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Parasol Protectorate Covers: Experts Weigh In

Ay-leen's photo by Anna Fischer

The competition is fierce and the comments are flying over at the finalist round for the Parasol Protectorate cover contest, and I thought it would be fun to have some “Steampunk Experts” give us some professional opinions of the finalists ensembles and posing. First up is the Ay-leen the Peacemaker, mistress of the fabulous blog Beyond Victoriana, who also contributes to other blogs and projects on retro-futurism. Beyond Victoriana focuses on multiculturalism in Steampunk and retro-futurism, and just won a Last Drink Bird Head Award.

I really enjoy reading Ay-leen’s essays because it’s good to remember that although there is a huge Victorian Age element to Steampunk, that does not mean that it has to be solely Victorian England. I’m really into the idea that a lot of the fun of retro-futurism is that you can really make it personal in style, and that can include your own family and cultural heritage. For example, check out the costume in the Careless cover below, which kind of has an awesome eastern/turkish element to it.

Anyway, enough about what I think…on to Ayleen’s comments…


Careless: This has a great use of color in the outfit (the red & green! the stripes!). I love her whimsical pose and smile too– that really captures the spirit of Gail’s books, past the humdrum stuffiness of Victoriana.  (She’s definitely my second choice.)

Doubtless: Straightforward outfit and a charming model. The giant lock is epic, but I wonder what it’s for (and where he’s hiding the key!) I don’t get a sense of what his character is from his outfit, though.

Priceless: Nice pose and the skirt is beautiful.

Breathless: I love the shiny details of her outfit and her set of accessories. Yet I get the impression that her outfit would work better in a pub (perhaps, taking arms in an impending bar fight?) than in a library.

Dreamless: The most evocative pose out of the bunch! And his expression is worthy of these steampunk romances that are starting to crop up now. I also love his haircut and his boots, which really hints at the punk edge of steampunk. I only wish there was a hint of color somewhere to really make his outfit pop.

Bountiless: LOL! How could I pass on steampunk Boba Fett, really? XD Props for the fun mash-up aspect.He has to be my #1 choice.

Thanks Ay-leen! We’ll have a few more guest experts weighing in as we get closer to the Monday voting deadline…you can wait for their input to cast your vote, or you can go vote now!

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