Tuesday, 22 December 2009

And the Pope knew then the Church was doomed...

The Vicky era (as I've decided to affectionately term 1800 - 1900, in every country in the world) was a time of great worry for the Christian clergy.  Everyone knows of Darwin now, but he wasn't the only threat.  Men like geologist Charles Lyell, the strongest opponent of the Diluvial position, argued strongly against the Church's statement of facts. 

Charles Lyell was born in Scotland, and moved to London to become a barrister.  He couldn't because of poor eyesight.  There is more information on him at Wikipedia: Charles Lyell.  Then there was the guy who published the Theory of Natural Selection.  No, it's not Charles Darwin. It was Alfred Russel Wallace, whose publication prompted Darwin to publish his own paper.

Jean-Baptiste Lamarck believed in evolution.  He thought men came from orang-outangs.  William Buckland proved that Kirkdale Cave was a prehistoric Hyena den and found elephant and hippopotamus bones.  In Yorkshire. Buckland was also a member of the clergy.

So, with all this science abounding, its no wonder the clergy began to shake in its foundations, shakes which reverberated right up through the church.  And that's when the Pope knew the Church was doomed...

Or at least, that's modern theory.  In fact, 47% of Americans believe the world is no more than 10,000 years old and that sometime in those 10, 000 years, Man was created looking as he does now.  The Church wasn't that worried.  Indeed it had its own internal problems with Young Creationists and the Old Earth Theorists. 

Next History Post (Next Tuesday, I'm sticking to post planning) will look at Church attitudes to these theories at the time, with more information on Buckland - he's fascinating.

 And I'll use the desktop so I can include pictures, yay!

Charles Darwin's Origin of Species, 150th Anniversary Edition is available at Amazon, for $6.95, if you're interested.  If not, I doubt the world will end.

The Origin Of Species: 150th Anniversary Edition

Who's your favourite Victorian scientist?
  1. Darwin
  2. Lyell
  3. Buckland
  4. John Snow
  5. Professor Challenger
  6. Dr Moreau
  7. Dr Jekyll
  8. Dr Frankenstein
  9. Lamarck
  10. Huxley
Let me know...

Sunday, 20 December 2009

What is steampunk?

Steampunk is a vast, wide-ranging sub-culture.  People might just dip their toes in, such as playing a tabletop steampunk RPG; or they might wade in, playing steampunk LARP games once a month.  They could doggie paddle in, dressing up for certain events, or they could scuba dive - wearing steampunk clothing throughout their daily lives. 

And I have no idea where all those weird watery metaphors came from, but never mind. 

When it comes to fiction we bring problem upon problem on ourselves.  If steampunk is aesthetic then its all about appearance.  So what is the genre?  Well, actually, steampunk could be horror or it could be romance or retro science fiction (the way things could have been) or even fantasy. 

And the themes are even wider. 

Then what keeps steampunk together - what labels it as steampunk?  Well, for the steam part of it, there must be a society placed some time after the start of the Industrial Revolution, but before the use of electricity became widespread.  This can be on an alternate Earth or in a completely imaginary world.

And there must be punk - that hint of rebellion.  I like to apply the same dystopian elements to steampunk as you are likely to find in a cyberpunk novel.  A lot of people see the past as some sort of golden age (especially Victorian Britain).  Forget about your Jules Verne and read some Dickens.  It really sucked to be poor in those days.

The really cool thing about steampunk is that it is so open to personal interpretation.  So, what's your interpretation?

A Post Plan

I have been posting sporadically, so in time for the New Year I have decided to set a blog timetable up.
If I post on

Monday it will always be writing advice
Tuesday shall be the day for historical articles re: the Victorians and Edwardians
Wednesday will see me review a steampunk website, of some kind or other
Thursdays will be when I dedicate some time to a new feature - either the finding of (and discussing of) an RPG or adopting an existing RPG to be steampunk. 
Fridays will bring reviews of books, films, and so on (though they won't all be steampunk)

Weekends are free for anything. 

I'm not saying I'm going to post every day, but the days I do post I will aim to keep to my posting plan.

Writing Blogs You Should Read

beckys writing blog

writer unboxed

Where Backstory was...

Where Backstory is now

incurable disease of writing

Emerging Writers Network

Seriously, becoming a writer

Friday, 18 December 2009



IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
' Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!

That was If by Rudyard Kipling, and rather apt it is, too.
As I approach the end of this year, another year of nothing, I can see and feel great changes in the next one. It's almost like a disturbance in the force!

But I can be the things in this poem. I can keep my head whilst the world screams "Recession!"
I trust myself, but even randomly generated adverts seem to be advising me to another course of action. I know why so many doubt me, too - what makes what I have so different, so special?

I am impatient, but by taking my time and doing things right I will reap the rewards.
I have a dream, but I am realistic. Same with my thoughts... I know the nature of reality.

This year I'm going to risk it all on a throw of the dice, and if I lose, then so be it.

I won't lose.