In a warzone and yet she’s smiling. Why?
First, take a look at the young woman on the cover, “A despatch rider in the Women’s Royal Airforce enjoying a tea break while seated on her motorcycle, 1918.”
She’s most likely in a warzone. She’s probably not had a bath for a while. Might have lice. Any men in her life have a good chance of not making it to Christmas with all their body parts, or at all. She’s living under military discipline. And, as she rides around, she might herself get blown up or strafed.
And yet, she’s smiling.
You really have to read expert fashion historian Lucy Adlington’s Great War Fashion: Tales from the History Wardrobe to truly understand why she’s smiling.
And fashion in the book’s title is an understatement. This is more the kind of thing Osprey would publish — kit, context, consequences and case study. It’s certainly less about the minutiae of stitching and fabric, and more about the clothes women wore, why, how, and what the experience was.
As promised by the subtitle, “Tales from the History Wardrobe,” it’s packed with stories from women’s original letters, diaries and reminiscences, so it takes us beyond fashion and into the evolving role of women from about 1910 through to 1920.
Read More »
It occurred to me while writing about the benefits of chainmail bikinis that one of the major downfalls is the vast amount of exposed skin. Not for any morality or mortality reasons (although those do make for interesting points), but rather for the sheer amount of maintenance that would require. I’m not even talking about shaving and waxing. (We all agree that Conan *must* wax to pull off that oily muscled look, right?)
And let’s be realistic. Wow, the scars adventurers must have. I mean, I once had a tick removed from my tender tender belly flesh. That’s what you get for running in the woods fully clothed, so I flinch at the thought of running half-naked in the woods. You’d become a tick magnet.
Anyway, a 70-year old mostly blind doctor went at me with a scalpel to remove the tiny leg still stuck in my flesh and, I gotta tell you, that left a scar. Now that was one tiny, super sharp and badly wielded knife. So let’s pause and imagine how many scars inappropriately armored individuals must have.
This is more about the unsightly scars left behind by being thrust at with swords, spears, arrows, knives, mystical weapons, spells, and large pachyderms. Obviously there are ways of dealing with such minor scars, leaving visible only the major nod-to-backstory ones.
In my continued efforts to support sword and sorcery fashion adventurers, here’s an undoubtedly incomplete list of tricks to deal with scarring while wearing almost nothing.
Read More »
We’ve all heard about the downsides of the chainmail bikini.
Sure, sure, it’ll get you pierced a thousand times over and you have to wax about every hour, but could it be that the chainmail bikini suffers from a bad rap? Could our prejudices be standing in the way of one of fantasy’s greatest female armors? Should we just silence all the naysayers out there?
I think we should at least try, because I’ve yet to see a picture of Hawkeye in a chainmail bikini. (Internet, you’ve failed us all. And it’s okay. Really.)
Here’s a list of oft-overlooked awesome chainmail bikini traits, to help redirect the conversation in a more positive way.
- Show off your abs – Female warriors work hard, too! After all, even Conan had leather thongs to show off his almost-but-thankfully-not-everything everything. (Wait, is that a good pro argument? Hang on. I can do better.)
- No great maintenance costs – Paladins curse this one. While they have to get their armor to the smithy after every single random encounter (well, maybe every third or fifth, depending on skill level), the female bikini-clad woman can simply strut to the beach, confident that her armor was not damaged. Because if she’d taken a hit that could damage her armor, she’d be dead.
Read More »
You know your HBO fantasy series has hit it big when it makes the cover of culture and fashion magazine Vanity Fair.
The April issue, on sale now, features a cast photoshoot by star photographer Annie Leibovitz and a feature on the making of the show written by Jim Windolf. But more interesting is a wide-ranging interview with author George R.R. Martin which covers, among other things, the true scale of the Iron Throne and Martin’s plan to stay ahead of the rapidly-progressing show.
The season that’s about to debut covers the second half of the third book… But there are two more books beyond that… A Dance with Dragons is itself a book that’s as big as A Storm of Swords. So there’s potentially three more seasons there, between [A Feast for Crows] and Dance, if they split into two the way they did [with Storms]. Now, Feast and Dance take place simultaneously… You can combine them and do it chronologically. And it’s my hope that they’ll do it that way and then, long before they catch up with me, I’ll have published The Winds of Winter, which’ll give me another couple years. It might be tight on the last book, A Dream of Spring, as they juggernaut forward.
I was also fascinated by his comments on the death of the brilliant Tom Reamy, whom we profiled in Black Gate 15:
Tom died of a heart attack just a few months after winning the award for best new writer in his field. He was found slumped over his typewriter, seven pages into a new story. Instant. Boom. Killed him… Tom’s death had a profound effect on me, because I was in my early thirties then. I’d been thinking, as I taught, well, I have all these stories that I want to write… and I have all the time in the world… and then Tom’s death happened, and I said, Boy. Maybe I don’t…
After Tom’s death, I said, “You know, I gotta try this. I don’t know if I can make a living as a full-time writer or not, but who knows how much time I have left?…” So I decided I would sell my house in Iowa and move to New Mexico. And I’ve never looked back.
Read the complete interview here.
Last week the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo (C2E2 for you cool kids) rolled into town with its usual juggernaut of the innovative, the unusual and the spandex’d.
Though this is my fourth year covering the show for Black Gate, I must say it is by far the worst place to send someone like me who has a problem with staring; especially when doing so is likely to seriously annoy a very big person in a very small costume.
But never let it be said that I shirked my obligation to a long-suffering readership. Therefore I bribed Black Gate photographer Chris Z to once again wade into a precarious situation with me, this time with the promise he could meet all the crew of the Black Pearl from Pirates of the Caribbean who were listed as special guests.
Plus, Chris would be a good deterrent if I did indeed seriously annoy someone; like Batman or Chewbacca.
Almost immediately I realized Chris Z was probably in as much trouble as I was.
The first indication was a sign instructing us to text a number if we saw anything “suspicious.” At which point Chris and I looked at each other and said in unison, “Define suspicious.”
When everywhere you look are adults dressed as super heroes, Star Wars characters and video game icons, determining exactly what constitutes “suspicious” is darn near impossible. Which makes you wonder what would cause someone to text the number as instructed.
Still, Chris and I did our very best to put on the mental blinders and run through a full-day lineup of interviews, meet-and-greets and 100 aisles of merchandise.
Read More »
I’m not truly sure when I first heard the word ‘Steampunk.’ I suppose it happened recently, because I believe the word is more modern than most realize. Before the 2000s I’d say the genre in question had a different title, although I’m not sure what it was.
I mean, we’d certainly seen it, in movies like 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea or even the Wild Wild West. In gaming, I’d even played it with Frank Chadwick’s Space: 1889, but it somehow was just ‘Victorian Era’ or ‘Old West with a Twist.’ I suppose it could have been called ‘Vernian’ after Jules Verne, although it’s certainly not as catchy as Steampunk.
My thought, as it strikes me in this very moment, is that Cyberpunk, the catalyst of William Gibson, came first and that the ‘punk’ tag got attached to the ‘steam’ aspect of the time period in which the genre takes place. This, however, has begun to get overplayed, and just last week I swore off the word ‘punk’ entirely when I read a quote for a book that labeled the fiction ‘Godpunk’… seriously?! Godpunk?
Ah well, whatever the case, Steampunk is here and it seems here to stay. In my own experience, I’ve had the pleasure of not only gaming in a Steampunk setting, but also writing a novel in the genre with The Gun Kingdoms. That book, inspired by Space: 1889’s lead concept artist, David Deitrick, was a pleasure to create and it certainly gave me a fantastic reason to research the culture of the growing genre.
Read More »
What the heck does one wear at the end of the world? Sure, yes, most people would answer, whatever you can find, but…why not be prepared, and why wait till disaster strikes? Don’t you want to look like a post-apocalyptic hardass? I mean, come on, who doesn’t want to get their Mad Max and Alice on? Nobody wants to be the tarp-toga guy who ties guns to his belt with bootlaces. It’s unwieldy.
Crisiswear is a Chicago-based clothing company. They specialize in future-forward fashion with industrial elements. All of their clothing is custom made, double stitched and built to last. This is survival gear that you can blow up evil, mutant villains in and then dance around their charred lairs.
Stock up on versatile, hedonistic, cyberpunk apparel at their website, or check out Crisiswear on Etsy.
MedTech Dress by Crisiswear
Kensen by Crisiswear
Vigilante vest by Crisiswear
Solo Leg Holster by Crisiswear