Steampunk, Technological Time & Beyond Victoriana: Advocacy and the Archive

In the hubbub of the past week, I completely forgot to mention my participation in Journal of Victorian Culture Online‘s . Check out an excerpt below, and follow the jump to read this academic article online.

Thanks to Prof. Lisa Hager and the editorial board of the JVCO for giving me this opportunity.

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Steampunk studies is an outlier in Victorian scholarship. In fact, steampunk subculture can arguably be called “neo-Victorian” or even “non-Victorian” in the way that it defies strict adherence to a certain periodization or topic relevance. Steampunk is an aesthetic movement inspired by nineteenth-century science fiction and fantasy. Over the years, however, that umbrella phrase has expanded to include speculation outside of an established time-frame (such as post-apocalyptic or futuristic), outside of the established geography of the Western world, and even outside of history (as with alternate history and secondary fantasy worlds). How can we, then, describe the relationship between steampunk academic work and Victorian studies?

[Read "Steampunk, Technological Time & Beyond Victoriana: Advocacy and the Archive" on the Journal of Victorian Culture Online]

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Upcoming appearances: Anatomy of Steampunk, TeslaCon & Eastern Connecticut State University

teslacon4

I have some convention reports overdue — namely, I’d like to take New York Comic Con to task, the good and the bad — but I’m waiting until the full media coverage of my panels from NerdCaliber comes out before posting (so readers can get the full experience!)

But until then, giving a shout-out to a few more events I’ll be at before 2013 ends.

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Exclusive sneak-peek inside Katherine Gleason’s ANATOMY OF STEAMPUNK

anatomy-steampunk-cover

Steampunk fashion is all about possibilities. At the beginning of this year, I sat at a tea shop with Katherine Gleason, sipping our brew and speculating about what we’d like to see in a fashion book. We wanted something more than just rehashing whatever you’d find after Googling “steampunk.” We wanted to show the dynamic potential of steampunk fashion — that it was more than neo-Victorian. More than skinny pale waifs. More than looking or acting a certain way. More than reinforcing the value of a colonialist past.

And it was definitely more than Victorian science fiction.

By demanding “more,” a host of a questions presented themselves. Where does steampunk fashion come from? And when? Made by who? And, of course, how can novices and dabblers join in on the fun?

Over the course of the year, I’ve had the pleasure to see this book develop, and on the eve of its publication, one lesson can be taken from this. Fashion cannot be a summation of things — it is a compilation of creation. More than OMG that dress, but OMG that designer! That model! That performer! That person!

This is the connection between good fashion and good fiction: both tell stories about people that draw you in.

I hope you enjoy discovering these stories.  Katherine and the talented contributors she worked with are more than just names and faces, but highly imaginative individuals who are offering pieces of themselves. They come from all walks of life: high-end designers and professional artists to cosplayers to hobbyists to street performers and protesters.  There are people of color (as designers, models and performers!), people young and old, people of different abilities, people from all over the globe.  Their joys, their lives, and their dreams are the parts that build an Anatomy of Steampunk.

Two excerpts from the book are below. The first is the Foreword written by  K.W. Jeter, the science fiction author who coined “steampunk”, and my Introduction to the book. The second is a Beyond Victoriana exclusive sneak-peek of what else this book has to offer.

Please enjoy, and spread the word!

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Boost! Help The League of S.T.E.A.M. make their third season come alive!

Looking for some steampunk monster-hunting? The League of S.T.E.A.M. needs YOU!

Signal-boosting friends-of-the-blog The League of S.T.E.A.M. for their Kickstarter to fund Season Three of their award-winning webseries.

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New York Comic Con Schedule

NYCC

Running from one convention and diving headfirst into the next — that seems to be how my fall season is. I’m sorry about the flurry of “announcement” posts as of late, but at least you know that there are opportunities to see what I do “offline” as well as on the interwebz.

For those of you planning to go to New York Comic Con on October 10 – 13th, I shall be attending all four days, and am thrilled to be moderating a trio of panels featuring some very wonderful and talented folk. So, check out my schedule after the jump!

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A Divided Nation in Gene Luen Yang’s Boxers & Saints – Review on Tor.com

Boxers and Saints Gene Luen Yang

A well-placed ampersand can imply many things: a fighting duo, a complimentary pair, or polarizing opposites. In the case of Boxers & Saintsthe members of the Boxer Rebellion and their opponents, Westerners and Chinese Christians, retain all three elements in their interactions.

What is engrossing about this graphic novel diptych—the newest work from Gene Luen Yang of American-Born Chinese fame—is how intertwined the stories are, literally and thematically. This dynamic is presented in its bold and eye-catching box design. On one side, the aggressively commanding ghost of Ch’in Shin-Huang, the first emperor of China. On the other, the grim glowing figure of martyr Joan of Arc. Split between them are two young, wide-eyed faces of Little Bao and Vibiana. They stare out at the reader, serious and uncertain. Their expressions symbolize the heart of Boxers & Saints: a story that unpacks the anxieties of an unstable nation, and unflinchingly portrays the people who become swept up by the winds of history.

[Read the review on Tor.com]

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Dragon*Con, ahoy!

A brief post to update y’all about my schedule for Dragon*Con this year. I’ll be attending as a professional guest and presenting as part of the Alternate History Science Fiction, and Silk Road tracks. This will also be my second year representing Tor Books at the convention — if you are an author/agent and would like to make an appointment to see me during the convention, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

My schedule is below — hope to catch some readers there!

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Call for Submissions: The Steampunk World Anthology

The Steampunk World Anthology is a planned collection of steampunk short stories set in places outside of Europe. Edited by Sarah Hans, this anthology will feature veteran and up-and-coming writers from the science fiction community, including  Nisi ShawlMaurice BroaddusAlex Bledsoe, and Leanna Renee Hieber, plus many more to be announced. I’ve been asked to write the introduction and James Ng will be doing the cover art. This anthology will be funded primarily by Kickstarter that will be launched in October.

Besides the planned line-up, the gorgeous cover art, and yeah, multicultural steampunk being a thing, y’know what’s also exciting about this anthology? Hans strongly encourages to have writers of color involved as much as possible.

She’s looking for more writers to submit before the Kickstarter launches. According to her blog, she writes:

One problem I’m having is a dearth of stories by writers of color. I’ve invited some more writers of color in the hopes of achieving a better balance, but I could use some more. If you are (or know) a writer of color who might be appropriate for this project, please forward your (or their) name and email address to me at steampunkworldantho(at)gmail(dot)com.

The anthology pays pro rates of $.05/word for original work. I’m especially interested in stories that take place in Africa, the Caribbean, Russia, the far North (think Sweden), the Americas (i.e. Native American tribes), and Australia. I have a lot of stories set in Asia, so a story in Asia will be a tough sell. You’re still welcome to try if you think you have something really stellar.

So please signal-boost and submit! We can make this happen!

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“The Legend of Old Smoke” A photo-story by Pavan Krushik

Pavan Krushik, a digital and photographic artist from Bangalore, India, contacted me recently about his latest photo-story “The Legend of Old Smoke.”  As Krushik explains, the story “revolves around the adventures of a Legendary steampunk warrior Cecilia who caught up in the events of a world changing war sparked by the sciences discovered decades earlier.”

The artist also excitedly talks about the inspiration that drew him to the steampunk aesthetic: “The City of Lost Children (La Cité des enfants perdus) by Jean-Pierre Jeunet is the movie which actually made me fall in love with Steampunk genre. I felt an alternate universe and a fictional era like steampunk should really exist in our generation to escape from reality. I was so fascinated and impressed by this movie and started watching every other steampunk-themed number ever since. I have always been intrigued by Steampunk because of its emphasis on Science and Invention. I love this genre for its dynamic feel, industrialization, fashion and technical evolution. I’m a big Sci-fi fan in general. Other movies like Hugo, A Series of Unfortunate Events, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Sherlock Holmes, The Golden Compass and many other Victorian-period style numbers also have influenced me so much and not to forget the novels of my favorite writer HG Wells, especially ‘The Time Machine’. I have always enjoyed creating new worlds of my own and Steampunk is one prominent way, and I dare say a very versatile one at that, to express myself. Very suiting for me since I have always been a sucker for the Victorian era. :)”

Enjoy the story below!

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It is an age of steam and sorcery. Her name is Cecilia, daughter of a famous scientist in Old Smoke who was killed in a spate of assassinations for his invention of latest steam powered machinery to curb the environmental problems. Now she’s on the brink of fury. She’s not evil, but likes the thrill of revenge.

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Le Guide Steampunk by Etienne Barillier and Arthur Morgan

Le Guide Steampunk

Click to order from the French Publisher’s website — International shipping and e-book editions also available!

Want to lean more about the French steampunk community? Friend of the blog  Arthur Morgan, the owner of French Steampunk, contacted me about the publication of his newest book, which pubs today in France!

Book description:

Gigantic machinery driven by steam, heroes in top hats and monocles, heroines in crinolines holding parasols … The imagery of steampunk has been endlessly fascinating since the creation of the genre in the 1980s. But what are its origins? And what are its key works in literature, film or comic book form?

Written by Stephen Barillier, indisputable French expert on the genre, and Arthur Morgan, co-founder of the French Steampunk community and editor in chief of French-steampunk.fr website, this guide provides an inventory of steampunk today, drawing, in particular, on interviews with Tim Powers, K. W. Jeter, James Blaylock, Greg Broadmore or Jess Nevins.

This book is an introductory guide to the steampunk movement. Among the articles on literature, movies, music, comic books, the book gathers interviews of many renown characters of the subculture. Foreword by SJ Chambers. Featuring interviews from Ann Vandermeer, James P. Blaylock, KW Jeter, Tim Powers, Greg Broadmore, Jess Nevins, Mark Hodder, George Mann, Captain Brown of Abney Park, Mike Perschon and artists from the French steampunk community.

Au français

Des machines gigantesques mues par la vapeur, des héros en hauts-de-forme et monocles, des héroïnes en crinolines et ombrelles… L’imagerie du steampunk ne cesse de fasciner depuis la création du genre dans les années 1980. Mais, quelles en sont les origines ? Et quelles sont les oeuvres majeures en littérature, au cinéma ou en bande dessinée ?

Rédigé par Étienne Barillier, spécialiste incontournable du genre, et Arthur Morgan, cofondateur de la communauté French Steampunk, ce guide dresse un état des lieux du steampunk aujourd’hui autour, notamment, de rencontres avec Tim Powers, K. W. Jeter, James Blaylock, Greg Broadmore ou Mathieu Gaborit.

Bonus

Etienne Barillier et Arthur Morgan en interview sur le site d’Actusf

A découvrir aussi en papier :
Le Guide Philip K. Dick d’Etienne Barillier (et on vous rappelle que vous recevrez l’anthologie Contrepoint gratuitement si vous achetez les deux guides)

Des nouvelles steampunk en numérique :
Celui qui bave et qui glougloute de Roland C. WAGNER
Muchamor de Christian VILA
La Chose du lac de Laurence SUHNER
L’Assassinat de la Maison du Peuple de Sylvie DENIS

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