2018 Presentation Line-up

FEATURED PRESENTER

Zebulon Vitruvius Pike
Muggle name: Kevin Geiselman

Gentleman adventurer, mercenary explorer, dime novel hero and veteran of the late unpleasantness. After serving in the US Aeroship Cavalry and as special agent to the President, Pike left government service to travel the world. When not saving civilization as we know it from science pirates, abominations of nature and invaders from the beyond, Professor Vitruvius occasionally lectures on topics of interest in history, science and technology. Meanwhile, in the unforeseeable future, Kevin Geiselman has been attending, running and presenting at science fiction conventions for several decades. And while he considers himself a writer of not insignificant skill, he has yet to be formally published.

Presentations

Victorian Spacecraft
The science and science fiction of space travel in the 19th Century. Jules Verne’s moon gun. H.G. Wells’ Cavorite sphere. Konstantin Tsiolkovsky’s space elevator. Erasmus Darwin’s rocket. Thomas Edison’s aether propeller. Tesla’s Venusian X-12. Where they got it right. Where they got it wrong. And how you can incorporate them into your steampunk narrative.

History and Technology of Airships
Dirigibles are a fixture of steampunk literature but what does it really take for them to fly and how did a century of technological development get them there? From the Montgolfier Brothers to Ferdinand von Zeppelin, from Ben Franklin’s airship commandos to luxury liners of the sky, from triumph to tragedy.

H. G. Wells and the War of the Worlds
A retrospective of the man, his masterpiece and what has became of his vision since 1897, from Garrett Services’ hackneyed “Edison’s Conquest of Mars” through Orson Welles’ Halloween broadcast.

 

The Skinny on the Scanties: A History of Women’s Underwear

Susan Hartzold

Subject Area: Costumes and Props

Ever wondered about the history, purpose, and meaning of women’s undergarments? Well, here’s your chance to get a revealing peek at what’s been worn beneath our outer garments through the centuries… and the not-so-hidden meanings they sometimes communicated.

Susan is a Curator of Collections and Exhibits at the McLean County Museum of History. With a background in costume history, she is uniquely qualified to discuss this topic.

Steampunk Stories and Sonnets

Ardis Stewart

Subject Area: Writing

Ever imagine what it would be like to write your own speculative story with a steampunk spin? What about a steampunk sonnet? Then this workshop might just be the place to oil your creative cogs and get you started! We’ll cover some basic dos and don’ts of creative writing in general and steampunk literary style in particular — who knows, you may just be the next H. G. Wells or Jules Verne!

Ardis has a MA in writing from Illinois State University (and Ph.D. course work there) where she has taken numerous creative writing classes. She has done creative writing workshops at the Normal Public Library (through Kathleen Kirk’s RHINO Poetry Magazine sponsorship). Her poetry has been published in Seeding the Snow, RHINO, Word-River, in the anthology Where We Live: Illinois Poets, and on WGLT’s Poetry Radio. Ardis is one of the poets involved in “Words on Quilts” for the McLean County Barn Quilt Heritage Trails. She also teaches composition at Heartland Community College and Illinois Central College and has presented on writing at numerous professional conferences.

Crime and Punishment in the Victorian Age

Amy Wood

Subject Area: History and Science

Many features of the Victorian criminal justice system in the United States look archaic to us now, from the flogging of prisoners to public executions to physiological examinations of criminals. Yet, much of our present-day criminal justice system began in the Victorian era. The nineteenth century saw the rise of the penitentiary, professional police forces, modern criminology, and methods of criminal detection such as the mug shot and fingerprinting. Contemporary popular responses to crime —such as crime stories and detective fiction —also originated in the Victorian age. This talk will discuss how and why many of these developments came to be.

Amy is currently writing a cultural and intellectual history of criminality and criminal justice in the late nineteenth century. She has previously published on the history of lynching and the history of executions. Amy teaches a course on the history of crime and punishment at Illinois State University.

A Reckless Era of Performance

Steve Gossard

Subject Area: History and Science

This presentation will highlight various sensational performances from the Victorian Era, particularly dangerous aerial acts!

Steve Gossard graduated from Illinois State University with a degree in Art and a concentration in Art History. In 1984, he was asked to curate an exhibit from the circus collection at Milner Library for the Museums Department at ISU. Until Gossard’s research began, few people in the community knew anything about this fascinating local history, and he quickly became the unofficial historian for the community of retired circus performers still living in Bloomington-Normal. Since local legend held that an act called the “flying return” had been invented here in B-N, Gossard devoted much of his research to studying the invention and development of trapeze and other types of aerial performance arts.

Accessorize to Maximize

Molly Parvenue

Subject Area: Costumes and Props

You’ve decided on a character. What’s next? Why, it’s time to find out how to bring them to life! After all, clothes make the man and costumes make the characters. In this course you will learn how to — with a few easy accessories — take your outfit from beginner to best in show.

As an award winning seamstress and prop designer Louise has helped hundreds design, refine and augment their costumes. She is an experienced teacher and presenter of many different genres of costuming from Medieval to Steampunk, Fantasy to Fanciful. Louise has done it all.

Steampunk Necklace

Blaine Kemp

Subject Area: Costumes & Props (make-n-take)

Fee: $20, cash at the door

Make a unique Steampunk necklace of your own. All materials included.

Blaine Kemp is owner and designer at Steam Pop Creations. He loves to make things from repurposed vintage jewelry as well as put a new twist on items.

The Natural History and Brewing of Tea

Octavia Quinlan

Subject Area: History and Science

Ever wondered how to brew the perfect pot of tea? Ever wonder where tea comes from and how it’s manufactured? Well, that is what we will discuss: the tea plant, how it is processed, and how to make it into a great brew!

A naturalist and nature illustrator, Professor Octavia Quinlan has been traveling the world looking for odd specimens of flora and fauna, and on the way has also accumulated a storehouse of knowledge on the tea customs of other lands. She enjoys talking about any of these topics, from anteaters to yapoks, from Assam tea to oolong, and anything else under the sun (but the weirder, the better).

Steampunk weapons 101

Micca MacKay

Subject Area: Costumes and Props (make-n-take)

Fee: $10, cash at the door

This is a hands-on, how-to class on making your first Steampunk weapon. In this workshop you will learn tips and tricks to take a basic Nerf gun and turn it Steampunk. You will walk away from this class with a weapon in hand! All supplies and weapon are provided in this make-and-take workshop. Class size is limited to 10 participants, on a first-come basis.

Micca is an educator and re-enactor, history buff and crafter. He has a Doctorate of Nursing Practice and Masters of Education, Associate of History and Mo State Paramedic License. Over 30 years of emergency medical treatment, care and education have helped Micca create unique class and workshop experiences. Micca has taught at various events around the country. With his partner in science and mischief Dark_Eyed_Beauty they bring a light-hearted and unique look at every workshop.

The Myth and Fact of Victorian Medicine

Micca MacKay

Subject Area: History and Science

Explore the medical myths of the time and the facts that Victorian Medicine brought about. In this open discussion we will cover leeches and bloodletting to vampires and rising from the dead, mythology versus science.

Micca is an educator and re-enactor, history buff and crafter. He has a Doctorate of Nursing Practice and Masters of Education, Associate of History and Mo State Paramedic License. Over 30 years of emergency medical treatment, care and education have helped Micca create unique class and workshop experiences. Micca has taught at various events around the country. With his partner in science and mischief Dark_Eyed_Beauty they bring a light hearted and unique look at every workshop.