Could you be a Longitude Punk Author?

If so check out this blog post from the Royal Observatory, Greenwich about a new anthology to celebrate 2014’s longitude celebrations. I’ve quoted the blog post in full so you have all the information, but please do check out their site at http://blogs.rmg.co.uk/longitude/2013/09/20/calling-irregular-authors/

Calling irregular authors!

The steampunks are taking over the Royal Observatory, Greenwich and we need someone to write about them! Jurassic London are looking for authors for an anthology called Irregularity to accompany next year’s longitude celebrations and events, including Longitude Punk’d.

The brief is quite wide – fiction set between about 1660 and 1860 that looks to the systematic (and not so systematic) attempts to impose order on nature’s chaos. We’re looking for stories about the efforts, successful and unsuccessful, to know the world better, to comprehend it, and to make it comprehensible. And, just as importantly, we are looking for stories about that chaos which ultimately proves itself unknowable.

This is a really good theme for the material we’ve been looking at in the project and which will feature in our various exhibitions, since the search for longitude methods is so full of glorious schemes of all sorts. And there are plenty of sources for inspiration, what with the Board of Longitude archive now available online, not to mention our own collections, which include many instruments associated with the Board and other stuff we like from the period. I’ve been having another look through the archive recently and was struck again by some of the ideas on perpetual motion:

William Parr's dial or orrery for finding the longitude

William Parr’s dial or orrery for finding the longitude

not to mention the splendid illustrations projectors included:

Johann Vetter’s machine for measuring currents

Johann Vetter’s machine for measuring currents, submitted in 1777

and some of the instruments that survive:

Azimuth compass by Ralph Walker

Azimuth compass by Ralph Walker

Irregularity will be published in Spring 2014 by Jurassic London, who also produced The Lowest Heaven (which I can recommend) for the Museum’s Visions of the Universe exhibition. The closing date for submissions is 7 November 2013. More details at Jurassic London’s website.

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