Imagine the wonders of modern and future technology - cars, submarines, airships, computers, spaceships — achieved using the knowledge of the late 1800s, and you've got a good idea of steampunk fiction's foundation.
You won't have to strain your imagination very far tonight if you pay a visit to Stage Right Studio between 6 and 9 p.m. at 68 S. Main St. to catch the opening of the Thunder and Steam exhibit. The event features work from six artists from New England and beyond, living statues, sidewalk chalk art, Staff and art from the web comic "Sky Pirates of Valendor" with members of the steampunk costume group Dark Dishonour and teacher Jason Robert LeClair, author of the steampunk novel, "Broken Silences." Music will also be provided.
"It's going to be a hoot and a holler," LeClair said.
Connie Anderson, owner of Stage Right Studio and a friend of LeClair, said she didn't know about steampunk until the two discussed the subject recently. While he was telling her about the speculative fiction sub-genre, she also learned about LeClair's steampunk novel.
LeClair said the book is set in an alternate 1918 where America has a king and faeries are real, commonplace creatures. The story follows a young man, Cavan, overshadowed by the reputation of his father, who penned a book that "...made Darwin's "Origin of Species" look like Genesis, Chapter 1."
A mysterious puzzle box long in Cavan's possession turns out to be both a piece of a house and the catalyst to the mystery of his father's whereabouts that leads him to Ecuador for answers. "It's a tumultuous little adventure," LeClair said. The book is available through Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble and as an e-book for Kindle and Nook.
The book, LeClair's first novel, was released in January and debuted as a print book in Daytona at Florida Steampunk Exhibition East April 13-15. The 1992 grad and children's book illustrator said he was inspired to write the novel when a student took a look at one of his illustrations of a faerie and said, "I wonder how they gestate."
Anderson said she is in regular search of new works and exhibits to show at Stage Right Studio, so it was not long before she and LeClair decided to bring steampunk to the Woonsocket space.
The exhibit will also feature the works of:
Kathryn Redfield Paterwic
The exhibit is open through July 27, when it will end with a reading from LeClair's novel and signings of copies of "Broken Silences" and "Sky Pirates of Valendor."
Both events are free, but donations will be gladly accepted.