Happy Launch Day for Steampunk Hands Around the World!

steampunkhands_2015_xpk1

This February, the steampunk community gathers together to share individual and community achievements with the rest of the world. Kevin Steil, the Airship Ambassador takes the helm once again for Year Two of this online blogging event. People can follow on their Facebook page or the Twitter hashtag #SteampunkHands for more details– the Airship Ambassador will also host a list of all articles on their blog, updated daily.

As for Beyond Victoriana, watch this space for upcoming features & interviews throughout the month.

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Audio Recordings from TeslaCon & SE Wisconsin Festival of Books! Plus, Announcing THE BEST OF SPANISH STEAMPUNK

Before 2014 comes to a close, a couple of brief updates!

Back in November, I attended TeslaCon and the Southeastern Wisconsin Festival of Books as a guest. Below are the audio recordings of some of the panels I did at both, for your listening pleasure. If you’d like a copy of the audio file, contact me and I can email this to you.

Steampunk: A Genre Discussion (audio)
A panel discussion at the Southeastern Wisconsin Festival of Books at University of Wisconsin – Waukesha
Featuring Professor Lisa Hagar of University of Wisconsin-Waukesha

How to Publish Your Steampunk Novel (audio)
Featuring Kevin Steil, the Airship Ambassador & blogger at TeslaCon V in November 2014.

The Best of Spanish Steampunk cover

Additionally, The Best of Spanish Steampunk is coming out in early 2015. I’m thrilled to have been asked by editor Marian Womack to contribute an introduction to this new anthology of compelling steampunk fiction.

A brief description:

The Best of Spanish Steampunk will be the first English-language anthology to showcase the talented Spanish writers working in the Steampunk genre. It will be available in January 2015.

We are living a time of fast-paced change, in a decadent society in serious need of a rethink of its ethical and social principles. The values of our way of life, the system we uphold, are reaching their natural exhaustion point. The Steampunk sensibility has found fertile ground within the community of Spanish SF authors, who, in order to understand the problems of a country ravaged by the economic crisis, huge unemployment levels and frustration with the political and social system, are turning towards two major literary currents : the dystopian novel and Steampunk.

As Bruce Sterling has suggested, “Steampunk’s lessons are not about the past, but about the instability of our own times … Steampunk is popular now because we are unconsciously realising that the way we live has already died”. This is a succinct description of Spain’s approach to the genre. By engaging with a writing that focuses on the “glorious past” of an idealized Victorian age, Spanish authors are trying to highlight their disenchantment with their future. These are the inheritors of the first “wave” of English-language Steampunk.

Other trends are even more critical, connecting directly to the social and political commentary inspired by Steampunk’s forefather H.G. Wells. This second trend focuses on a conscious reimagining of our history as a direct literary comment on our present, in order to find in the past answers for the current situation, and in our present possible ways forward. Spanish writers are “critically” reimagining key moments of our modern history, such as the Spanish-American Cuban war, or the Anarchist revolts of the 1930s in Andalusia.

Steampunk’s engagement with these topics offers an invaluable opportunity to reevaluate our world, the choices which have brought us to the situations we are facing today. In its key position between the present, the future, and the past, together with its critical heritage, Steampunk becomes one of the key cultural movements for going forwards into the XXI century.

Find more info on the publisher’s website.

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FanBros: Sex, Lies & Steampunk

Fanbros_Diana

A quick plug for FanBros podcast:

Sex, Lies, & Steampunk. We actually talk about two of these things on the latest episode, and you know we never lie to you. We welcome Diana Pho the celebrated author, blogger and steampunker genius to speak on all things steampunk, steamfunk and steamsex. No wait I’m lying. We do discuss sexual and street harassment in the cosplay and geek worlds, and why cosplay is not consent. Stay with us as we continue to cover all of the topics and news that you need to know about. It’s the award winning FanBrosShow.

Check out the show here!

And while in the mood for plugging, this Sunday, I’ll be speaking on a panel for The Steampunk User’s Manual in NYC

SUM- Nov 23

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TeslaCon V & Southeast Wisconsin Festival of Books Schedule

TeslaConV

This weekend, I’ll be off at TeslaCon V, talking books, steampunks, and hanging out with dinosaurs. I have been excited about this convention for months.

My panel schedule will be light, but you can catch me at the below panels or wandering around the convention. Of course, any authors or agents interested in an appointment, feel free to contact me beforehand or on-site.

Friday, November 7, 2014
10:00 am, Room 2
So You Want to Publish Your Steampunk Novel – Publishing tips for the retrofuturist set. An exploration of the publishing process starting with looking for an agent and submitting your manuscript and continuing with an insider’s view about how the book business works. Led by Tor editor Diana Pho and others, the panel gives advice drawn from their various experiences across the industry. Plus, a frank discussion on where steampunk literature is heading, tropes to avoid, and how other steampunk media impacts your steampunk book.

Saturday, November 8, 2014
Queering Steampunk
2:30 – 4 PM, Room 1
Panel discussion with an emphasis on how gender identity and sexuality intersect with other identity categories in steampunk culture, literature, cosplay, and creative objects.

Strike A Pose: Queer Cultures, Steampunk, & Fashion
5:30 – 7 PM, Room 1
Panel discussion on Victorian fashion,gender non-conformity and steampunk.

SEWFoB

I’ll also be taking a brief stop on Friday at the Southeastern Wisconsin Festival of Books, paneling about steampunk with Lisa Hager and Austin Sirkin! You can RSVP for our talk on FB here.

Steampunk: Diana Pho, Austin Sirkin, Lisa Hager
Room: N140
3:00 – 4 PM
Victorian-era machinery and fashion, retro-futurism, and art-nouveau design: Steampunk is this, and so much more.

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#YesAllGeeks: Let’s Talk About Harassment in Fandom at New York Comic Con – Resources

Click to Download PDF of Presentation

Click to Download PDF of Presentation

UPDATE: Footage of the panel is now available on YouTube, courtesy of Lawrence Brenner Media. Check it out on our Video Page.

SOME STATS

25% of women at comic/pop culture conventions report being sexually harassed
(Source: Bitch magazine)

13% of people attending comic conventions report having unwanted comments of a sexual nature made about them at conventions. 8% of people of all genders reported they had been groped, assaulted, or raped at a comic convention. (Source: Game Skinny)

53% of all transgender/ non-binary individuals reported verbal harassment in places of “public accommodation”; this includes hotels, restaurants, buses, public spaces.
(Source: Transequality.org)

LGBTQ people of color were 1.82 times as likely to experience physical violence compared to white LGBTQ people. Transgender people were 1.67 times as likely to experience threats and intimidation compared to LGBTQ non-transgender survivors and victims. (Source: National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs)

***

RESOURCES

Track #YesAllGeeks & follow-up on Facebook

On Harassment Awareness & Prevention:

Back-up Ribbon Project

Cosplay is not Consent

Dummies Guide to Cosplay Photography in 2014

John Scalzi’s Convention Pledge on Anti-Harassment & Co-sign thread

Order of the White Feather

Reporting Harassment: What Happens

Yes Means Yes

On Gender, Race & Disability in Fandom

Anita Sarkeesian’s The Tropes vs Women in Video Games on Feminist Frequency

Cosplaying While Black

DisabledLife Media

“Facts About Geek Girls” via Geek Girl Con

GeekQuality

Jay Justice

The Mary Sue

Misa on Wheels

Racialious

Transequality

Panelist credits/ contacts:

Diana M. Pho (moderator) – BeyondVictoriana.com & Tor.com / @writersyndrome

Robert Anders, RN, NP-C

Emily Asher-Perrin – Tor.com / @use_theforce_em

Marlene Bonnelly – youtube.com/ilikecomicstoo / @ilikecomicstoo

Mikki Kendall – @karnythia

Kaye M – @gildedspine

Thank you to everyone who participated on the panel and online! If you have a resource you’d like to share, drop a comment below or tweet to #YesAllGeeks!

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ROSE EAGLE Cover Reveal

Last year, I reviewed Joseph Bruchac’s pulse-racing KILLER OF ENEMIES. There is more to this post-apoc steampunk world in the prequel ROSE EAGLE, coming from Tu Books as an original e-novella. In the Black Hills of South Dakota, we are introduced to seventeen-year-old Rose Eagle of the Lakota tribe who is trying to find her place in a world in turmoil after a mysterious Cloud has destroyed all electronic technology.

Before the Silver Cloud, the Lakota were forced to work in the Deeps, mining for ore so that the Ones, the overlords, could continue their wars. But when the Cloud came and enveloped Earth, all electronics were shut off. Some miners were trapped in the deepest Deeps and suffocated, but the Lakota were warned to escape, and the upper Deeps became a place of refuge for them in a post-Cloud world.

In the midst of this chaos, Rose Eagle’s aunt has a dream: Rose will become a medicine woman, a healer. She sends Rose into the Black Hills on a quest to find healing for their people.

Gangly and soft-spoken, Rose is no warrior. She seeks medicine, not danger. Nevertheless, danger finds her, but love and healing soon follow. When Rose Eagle completes her quest, she may return with more than she ever thought she was looking for.

Check out the cover after the jump.

Continue reading

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New York Comic Con 2014 Schedule

NYCC logo

New York Comic Con is around the corner, and I’m pleased to announce two panels that I will be moderating.

Geeks of Color_matrix

Thursday, October 9th
8- 8:45 PM
Room: 1A18

How can fans of color become successful creators? Experienced PoC in TV, publishing, comic books, gaming, and pop culture journalism offer their advice. With LeSean Thomas (producer, BLACK DYNAMITE: THE ANIMATED SERIES; animator, THE LEGEND OF KORRA; Director/Lead Character Designer, THE BOONDOCKS), Tracey J. John (Journalist, MTV.com; Gameloft), Alice Meichi Li (illustrator, Dark Horse), Daniel José Older (author, HALF-RESSURECTION BLUES); Jennifer Cruté (illustrator/writer, JENNIFER’S JOURNAL), & I.W. Gregorio (author, #WeNeedDiverseBooks). Moderated by Diana Pho (editor, Tor Books).

Full panelist bios & RSVP on Facebook.

YesAllGeeks banner

Saturday, October 11th
3 – 3:45 PM
Room: 1A21

After years of silence, people have become more vocal about speaking against harassment in fandom. How can our community unite and make our spaces – online and offline – safer from creepers of all stripes? Featuring panelists Mikki Kendall (writer & activist, @karnythia), Marlene Bonnelly (blogger, @ilikecomicstoo), Kaye M (writer & founder of #YesAllWomen), Emily Asher-Perrin (blogger, Tor.com), Robert Anders (nurse practitioner). Moderated by Diana M. Pho (editor, Tor Books).

HAVE A QUESTION FOR THE PANEL? We’re creating a Q & A from questions submitted to us beforehand. You can post those on our event page or submit via Twitter hashtag #YesAllGeeks by October 10th.

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Kriti Festival Schedule

Kriti Logo

This weekend, I’ll be at the Kriti South Asian arts and literature festival in Chicago from September 25-28, 2014, at the University of Illinois as a guest editor for science fiction & fantasy. My schedule is below — hope to see some of you there!

Friday, September 26th:

Friday 10 – 10:50
Q&A with Editor Diana Pho: Daley Library, Room 1-470
Pho answers every question you’ve ever had about book editors and publishers — or as many as she can fit into an hour. An informal discussion with Diana Pho.

Friday 12 – 12:50
What are today’s alternatives to “traditional” publishing, and how do you decide if one of them is good fit for you?  The publishing industry has undergone, and continues to undergo, massive and rapid change. The array of publishing options now runs the gamut from traditional publishing to self-publishing, each with its own characteristics. What is happening in the middle of the spectrum? How is a writer to decide what path to follow? What are the relative pros and cons, and what are the questions to ask oneself in order to ensure a positive publishing experience?  This panel will address small press publishing, self-publishing, crowdfunding, social media, and more.  As it occurs over lunchtime, please feel free to bring a brown bag lunch. (Anjali Mitter Duva, Mary Anne Mohanraj (m.), Rajdeep Paulus, Diana Pho)

Friday 2:00 – 2:50
Writing and Arts Activism: Institute for the Humanities, open room
Writers discuss the intersection between art and activism; how can we use our work to support / challenge society’s assumptions and strictures?  What pitfalls stand in the way of the artist-activist?  What strategies can we use to make our activism more effective?

(Shikha Malaviya, Fawzia Mirza (m.), Anu Singh Chaudhary, Meeta Kaur, Diana Pho)

Saturday, September 27th

Saturday, 11:00 – 11:50
Crossing Genre Boundaries: Daley Library, Room 1-470
We’ve all seen the epic South Asian family novel, a tale of marriage and politics and history and social conflict. What other kinds of S. Asian fiction is out there? Who are our science fiction and fantasy writers, our mystery, spy novel, romance, and political thriller authors? Writers discuss the challenges of breaking out of the ‘literary’ ghetto as an ethnic writer, and recommend favorite work in other genres. (Vidhu Aggarwal, Sonali Dev, Phiroozeh Romer, Mina Khan, Diana Pho (m.))

Saturday 12:00 – 12:50
Q&A with Editor Diana Pho: Institute for the Humanities, open room
Pho answers every question you’ve ever had about book editors and publishers — or as many as she can fit into an hour. An informal discussion with Diana Pho.

Sunday, September 28th

Sunday, 12:00 – 12:50
Ask the Editor: Institute for the Humanities, open room
Editors gather to discuss their work, and invite your questions.
(Syed Haider, Pooja Garg Singh, Diana Pho)

***

Addresses:
The main event locations are in buildings very close to each other; SSB is half a block away, and JST is a few blocks away.  All venues are wheelchair-accessible.
AARCC (Asian American Resource and Cultural Center), 101 Taft Hall, 826 S. Halsted Street
Daley Library, 801 S. Morgan Street
Institute for the Humanities, 701 South Morgan, Lower Level / Stevenson Hall
James Stukel Towers Event Space, 718 W. Rochford Street
SSB:  Student Services Building, 1200 West Harrison Street
University Hall, 601 S. Morgan Street
Ward Gallery, 2nd floor, Student Center East, 750 S. Halsted Street

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Help out The Jupiter Chronicles Create an Animated Short

Juniper Chronicles

Leonardo Ramirez, young adult author, has a dream: to create an animated short of his young adult steampunk series The Jupiter Chronicles. With the cooperation of Magnetic Dreams Studios — and readers like yourselves interested in diversity in children’s entertainment — he hopes to make that dream come true.

Ramirez plans to launch a crowd-funding campaign to help fund his goal. Interested in learning more about The Jupiter Chronicles? From his website is the series premise:

Ian Castillo is a young boy who, together with his sister Callie, discover their secret; they are the son and daughter of a Jovian king whose world had been subjugated by the evil Lord Phobos of Mars. After a great battle was fought they returned to the steam-powered world of Jupiter where Fireflights and Skyrockets rule the air. Now, as part of the newly reborn Chrono Legion, Ian struggles to find his place in a world powered by steam. The fate of the Jovian Realms are in his hands as he fights against the Martian Doomslayers and seeks to protect Earth from what is to come. A much deeper struggle lies within him. With no father to guide him, Ian desperately searches for the answer to the question he’s been asking himself all of his life:

Why did my father leave me?

Readers can check out his website for more information, including details about the talented creative team behind The Jupiter Chronicles, and watch that space for details about their upcoming crowd-funding venture. You can also sign up for their mailing list here.

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On Dragon*Con: Talking about Current Events and Steampunk

Ferguson_DCon_room

Dragoncon attendees stand with Ferguson at the Race and Gender Issues in Alternate History panel.

Dragon*Con has always been a highlight of my convention circuit. This year consisted of five panels, lots of interesting discussion, new faces and old, plus raising money for a good cause. I’m especially grateful for the sincere responsiveness and discussion at the Race and Gender Issues in Alternate History panel that happened on Saturday, where the audience showed their solidarity for the events in Ferguson. I also want to thank the many, many attendees who bought black ribbons and donated to the Mike Brown Legal Defense Fund while I was on-panel.

 

Ferguson_DCon_panel

With panelists (from right to left): Diana Pho, Emmett Davenport, Michael Martinez, Stephanie Osborn, Milton Davis, and Tony Ballard-Smoot.

I’ve received some pushback from readers who asked, “Why bring personal politics to an alternate history panel/ a steampunk blog?” First of all, I am mystified by the idea that people thought that my work in steampunk isn’t political, especially since the blog’s mission statement since its founding in 2009 states:

Steampunk, because it’s an aesthetic & a subgenre inspired by a time period fraught with a complex social and political history, is never apolitical. The nineteenth century was a time of intellectual achievement, innovation, and geopolitical expansion. At the same time, that greatness came at the expense of slavery, oppression, social inequality, and racism. These problems did not go away once the Victorian era ended, and in fact, the social scars are still visible upon our society today. So when speaking about steampunk from non-Eurocentric settings, difficult issues about race, class, marginalized histories, and cultural appropriation will be addressed.

Also, some thoughts about the role of alternate history in our lives. Speculative fiction is based on fantasies and people usually interpret that as irrelevant to daily life. But the power of a fantasy is related to everyday experiences and histories. Stories that intrigue are stories that people connect with, compare to, or contrast against their own personal stories — even when based on an alternate history or in deep space or in another world entirely. In fact, the significance of steampunk’s “what if?” premise is lost if the reader can’t compare that “what if” to the actual events that the story is playing against. The function of alternate history itself is based on exploring new stories based on the stories we already know (or presume to know).

Reading steampunk is not only entertaining, but it is engaging because it actively posits that the reader understands historical realities. For example, in Cherie Priest’s Clockwork Century series, when she talks about the dangers that Captain Croggon Buearegard, a former slave and airship captain, faces, or the resistence of occupied New Orleans, or the importance of Mexican government officials investigating these yellow-sap zombies, or just the awesomeness of Princess (and she is awesome)–all of that conflict and adventure is forgrounded by the complexisies of the Civil War and the roles various minority groups had.

Another example is Benjanun Sriduangkaew’s “The Governess and We”  from Steampunk World: a story of spycraft in Siam during the reign of King Mongkut. This is also a story about three women, two fictional and one historical: Aunrampha the palace spymaster to the Thai throne, the tinker Ging, and Anna, popularly-known as the English governess to the King (and also not as known, a mixed race Anglo-Indian woman and a suffragette). The King and I is what the West knows about Anna Leonowens’ time in Siam, but Sriduangkaew changes our perceptions of the truths we take for granted from one fictional story by presenting us with another based on other histories.

So when we look at events like Ferguson and people say, “How could this happen?” they are saying this because they have only heard one particular set of stories about life in the US. If they blame the people of Ferguson for overreacting or putting their police force in a bad light, they are believing one story over reality.  Everyday we are bombarded by biased media and perceptions we take for granted as “normal”.  Speculative fiction — especially steampunk — overtly create gonzo, funhouse mirror reflections of our own society, but in that process show how our “normalities” are equally based on fictions.

In this particular case, taking a stance on Ferguson on this blog is taking a side with what I think steampunk does.  Storytelling itself is never neutral, apolitical, ahistorical, or a pointless fantasy, but communicates with the world around us. Stories can bridge the chasms of misunderstanding that form between people through empathy. For a genre based on lies about reality, steampunk requires you to understand our reality deeply in order to appreciate the lie. And by seeing through the lies, you can also find a reason to fight for a greater truth.

DragonCon_Ferguson

Over $200 dollars was raised on-panel from attendee donations.

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