All this month we will be celebrating Steampunk and reader communities with a weekly guest post each Thursday from Steampunk author Maeve Alpin. Her first post is a report from a recent Steampunk reader event she attended. I love to see readers getting into their books and this mash-up looks like tons of fun!
A Mad Hatter Steampunk Tea Party
by Maeve Alpin
There was a table set under the pavilion in Houston’s Herman Park and the mad hatter was having tea at it. No sleeping door mouse set beside him but there were squirrels in the park, which are quite close to mice but alas he didn’t try to put a squirrel in his teapot.
Along with the mad hatter, I and about forty other Houston area Steampunk enthusiasts came including Alice, complete with white rabbit, on a necklace she wore. We bought teapots and tea cups and, though the Queen of Hearts didn’t make tarts for us, we had yummy cucumber finger sandwiches, luscious blueberry scones, crisp ginger biscuits, grapes, cheese, brownies, and more. We even had fancy parasol as a center piece and a Steampunk sign. Though it was a lovely day the pavilion offered nice shade. It was much like standing under a large mushroom.
Though Alice was curious about the March hare’s watch, which didn’t keep time but told the date, here in the 21st century many of us have watches which do both, but we didn’t spread the best butter on ours are dunk them in our tea like Lewis Carol’s march hare did. Still we had a great time drinking our tea.
It was a gorgeous day and every time the little train in the park went by we waved and all the riders, parents and children waved back at us. After tea we smoked the hookah like Lewis’s large blue caterpillar and we played croquet. There were no cries of off with your head from the Queen of Hearts but my croquet ball was smacked out by other balls several times. We used regular wire wickets, not soldiers doubled up and standing on their hands and feet to make the arches as they did at the queen’s croquet game.
We also didn’t have to try to manage live flamingos for mallets or live hedgehogs for balls. Which is fortunate, as the chief difficulty of using a flamingo as a mallet is by the time you get its neck straightened out it twist itself round and looks up in your face with a puzzled expression. And the hedgehogs have a habit of unrolling themselves and crawling away.
Of course in wonderland it is always time for tea since the mad hatter quarreled with time last March it stays at six o’clock, but our tea party ran until 4 o’clock. Though somewhat sad, it’s good it came to an end so we could take our teapots an teacups home and wash them out rather than moving all the tea-things around as they get used up as the mad hatter, march hare and the door mouse had to do.
I had such a lovely time at the Mad Hatter tea party I half believe I went in Wonderland rather than Herman park. Though our Houston tea party get together has ended there will be many more events. In the meantime I will entertain myself with a large cup of tea and a long book, one with pictures and conversions. For as Alice would say, what use is a book without pictures or conversations.
Maeve’s latest Steampunk/Romance is Conquistadors In Outer Space.
Thrown off the Spanish estate she worked at all her life, Ana, a milkmaid, seeks a new life. Disguised as a rich widow, she boards a rocket, to be blasted out of a huge cannon, and targeted for the newly discovered planet, X. Sparks fly when she finds Ramon, the only man she ever loved, heir of the estate she worked on, is flying to Planet X as well. As the Spanish governor of Plant X searches for gold, the treasure Ramon seeks is Ana. His conquest is challenging, though he swears to protect and love her, as a noble he cannot marry a peasant. Ana cannot deny her desire for Ramon, but she will not be his mistress. Will his conquest of her heart succeed or will Ana make a life for herself alone amid the wonders and dangers of Planet X.