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Myke Amend & Bethalynne Bajema – Vendor Profile


“The Tower” by Bethalynne Bajema

Myke Amend and Bethalynne Bajema are a creative duo who work their surrealist magics in the weird-tales and strange fiction vein, and are known for creating album covers, book cover and other works for some of Steampunk’s best known musicians, authors, and magazines.

Both have been guest artists at the Steampunk Empire Symposium, Myke in 2012, and Bethalynne in 2013. One of Myke’s most popular paintings “The Rescue” was commissioned for Abney Park and features their infamous pirate airship.


“Desert Shadows” by Myke Amend







See more of Myke Amend’s art at his site, and more of Bethalynne Bajema’s work at her site.

Pandoracon joins the Cincinnati Comic Expo


McGann Expo Banner

In 2012 Pandoracon provided Cincinnati with a new way to experience a Sci-Fi & Fantasy convention with interactive games and events, and now the Pandora Society is excited to announce that we shall be partnering with the Cincinnati Comic Expo this year! The remaining Pandoracon staff will be heavily involved in adding new panels and interactive events to the rapidly growing Comic Expo.

I was planning on waiting until after the Steampunk Symposium to announce this, but sometimes good news is hard to keep secret . . . I, Aloysius Fox, was last week made Director of Programming for the Cincinnati Comic Expo as part of the merger of Pandoracon and the Expo. For the past four years the Expo has put on a fantastic comic show, but now the show is growing into something much bigger than that, and the spirit of Pandoracon is going to help further bring many fandoms together in the Duke Energy Center this September.

Today the Expo announced its latest guest, to whom the Pandora Society played a part in this decision, and as you see above it is none other than Doctor Who! Paul McGann, the eighth Doctor will be coming to Cincinnati in September! As part of this celebration, the Pandora Society will be hosting The Time Travelers’ Ball on Saturday, September 20th in the Duke Energy Center Junior Ballroom . . . an event in its third year inspired by Steampunk, Doctor Who, and general fun costuming! It is not confirmed, but there is a good chance that McGann will join the Ball to judge the costume contest.

While Pandoracon will cease to be an independent show, it is thrilling to know that the work that was begun in 2012 will touch thousands more fans and in a couple more years place Cincinnati firmly on the geek map as one of the best convention hosts in the nation :)

Literary Guest – Oscar Wilde

oscar-wilde-1To celebrate St. Patrick’s Day the Symposium is proud to add witty playwright, poet, and notorious dandy Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde to our guest of honour line up.

Wilde is known for his ideas about the supremacy of art and has incorporated themes of decadence, duplicity, and beauty into his first novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray. The opportunity to construct aesthetic details precisely, and combine them with larger social themes, drew Wilde to write drama. He has wrote Salome in French in Paris but it was refused a licence for England due to the absolute prohibition of Biblical subjects on the English stage. Unperturbed, Wilde produced four society comedies, which made him one of the most successful playwrights of London.

His masterpiece, The Importance of Being Earnest  is still on stage in London, but the drama was off the stage when the Marquess of Queensberry prosecuted Wilde for libel. The Marquess was the father of Wilde’s lover, Lord Alfred Douglas. The charge carried a penalty of up to two years in prison, but the trial unearthed evidence that caused Wilde to drop his charges and led to his own arrest and trial for “gross indecency with other men.” After two more trials he was convicted and imprisoned for two years’ hard labour. In prison, he wrote De Profundis, a long letter which discusses his spiritual journey through his trials, forming a dark counterpoint to his earlier philosophy of pleasure. Upon his release he left immediately for France, never to return to Ireland or Britain. There he wrote his latest work, The Ballad of Reading Gaol, a long poem commemorating the harsh rhythms of prison life. He died destitute in Paris at the age of forty-six . . .

Ah . . . I guess we won’t be having Oscar Wilde as a guest after all, at least not until we can repair our time machine, but he shall certainly be with us in spirit and revered as one of our favorite Irish writers. Learn more about Oscar Wilde from the Wikipedia page where I “borrowed” all the above information, and watch the amazing biographic motion picture Wilde staring Stephen Fry.

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Steam Wars Rogues, Pirates, & NERF Herders

SES 2014 Han Flyer

The latest release from Symposium Guest Artist Bryan Arendt in his series of Steam Wars prints inspired by this year’s theme.


Leanna Renee Hieber returns to the Symposium

Hieber 2

Photo by C. Johnstone:

The Steampunk Empire Symposium is delighted to announce the return of author Leanna Renee Hieber.

Author, actress and playwright Leanna Renee Hieber grew up in rural Ohio inventing ghost stories. She graduated with a BFA in Theatre and a focus in the Victorian Era from Miami University. She began her theatrical career with the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company and began adapting works of 19th Century literature for the stage. Her one-act plays have been published, awarded and produced around the country. Her fiction career began with Dark Nest, which won the 2009 Prism Award for best novella.

Her debut novelThe Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker, landed on Barnes & Noble’s bestseller lists, was named a favourite of 2009 by 14 book blogs, won two 2010 Prism Awards (Best Fantasy, Best First Book), the 2010 Orange County Book Buyer’s Best Award (Young Adult category) and is in development as a musical theatre production with Broadway talent on board. The Perilous Prophecy of Guard and Goddess, prequel in the Strangely Beautiful series, won the 2012 Prism Award (Best Fantasy). This currently out of print series will be reissued by 2015 by Tor/Forge.

DarkerStill300dpifinalcoverDARKER STILL: A Novel of Magic Most Foul, first in the Magic Most Foul saga of Gothic Victorian romantic thrillers, hit the Kid’s/YA Indie Next List as a recommended title by the American Booksellers Association. The book has been praised by Seventeen and Pixie Magazines, Shelf Awareness, The Chicago Tribune and selected as a “highly recommended” title by Scholastic and was a finalist in the Daphne du Maurier award for excellence in Mystery and Romantic Suspense (Historical Category). The Twisted Tragedy of Miss Natalie Stewart continues the Magic Most Foul series and has been praised by Booklist, RT Bookreviews and more. She is serialized the finale, The Double Life of Incorporate Things on her blog in true Gothic Victorian fashion and the complete novel is now available.


Leanna’s short fiction has been featured in anthologies such as Willful Impropriety: Tales of Society and Scandal, ”Too Fond” featured on and Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells: An Anthology of Gaslamp Fantasy (March 2013, Tor) and the upcoming Mammoth Book of Gaslamp Romance. Her new Gaslamp Fantasy series with Tor/Forge, THE ETERNA FILES, launches February 2015. Her books have been translated into many languages and have been selected for multiple book club editions.

Hieber 1

Photo by Biz Urban Photography

Represented by Nicholas Roman Lewis, Leanna is a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and International Thriller Writers.  She is a proud co-founder of the original Lady Jane’s Salon Reading Series in New York. Leanna was named the 2010 RWA NYC Chapter Author of the Year.

A member of performer’s unions Actors Equity Association and SAG-AFTRA, Leanna works often in film and television on shows like Boardwalk Empire. When not writing or on set, she’s telling ghost stories, frequenting Goth clubs, corset shopping, channeling Narcissa Malfoy, wandering graveyards, visiting Family in Salem and adventuring in full Victorian regalia.

Fett vs. Fett – The BIG Showdown!

2x4 Ashby

Danny Ashby

2x4 Strangeway

John Strangeway

“He’s worth more to me alive,” and he’s worth more to our charity partner NAMI; as part of our charity fundraiser these two Steampunk Boba Fetts will have a weekend long showdown to see which is the greater bounty hunter of the aether.

Starting on Friday, April 25th attendees of the Symposium will be able to place a price on the heads of other attendees by making a donation to NAMI. Both Fetts will be given the target’s details and the first to capture the bounty will receive the credit for the NAMI donation. Captured bounties will be taken to the heart of the aether’s crime lords where they will be “frozen” in carbon-night for all to see (details coming later).

Upon Closing Ceremonies on Sunday, April 27th we will learn which Boba Fett captured the most bounties for charity, and which will walk away with the title of best bounty hunter in the aether.

Crystal Bright & the Silver Hands

Crystal Bright2013 was a busy year for Crystal Bright & the Silver Hands, with over 150 shows from Canada to Austin, TX and New Orleans to Chicago in support of the latest release, “Muses and Bones.” Bright is rising through the ranks quickly through performances at well-regarded festivals in 2013, including SXSW, Savannah Stopover, FloydFest, DragonCon, Midpoint Music Fest in Cincinnati, and others . . . and April 2014 they return to Cincinnati to join the Steampunk Empire Symposium music stage.

The group has an eclectic, haunting but yet whimsical, carnivalesque world folk sound, dubbed “kaleidophrenic cabaret”. Singer/Songwriter Crystal Bright plays accordion, musical saw, concertina, piano, Taiko drum, adungu (Ugandan harp), and various others, leaving people captivated with her operatic & soulful vocals and virtuoso command of her exotic instruments.

The latest album has received press and glowing reviews in the US & Europe, as well as radio airplay in the US, UK, & Canada, including NPR and BBC appearances.

Learn more about Crystal Bright & the Silver Hands at their site, and see who else is playing the Symposium Stage here.