Tag Archives: “steampunk communities”

Huzzah! Year Two Win for Best Politically-Minded Steampunk

2014 Steampunk Reader's Choice Award Winner

Click to see the full listing of all winners

It is truly an honor and pleasure to receive the win for a second year in a row for Best Politically-Minded. My thanks go out to everyone who had voted and supported Beyond Victoriana. Also my appreciation goes to my fellow nominees Balogun Ojetade and Magpie Killjoy, who are also both equally accomplished (if not more so!) and who I consider great friends and allies, no matter what our particular political stripes may be. ^^

 

 

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Steampunk Hands Around the World: Good Gears and Good Works

This article is part of Steampunk Hands Around the World international event, running between Feb 2nd and Feb 28th. For a full listing of events, check out the Airship Ambassador blog.

steampunk hands around the world logo

Over the years in the steampunk community, I’ve seen its potential to work together for more than shared fandom reasons to impact the larger world around us. The community’s Maker influence could be a cause why: if people like to fiddle around with machines out of junk, their tinkering becomes a physical demonstration of how people can re-think an object to make it work better, breathe new mechanical life into it, as well as making it aesthetically pleasing in its functionality. I’ve seen that attitude transfer to other works that steampunks have done. On top of that, the types of people who are involved in the community — tinkerers, artists, educators of all stripes — create a space where ideas bounce off of one another, and perhaps, that creativity which stirs up a person’s inner initiative to try and change a bit of their own lives then spreads into other aspects of life too.

It’s not surprising then, that several initiatives have started up in the community with the aim of social and public betterment. I won’t deny that I have a certain perspective about this, given the people that I associate with tend to value ways that explore social causes, whether it be through increased artistic literacy, media critique and representation, environmental or political causes, or education. Many of these people are friends of the blog and you can check out their work here. Various steampunk conventions also have had a charity fundraiser at their event, as what usually happens at events such as TeslaCon, Dragon*Con’s Alternate History Track, and Steampunk World’s Fair. For Steampunk Hands Around the World this month, I wanted to highlight some various ways that the steampunk community is giving back, to show that we’re more than a group with a retrofuturistic side hobby.

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Announcing “Steampunk Hands Around the World”

Steampunk Hands Around the World

Image Credit: Raydeen Graffam

Earlier this week, I got an invitation for my good friend and steampunk colleague Kevin Steil of the Airship Ambassador to join a new community initiative that had stemmed from last TeslaCon: “Steam Hands Around the World.” Below is the press release about this worldwide blogging event, which is set to run this February. You can track all the events for this month here.

Just as current day expressions of steampunk are not limited to the literature where it began, the people in the steampunk community are not bound to any one geographical region. Steampunk appears in many forms, and with its popularity, the community has grown to encompass the world.

The celebration and sharing of that global association is at the heart of a new project, Steampunk Hands Around the World, by Kevin Steil, the creator and editor of steampunk news and information resource website, Airship Ambassador. With more than three dozen steampunk creators – bloggers, authors, event organizers, and others – also participating, the month long project is a multi format media presentation about the international connections and communications in the community, for steampunks and non-steampunks alike.

Beginning Sunday, February 2nd, and continuing until Friday, February 28th, the group will show and share that steampunks everywhere are linked together and that new friends are waiting in every conversation.

Steampunk, in its many forms, brings people together in an inclusive and helpful network of similar mind. From sharing book and music review opinions, to playing the newest games and sharing DIY information on fashion and props, the steampunk community easily and comfortably brings together people ages eight to eighty in ways not often seen in other communities.

The full and updated-daily list of participating websites, blogs and events will be posted in the kick-off blog on the Airship Ambassador blog site:
http://airshipambassador.wordpress.com

For more information, please contact Kevin Steil at Kevin@AirshipAmbassador.com

So far, over 50 individuals from more than 11 countries speaking across seven different languages are planning to participate. Watch this space for more to come!

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Please signal-boost: Raising Funds for Datamancer’s Family

Datamancer keyboard

Click to bid on eBay. All proceeds will go to Datamancer’s family.

Recently, the steampunk community has suffered a great loss in the passing of Richard Nagy (aka. Datamancer), one of the most prominent makers in the community. Make Magazine had written a wonderful tribute to his memory. Sadly, I didn’t have the chance to know him personally, but he was one of the inspirational mainstays of the community, and his loss is felt by many, especially his family. Thomas Willeford of Brute Force Leather is working to raise funds to go to Datamancer’s loved ones in this time of grief.

He says:

“I am auctioning off this Signed and Dated Datamancer Keyboard. Sadly, there will not be more like this ever again. If you have ever thought that you just have to have one, this is your chance. Help keep his legacy alive.

Every penny is going to his family.

I have contacted them directly to ensure this is done with good grace and honor toward his name.

Any help spreading the word or bidding towards this special piece of art will be greatly appreciated, the auction will last through this Saturday.

Auction Link: Datamancer Barrister Brass Keyboard

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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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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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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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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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“Going Native” in Steampunk: James H. Carrott and Brian David Johnson’s Vintage Tomorrows on Tor.com

Recently, everyone and their grandmother are trying to place steampunk in the grander scope of things. Most of pop culture has poked at it at this point. Many in the SF/F community gives the subculture a passing nod (or are slowly edging away, since, being early adapters by nature, quite a few in sci-fi are tired of it already).

Still, questions about steampunk have set people in pursuit of the deeper meanings behind the aesthetic movement. Two years ago, Intel’s futurist Brian David Johnson wanted to answer the biggest one about steampunk’s rise: “Why now?” He was joined by a cultural historian James Carrott and they filmed a documentary, which permutated into a book by the same name: Vintage Tomorrows (or two books, actually. Steampunking Our Future: An Embedded Historian’s Notebook is the free e-book companion you can get online).

I had the pleasure of meeting them at NYCC a couple of years ago to hear their idea first-hand: steampunk has the potential to be a counterculture. I’m actually on the fence about this (surprised, right?). Because, as much as I love the subculture, radical change isn’t a given to participate. Lo and behold, however, when a copy handed on my desk awhile back, I gave their research a gander.

[How to fall in love with a subculture in 10 easy steps — Read the rest of Tor.com]

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Watch City Festival this Weekend

waltham

Convention alert! This weekend, I’ll be presenting at Watch City Festival as part of their Academic track. You can find me at the Author’s Den at the following times:

Saturday

11 – 11:45 AM :  “Steam Around the World: Steampunk Beyond Victoriana” – My standard panel about multicultural steampunk, tweaked and upgraded.

12 – 12:45 PM:    “Steaming into a Victorian Future” Panel with Prof. Catherine Siemann and Prof. Cynthia Miller

We’ll be discussing the recently published steampunk anthology Steaming into a Victorian Future, and all of the intellectual critique that goes on in the steampunk, and what trends we see in the current community.

3-5PM: Birthday Toast at Watch City Festival! at The Mad Raven.
Need a breather from Watch City? Going in for a late lunch? Need an excuse to booze it up? An informal get-together to celebrate an early birthday with those who are attending Watch City Festival. I’ll be there, chilling for a couple of hours after my panels and would certainly enjoy your company!

Sunday

11 – 12:45 PM:  “Envisioning a Better Steam Society” My other standard panel to discuss the historic problems of the 19th century into today and what we can do about them.I’ll also be tweeting and tumblr-ing my adventures too, for those who can’t attend. Otherwise, I hope to see some familiar faces at a panel or for a pint.

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