Tag Archives: Ay-leen the Peacemaker

Mad Max Meets Apache Steampunk in Killer of Enemies by Joseph Bruchac

Killer of Enemies

Link to Killer of Enemies on Lee and Low’s website.

Nowadays, I read so many steampunk-labeled books that very few retain the innovation factor for me. It’s fine to see tropes that establishes the aesthetic as a subgenre, but it takes a lot to make a steampunk book read fresh to me.

Then, comes along Killer of Enemies by Joseph Bruchac: a book that’a steampunk by way of Mad Max rather than gaslamp London. Killer of Enemies is not just a gulp of fresh air, but a hyperventilating-inducing adrenaline rush. Oh, and did I mention that this young adult book was initially pitched to me as “post-apoc Apache steampunk?” Yeah, let that catchphrase sink in a bit.

[Shoot first, ask questions later. Mild spoilers ahead.]

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What Happens When We Speak: On Con Harassment and Fandom on Tor.com

Image Courtesy of the Back-up Ribbon Project

“So I heard that you won Tumblr,” a coworker joked with me the other day.

He was referring to the maelstrom of activity that was triggered when I posted about my con harassment experience at New York Comic Con by the film crew of the YouTube web series Man Banter, hosted by Mike Babchik. I won’t reiterate everything that happened, but kept pretty good documentation. Other industry professionals and geek news sources had done the sametooThere is a petition out, created by the activist group 18 Million Rising in order to hold Babchik’s employer, Sirius XM Radio, accountable for his actions since Babchik had gotten into the convention using his job credentials. Since the incident happened, New York Comic Con had assured that they will tighten their safety policies, and I even had a nice wrap-up interview about making convention spaces safer with NYCC show manager Lance Fensterman.

Okay, that ugly event got all wrapped up with a nice li’l bow of resolution; we can leave this in the fandom corner until the next big misogynistic thing that happens to women at conventions hits the fan (but oh wait, it just did as I typed this). At this moment, I feel like I can voice something that I’ve been holding in this whole time: I am lucky. And it shouldn’t have to be that way.

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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.

***

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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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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Sounds Of Steam, Steampunk to Reality: Making Your Dreams Come True

Sounds of Steam

Click to see their Facebook page for this episode, or download at the link below!

I was recently interviewed for Sounds of Steam — the episode is now available for download!

Sounds Of Steam, Steampunk to Reality: Making Your Dreams Come True

Description:

We all have dreams that we would love to have come true. Some want to be writers, authors, and songwriters, others want to sing or start a band, and some just want to decorate their house to look like the inside of the Nautilus. Those things are too much to ask, are they? But they seem so far away, and almost impossible to achieve. How can you make them happen? Where do you even start?

We know a bit about making dreams come true, and we draw upon the even greater knowledge of our guests, Warren and Betsy Talbot of ‘Married With Luggage’, and Ay-leen the Peacemaker (winner of Steampunk Chronicle’s Reader Choice Awards of ‘Best Politically Minded Steampunk’ and ‘Best Multicultural Steampunk’) , to help us give you ideas and ways, that are proven to work, to make your dreams become reality!

Music by The Bewitched, Birthrite, The Blibbering Humdingers, The Cog is Dead, Crimson Clocks, The Aeronauts, Automaton, The Electric Swing Circus, Doctor Steel, The Extraordinary Contraptions, Escape the Clouds, BB Blackdog, Alexandra Hamer, Klaxton, Victor Sierra and more!

http://www.soundsofsteam.com/episodes/

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Steamfunk & Rococoa: A Black Victorian Fantasy

Briaan L. Barron, artist and owner of Bri-Dimensional Images and recent graduate from Sarah Lawrence College, contacted me about her senior project: a film about steampunk, steamfunk, and the role of African Diaspora in these subcultures. The final result is her animated short “Steamfunk & Rococoa: A Black Victorian Fantasy” which I’m happy to share here. Also featuring the wonderful Balogun Ojetade speaking about steamfunk!

Film description:

The inspiration for Steamfunk and Rococoa: A Black Victorian Fantasy derived from an event inspiration board that I came across online. The board, which featured an intriguing medley of metals, vintage artifacts, and African jewelry, was entitled “Afro-Steampunk,” and its description read, “If Erykah Badu and Sherlock Holmes had a wedding.” The visual juxtaposition of these unexpected sources of inspiration led me to delve into more research on the concept of Afro-Steampunk to see if this striking aesthetic could be found elsewhere. My search exposed me not only to more fascinating representations of Black and African aesthetics coalescing with the steampunk genre, but also to a unique set of politics and critiques associated with them.

Closing Credits Music produced by Briaan L. Barron

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Yes, I Did Stick a Gear on It: The Illusion of Steampunk Performance — Guest Post on Steampunk Canada

Note: Thanks to Countessa Lenora for the opportunity to write this guest post for her blog!

The actual “Peacemaker,” my signature steampunk weapon

My Peacemaker was originally a chalking gun. I admit it. It’s pretty obvious to anyone who looks at it for more than ten seconds. Sometimes, people think it was a cookie gun, and I don’t mind that either. I like cookies.

There has been an unusual attitude, I’ve noticed, about the creation of steampunk props and the role of functional art. I’ve seen dismissive railing against “stick a gear on it” for physical artistic creations, the trumpeting of modded computers and iPods over spray-painted Nerf guns. I have no issue with beautiful functional art or people to have creative ambitions (and yes, that song based on the concept is pretty cute). But, as a performer with cosplayer roots, I never fully understood the ridicule. Because, a prop is a prop is a prop and as long as it helps you perform, whether the steampunk prop shoots real lightning or falls apart after being out in a rainstorm, as long as it enhances your artistic performance, it is a good steampunk prop.

What is, then, “steampunk performance?” A better way of phrasing would be that “steampunk performs.”

[Read the rest on Steampunk Canada]

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Beyond French Steampunk: Multiculturalism with Maurice Grunbaum

Maurice2

Maurice Grunbaum, left, with a fellow steampunk. Photo courtesy of Bernard Rousseau.

Striking. Powerful. Imposing. These are some of the words that come to mind when viewing a costume piece by Maurice Grunbaum. Maurice, an artist based in Paris, is well-known in the French alt and cosplay community for his amazing detailed costume and prop work, and images of his outfits have circulated throughout the steampunk aethernetz. I first noticed him in group shots with other steampunks of color (he’s the masked gentleman on the right).

On his Facebook, you can find detailed cosplays from Bioshock, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and other steampunk-inspired sources. On the rise nationally in France, his art was included in the exhibition “Future Perfect: Retrofuturism/ Steampunk/ Archeomodernism” («Futur Antérieur: Rétrofuturisme/ Steampunk/ Archéomodernisme») at the Agnes B. Galerie in Paris (watch the museum trailer below for a clip of Maurice talking about steampunk).

When I read his interview included in the exhibit’s catalog, I was blown away by his articulate passion for everything steampunk and his need to broaden the definition of steampunk to include influences outside the Victorian and the French «La Belle Époque». So with a little help from a French friend-of-the-blog, I was able to get an interview with Maurice.

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