Thursday, 16 August 2012

The Rise and Fall of Cosmic Empires // Professor Blood

Professor Blood

Andrea Gherardi is an Italian music producer from Bruxelles. That's at least what he writes on his Facebook page. Or from Piacenza.

The Rise and Fall of Cosmic Empires

He released his first EP on May 22, 2012 via Jamendo. It's a science-fiction themed concept album (if you will) on the First Solar Wars - whatever they might be.

Above all these five tracks a pretty straight forward electronic dance tracks, the last one - Removal From Office - being a bonus track without any connection to the First Solar Wars. Beat-driven techno with the occasional and very light dubstep influence. Very nice, very listenable, almost very good.

I look forward to his next release…

The Rise and Fall of Cosmic Empires on Jamendo

Professor Blood on…

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Doctor Who: Blink

Doctor Who

The Doctor is a time-travelling Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey and Doctor Who (you know, as in "Doctor... who?") is one of the longest-running television franchises in science fiction.

As a huge sci-fi fan I have, of course, heard about it but never seen an episode until maybe 2010 when I have seen a few episodes late night on France 4. The first impression was rather of some silliness but after a few episodes I got into the spirit and found an universe of intriguing ideas and gripping drama with some silly goofiness thrown in. Not every idea is great but what series can not be accused of that crime.

The first episodes I've seen (in French) must have been starring David Tennant but when I started watching in earnest I naturally began with the Ninth Doctor. But you'll always remember your first Doctor and my Doctor is and probably always will be the Tenth Doctor.


When Doctor Who was created in 1963, the character was meant to be an older man travelling with his grand-daughter both being humanoid aliens capable of time travel. By 1966 the need of re-casting the Doctor became apparent and in any normal show that meant either one of two possibilities. One could simply take a new actor and pretend nothing ever happened. Or one could basically do what is today called a reboot - recreate everything and pretend the previous series don't exist. In a rare case you could integrate the fact that the actor has changed by saying the character has undergone plastic surgery but this seems rare indeed.

Being an alien it was suggested that the Doctor could regenerate allowing for a new actor to take on the role with different looks and attitudes while keeping the continuity intact. This way over the years the Doctor has been played by eleven differnt actors (in the official canon) with Matt Smith playing the latest incarnation since January the First, 2010.


As I have said I'm still loyal to the Tenth Doctor who appeared in three series. While I generally prefer the first and the last of these three years the Third Series still features one of the best Doctor Who episodes, ever: Blink.

A young woman gets messages from the past and needs to sort it out in order to survive the deadliest (and probably most humane) assassins of the universe and help the Doctor.

Two things stand out in this episode. First, there are these monsters whose peculiar nature makes them more frightening than your usual I-rip-your-head-off-and-feed-on-your-blood monster of the week. Second, the Doctor is hardly seen and yet you feel his presence.

I have found a video clip on YouTube but please be aware that watching it before you've seen the episode might spoil it for you!

You can buy it on Amazon…

Monday, 6 August 2012

Steampunk Literature, Part Two

Some More Fiction

Though I'm still reading another book entirely (Vanquished Gods: Science, Religion and the Nature of Belief) and will read some other book (The Long Earth) before I get into Steampunk I still have found some more to read…

Let's begin with James Blaylock's The Digging Leviathan which is the first novel in his Narbondo series, followed by Homunculus and Lord Kelvin's Machine. Blaylock was mentored - alongside Tim Powers and the aforementioned K. W. Jeter - by Philip K. Dick.

Another novel is Infernal Devices. A Mad Victorian Fantasy by none other than Jeter himself who probably coined the word steampunk in 1987.

Not Strictly Steampunk But Close Enough

Stephen Michael Stirling's The Peshawar Lancers is not entirely what I would call steampunk but close in feeling to be interesting.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Steampunk Literature

Lately I wondered about interesting Steampunk literature.


Steampunk is a term that - paralleling the word Cyberpunk invented by Bruce Bethke - denotes work featuring a certain punk attitude in combination with a core technology. While in the case of cyberpunk it is the nowadays prevalent electronic technology, steampunk takes a bit more revisionist and romantic approach by making the steam engine the primary driving force behind most technical development.

This makes for visually striking imagery but appears to us today less plausible. This (and the appealing idea that common people can with some training repair everything) helps in popularizing the basic ideas of the steampunk concept. But it also seems to be a reason that steampunk has until late largely refined to visual art forms like movies (my favorite one featuring steampunk concepts so far as I have seen remains La Cité des enfants perdus), animes and comics.

So what about written fiction?

I have decided to create a small list of Steampunk literature that I will try to get and read it and I will eventually post reviews on each book thus processed on this blog.

One book that I actually do own myself is The Difference Engine by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling. One early example of steampunk writing is Michael Moorcock's A Nomad of the Time Streams trilogy published between 1971 and 1981.

More recent additions to the genre is the work of Stephen Hunt's Jackelian fantasy series. Another novel that was placed in the steampunk tradition by none other than Moorcock himself is The Manual of Detection by Jedediah Berry.

The difficulty seems also to be that due to its nature (and close relation to the Victorian era) steampunk is frequently mixed with gothic horror, supernatural romance and/or written as young adults literature neither of which is necessarily bad but also dilutes the idea of steampunk (that I like).

The Difference Engine
The Warlord of the Air
The Land Leviathan
A Nomad Of Time Streams
The Court of the Air
The Manual of Detection
Writing Steampunk Widgets