It’s not everyday that you don the Clockwork Orange hat and pointing stick for a celebration in full steampunk regalia. But then, that’s what book launch parties are for.
I began the book tour in New York City at Union Hall, with a marvelous evening of future and past technologies and what I like to call “dread tech” –those new and surprising devices with their unexpected consequences. But for Sept 22 in Cleveland, my hometown and the best big little city (complete with the spare ribs and spine of one-time steel booms and burning river history), I wanted to do something just a little bit different.
This past Friday (Sept 8th), I had the extreme good fortune to take part in Empiricist League #20, aptly titled Histories of the Future. Along with my two fellow speakers, I had the chance to do a little time travel. Of course, as a historian and lover of all things steampunk, my talk didn’t look nearly so much at “future histories” (the future of architecture, agriculture, and space travel) as “Past futures.” I began the talk with a signature line from the my recent book CLOCKWORK FUTURES:
“Every good history begins with a story. The best of them build bridges through time where one story’s end is lost in the next one’s beginning, like a dragon swallowing its own tail.”
CLOCKWORK FUTURES: The Science of Steampunk, CITIES OF FUTURES PAST: Strange historical visions of the urban future, THE FINAL FRONTIER OF DESIGN: Working with NASA to design the next generation of spacesuit gloves. Friday September 8, 2017