Steaming Ahead

Augusta steampunk gathering seeks lovers of retro sci-fi

Tom Giffey |

Get out your driving goggles, leather top hats, and clockwork-operated ray guns: A steampunk convention is headed our way with the unstoppable momentum of a coal-driven dirigible. The first-ever Port Venture Steampunk Con will bring enthusiasts of the sci-fi subgenre to the Augusta Senior and Community Center Oct. 18. Organizer Sharon Pogodzinski is accustomed to answering two questions. The first: What is steampunk? If you have to ask, this con might not be for you – then again, if you’ve consumed much science fiction in the past few decades you probably are familiar with the subculture even if you don’t realize it. In essence, steampunk is a sci-fi aesthetic that melds Victorian style and sensibility with gee-whiz futurism: Imagine an alternate universe populated with steam-powered robots, steam-powered computers – steam-powered everything, basically. The genre’s roots begin in the proto-sci-fi of Jules Verne and lead through TV shows like The Wild, Wild West, Warehouse 13, and Doctor Who. “The next question is ‘Augusta?’ ” says Pogodzinski with a chuckle. As it turns out, the small-town senior center is a lovely old brick building that evokes an old-fashioned depot, a perfect meeting place whether you’re coming by car, airship, or steam train. The convention will offer lovers of the genre a chance to show off their costumes, renaissance-fair style; to buy from vendors, including local fantasy artist Mark Lone, a milliner, and a maker of glass ornaments; to enjoy presentations by the likes of bookseller Philip Kaveny, who will speak on the works of Jules Verne and H.G. Wells; and to try their hands (and hips) at jewelry making and belly dancing. Organizers hope the convention sparks further interest in steampunk, or at least lets its devotees know they’re not alone in their love of pairing corsets and computers.

Port Venture Steampunk Con • Sat., Oct. 18, 10am-6pm • Augusta Senior and Community Center, 601 Main St., Augusta • $5 (children under 12 free) • (715) 877-3198 • •