The Ladies’ and Gentlemen’s companions were my first steampunk storytelling project , created in 2009. I designed and sculpted a little clockwork robot, asleep in his holding fob, and called it the Ladies’ Mechanical Companion.
To go along with it, I wrote a short user’s manual, with copy like this:
Your unit will now take orders. When giving orders, you should address your unit by its chosen name and follow immediately with a word of command. For example, “Aloysius, fetch me a some ink” or “Jeeves, throttle that cacophonous feline.”
BE ADVISED! LaMech has a limited memory capacity, and can only hold up to twelve months of experiences in its standard memory tube. After its memory tube has been filled, LaMech may begin to exhibit signs of automaton dementia. This includes erratic and even dangerous behavior.
Signs of automaton dementia include: spontaneous demounting, kleptomania, suicidal behavior, homicidal behavior, spontaneous hiding in luggage or undergarments, spontaneous lockpicking, spontaneous shearing of friends or strangers, industrial sabotage, and stuttering.
The manual set up an imagined relationship between the little robot and you as its owner, and gave you ideas of how to incorporate it into whatever persona you might want to step into when you step into a steampunk costume. In every box, there is also a resin key that, according to the manual, is your last defense against the dangers of automaton dementia.
As Laser Lace Letters developed, two stories emerged that center around these little guys, and what happens to them when they go insane.
- They will be made using “cold cast” brass resin, as opposed to the painted resin used on the originals. This stuff is shiny, scuff-proof, and has a pleasant weight to it.
- They will have red eyes instead of the classic bottle-glass green, because in our mythos, the robots’ eyes change color throughout their lifetimes, and the final stage, in which they go crazy and start stabbing people, is the red eye phase. And both of the Laser Lace stories about them deal with this state in one way or another.
- They will be accompanied with TWO different tangible Laser Lace stories about the tiny robots. (No cameos, but you will get a mini cameo of your choice.)
Each of these will be numbered and the manual will be signed, and we’ll be offering them ONLY during the Kickstarter campaign. We unlock them as soon as we hit $10,000. Go up there and pledge today.