaginative touch of brass and Victorian flair, and ladies will swoon over more than just their tight corsets.
Oh yes, corsets for men — that not only is a thing, it’s a thing kept between a gentleman and his tailor; and if you don’t think women find that dash of mystery alluring, you should educate yourself straight away on the science of men’s fashion.
And as we are talking about science….
If you don’t think science can be sexy, I present to you Exhibit A:
Check out Exhibit A, a copyrighted photo, right here (it will open in a new window):
If that isn’t enough, take a look at Exhibits B, C, and D from Ministry Initiative:
Science is cool, but Mad Science is drop dead sexy. Steampunk creations as seen in Thomas Willeford’s Steampunk: Gear, Gadgets, and Gizmos and The Steampunk Adventurer’s Guide are the “bad boyz” (yes, spelled with a “z”!) of engineering. They work but you have no idea if this particular time, when you pull the trigger or throw the switch this cobbled-together creation, will be the time the device explodes in your face. Even we play with this in our own Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences novels as the “experimentals” coming from the R&D offices of Axelrod and Blackwell are often regarded as either “one-off’s” or unpredictable in the field. Still, our agents of derring-do give these miracle machinations a go as when they work they get the job done…
…and they look sexy as hell when using them.
What brings the sexy back in steampunk can really be boiled down (see what I did there?) to one word: style. Whether it is the wearing of a corset, the angle at which you wear your bowler, or the confidence you exude when you disengage the safety on a Lee-Metford-Tesla Mark IV, steampunk has a style all its own; and flouting in the face of the outward visage of Victorian restraint, the punk of steampunk nurtures at its core an erotic ember that with the right amount of stoking can become a raging bonfire.
If you still doubt that there is nothing really sexy about the gritty, grimy world of steampunk, I suggest you watch the clever Victorian romp The Great Train Robbery, starring Sean Connery. His own character of Edward Pierce concerned himself just as much over his fashion as he did the details of his daring heist. In the end he not only got the Crimean gold, he also got Lesley Anne-Down.
Something to keep in mind.
Tee Morris began his writing career with his 2002 historical epic fantasy, MOREVI: The Chronicles of Rafe & Askana. In 2005 Tee took MOREVI into the then-unknown podosphere, making his novel the first book podcast in its entirety. That experience led to the founding of Podiobooks.com and collaborating with Evo Terra and Chuck Tomasi on Podcasting for Dummies. After years of writing non-fiction, Tee returned to fiction with Phoenix Rising: A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Novel, co-written with his wife, Pip Ballantine. Three novels, three podcast seasons, a role playing game, an anthology, and eight awards later, Tee and Pip return to the series for the fourth novel in the series, The Diamond Conspiracy.
When he is not writing, Tee enjoys life in Virginia alongside Pip, his daughter, and three cats. You find out more about the Ministry at ministryofpeculiaroccurrences.com and more about what Tee is up to at TeeMorris.com.
Thanks Tee! Great cover on your new book!! THE DIAMOND CONSPIRACY available for pre-order at AMAZON.