fbpx Gaslight Expo Heads for Ancient Egypt: Gail Carriger returns to her archaeology roots at the Gaslight Steampunk Expo in San Diego | The Steampunk Explorer

Gaslight Expo Heads for Ancient Egypt

Gail Carriger returns to her archaeology roots at the Gaslight Steampunk Expo in San Diego

Wednesday, September 18, 2019
Steampunk Pyramids
Photo illustration by The Steampunk Explorer, based on a photo by Pete Linforth from Pixabay.

Steampunk is typically associated with the Victorian era, but at the Gaslight Steampunk Expo, attendees will go farther back in time to Ancient Egypt. That’s the theme for this year’s event, scheduled for Sept. 26-29 at the Mission Valley Marriott in San Diego. It’s a nod to guest of honor Gail Carriger, who worked as an archaeologist before becoming a full-time author.

“Her fifth book, Timeless, is set in Egypt,” explains expo chair Anastasia Hunter. “We also had friends willing to bring their 13-foot Stargate,” she adds, referring to a replica of the interstellar portal featured in the 1994 film and subsequent TV series.

Carriger will have a busy schedule at the expo, including autograph sessions and discussions of archaeology, steampunk literature, and worldbuilding in steampunk fiction. On two of the fiction panels, she’ll be joined by authors Madeleine Holly-Rosing and David Lee Summers. A Saturday afternoon tea with Carriger is sold out.

Other special guests include Madam Askew and the Grand Arbiter, who will preside over daily bouts of tea dueling as well as Splendid Tea Pot Racing on Saturday and Sunday.

Program Highlights

The Ancient Egypt theme will be reflected in educational presentations and other programming:

• A Victorian Mummy-Unwrapping with Miskatonic Professor Barnabus Willoughby (aka Jeffrey Vaca). It’s not recommended for kids under 13.

Gail Carriger at Worldcon

• The “Walk Like an Egyptian Dance” on Friday night with DJ ObiShawn Crosby.

• Saturday night’s “Under the Pharaoh’s Moon” ball, featuring “mummies, music, moonlight, and dancing” with the High Society Jazz Band of San Diego.

• Screenings of Stargate, the 1999 remake of The Mummy, and Luc Besson’s The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec.

• Sessions on Egyptian funerary practices and the Egyptian deities Isis and Osiris by Cal State Fullerton history professor Dr. James Rietveld.

• “So You Want to Build a Stargate,” a workshop by Steven Jacobs, maker of the Stargate replica shown at the expo.

• A discussion of “Egyptomania” in the Victorian era and steampunk, led by Diane Ingalls.

• “The Cloth of Egypt,” a session about Assiut, a hand-crafted single-stitch embroidery technique popular in the late 19th and early 20th century.

Educational sessions will also cover topics not related to the theme, such as costuming, props, history, and Victorian-era science and technology. Attendees can also sign up for a variety of make-and-take workshops.

Other highlights include a “Steamy Swap Meet” and the “Sands of Time Fashion Show,” both on Saturday.

Most of the festivities take place Friday through Sunday. But on Thursday, Sept. 26, the expo has planned an afternoon trip to the Berkeley, an 1898 steam-powered ferry at the San Diego Maritime Museum.

You can see the full schedule on the website.


Adult weekend tickets cost $70. Day tickets cost $30 (Friday), $50 (Saturday), and $25 (Sunday). Discounts are available for educators, military, seniors (55+), students, and young adults (13-17). Kids 12 and under can attend for free when accompanied by a paying adult. The $150 VIP weekend passes are sold out. See the website for details.

The Mission Valley Marriott in San Diego is located at 8757 Rio San Diego Drive, San Diego, CA 92108.

Gaslight Steampunk Expo is not to be confused with the Gaslight Gathering, a springtime steampunk event in San Diego.

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