Steamy Austrian airship doctors will cure whatever ails you

Last month I attended ConTemporal, a new convention of steampunk and science fiction in North Carolina. I didn’t see any Stormtroopers, Klingons or Superheroes. But for someone who loves BBC-TV, it was even better. I felt as if I’d walked onto the set of a Victorian costume drama — which tickled me pink.

Ziggy and Einstein of the Imperial Anti-Piracy Squadron

Speaking of tickling something pink, while selling my wares in the bazaar I met Graf Georg Wilhelm Heinrich August von Ziger, the Captain of the SMS Halcyon zeppelin of the Imperial Anti-Piracy Squadron, and his on-board battle surgeon/OB-GYN Oberleutnant Hermann Einstein. Einstein is renowned for his aptitude at emergency surgery and his gynecological specialty: The treatment of Hysteria by manual massage.

If you know what I mean.

My friend Jill and I had a good laugh after meeting the philandering physician. But, when I poked around (no pun in– ok, yeah, pun intended) on the Internet after the convention, I discovered that treatment for hysteria during the Victorian period seriously included doctor administered “pelvic manipulation” until the female patient reached “paroxym.”

Here I thought that was just a silly plot twist in the movie Road to Wellville. (And, just a friendly warning, if you watch that movie, you’ll never look at Star Trek’s Miles O’Brien in quite the same way.)

And if you don’t believe Wikipedia, you can check out the NYTimes and this excerpt from John Hopkins University Press about the medical treatment of women by administration of orgasms, going back to the 1600s.

Steam-powered vibrator, anyone? Sounds to me like a SFR that needs to be written.

More characters and curiosities from ConTemporal…

J.L. Hilton is the author of the Stellarnet Series of cyberpunk romantic thrillers, published by Carina Press. Her original jewelry designs are featured in the books “Steampunk Style Jewelry” and “1000 Steampunk Creations.”



  1. >Sounds to me like a SFR that needs to be written.

    It has! The story is called “Brass Balls and Hysteria” by KT Grant (from L&L Dreamspell’s Erotica Anthology, Vol.1). I interviewed the author about her story here:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if there were others; I’d have to poke around, though.

    1. Thanks for sharing, Heather! I’ll check that out.

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