Announces the Steampunk Month Photo Contest!

As much as we like giving things to you with no strings attached, we also like making you work for your prizes. Consequently, we bring you the official Steampunk Month Photo contest, which is…exactly what it sounds like: We’re giving some of our readers with a bit of costuming skill and a bit of photography-fu the chance to win fabulous prizes like:

A gift certificate from Clockwork Couture


Two passes to the Steampunk World’s Fair in March 2010


A gorgeous Victorian/Steampunk-style gold pocket watch


Perfumes from the Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab Phoenix Steamworks series


Keep reading to find out how you can throw your hat in the ring.

Step 1: Suit up.  To enter a steampunk contest, you’ve obviously got to look steampunk. But if you’ve learned one thing this month, I hope it’s that there are as many different ways to create a unique steampunk look as there are people who want to be steampunkers. Don’t be afraid to be creative!

Step 2: Pose.  Go somewhere cool-looking. Set a timer (or get someone else to the honors). Click the shutter. We’re looking for pictures of our readers, so, yes, you are submitting a picture of yourself (though you’re more than welcome to share your prize with your photographer). Better yet, trade off photography duties with a friend so that you can both enter. For the super-technically minded, a reader is anyone who reads, so you may enter even if this is the first post you’ve ever read. However, please note that you must be a registered user for your entry to be eligible.

Step 3: Incorporate Stubby. Next, you need to somehow introduce our dirigible logo, the H.M.S. Stubbington, to your photograph. You could print him out and pose with him when you’re taking the actual photo, or you can add him after the fact with the photo manipulation program of your choice. To start you off, here is the Steam Stubby logo in black and here it is in white, both on transparent backgrounds. But you can feel free to make him a different color if it works better for the picture.

Step 4: Let us see it.  In order to enter, you must then add your photo to the Steampunk Photo Contest Flickr group and tag it with the phrase “steampunkmonth”. If you want to show off a small version of your entry in the comments of this post, we would welcome that, but it’s the Flickr pool entry that counts. You can also feel free to use the comments section to discuss your strategies for creating the perfect steampunk photo op.

Step 5: Watch and wait. The contest will run for ten days, starting on Friday October 23 at 12:00 p.m. EST and ending on Tuesday, November 3rd at 12:01 p.m. EST. After the end date, we will hand the reins over to steampunk impresario Evelyn Kriete of Jaborwhalky Productions, who has been supremely helpful in our efforts to make Steampunk Month as good as can be. Evelyn will select winners in each of three categories—”Most Creative,” “Best Setting,” and “Best Overall”—and five honorable mentions (though the staff may help her pick the honorable mentions). We will inform the winner of their prizewinning status by e-mail at approximately 12:00 a.m. EST on November 4th, so all entrants should check their e-mail right around then so they can get their top pick of the prizes.

Oh, yeah…prizes! Here’s what the winners shall reap:

Prize 1 starts off with a $50 gift certificate to Clockwork Couture, the first and best clothier devoted exclusively to steampunk fashion, where you can purchase countless gorgeous costuming elements for ladies and gents.  For example, their Airship Mechanic ensemble:

The first prize also comes with one bottle of a perfume oil blend from the Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab Phoenix Steamworks collection, a series of scents designed to represent the steampunker within us even when we’re in jeans and a t-shirt. The crucial question: do you want to smell more like The Antikythera Mechanism or The Obsidian Widow?

Prize 2 is two passes to the The Steampunk World’s Fair, which will be held on the weekend of May 14th, 2010, in Piscataway, New Jersey. The World’s Fair is the first major steampunk convention in the Northeast and promises an absurd array of retrofuturistic delights, including a Chrononaut’s Jubilee Ball, the Cup of Brown Joy Tea Party, a Murder Mystery Dinner, a Cabaret, a Gentleman’s Duel, a Mad Science Fair, and maybe even a Steampunk Rock Opera.

The winner of Prize 2 will also get a 5ml bottle of Phoenix Steamworks perfume.

Prize 3 is a ridiculously gorgeous “gold” Victorian/Steampunk-style watch. It has a filigree front; a clear back, so you can see the gears at work; and a glow-in-the-dark face to illuminate your nefarious business. This is so damn cool looking that words will not suffice:



And—you guessed it—the winner of Prize 3 will also get a bottle of Phoenix Steamworks perfume.

And what about us honorable mentions? Each person who receives an honorable mention will also get a scent of their choice from the Phoenix Steamworks perfume line.

Although the winners do get to choose from among the three prizes, and everyone will have their choice of BPAL scents, we do have limited quantities (that is: one) of each prize, which will be dispensed in the order that we receive your prize confirmations. So please do check your e-mail around 12:00 a.m. EST on November 4th.

That’s probably all you need to know, aside from the obligatory fine print:

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. A PURCHASE DOES NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. To participate in the “Steampunk Photo” contest, post your “steampunkmonth”-tagged photo in the Flickr pool, beginning Friday, October 23 at 12:00 p.m. EST and ending on Tuesday, November 3 at 12:01 p.m. EST. Winners will be selected on the basis of creativity, setting, and overall quality: each factor will be applied to each entry, but creativity and setting will have greater weight in their respective categories. Open to registered users of who are legal U.S. residents 18 years of age and older. Void in Puerto Rico and where prohibited by law. For complete Official Rules, go here. Sponsor:, a division of Macmillan, 175 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10010.

Good luck! Can’t wait to see what you come up with.

Liz Gorinsky is an editor at Tor Books. She probably likes running contests so much because she wishes she could win them herself.


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