This weekend I’ll be at ConnectiCon instigating havoc with my steampunk friends and helping out with several panels. On top of that, “Steam Around the World: Steampunk Beyond Victoriana” is making a comeback! I’m wicked excited to be presenting this panel again. For all attendees, feel free to stop in–
Saturday, July 10th
7:30 – 8:30 PM
Room Location: Check your schedules
And for those of you in the area, I will also be at the Steampunk Bizarre on Sunday for the steampunk meet-up. There should be some nifty artists presenting their work, so I hope to see some of you there too.
In the meantime, check out the collection of links for your viewing/reading pleasure.
This linkspam is a bit Eastern-heavy this time around. Steampanku is a WIP writing project about an alternative history world where Japan was the country that kick-started the nineteenth-century Industrial Revolution. There are several very interesting posts about the author’s research during this time period.
Speaking about nineteenth century Asian histories, Free the Princess is recently posted a brief history of 19th-century China and about Japan’s Choshu Five & the Beginnings of Modern Japanese Culture.
JStrider also talks about the possibilities of steampunk Japan and includes cool clips of gakken karakuri robot dolls.
For New Yorkers, check out the Museum for the City of New York. They’re hosting an exhibit about the first Japanese delegation to the US, with a focus on their visit to the Big Apple in 1860. The New York Times wrote a feature article about this delegation, focusing on Tateishi Onojiro, the youngest samurai in the delegation who was also quite the heartthrob for swooning women throughout the city.
Over at Airship Ambassador, there is also an awesome interview with Hong Kong artist James Ng. Check out Part 1 and Part 2.
In the sci-fi mag Expanded Horizons, Jaymee Goh wrote a wonderfully compelling steampunk tale about politics on the high seas (and airs) where people from different nations, cultures, and faiths cross paths when a Western ship tries to establish an outpost in southeast Asia: Between Islands.
Woo Chin Foo was a Chinese immigrant to the US and the first known Asian-American activist who fought anti-Chinese sentiment during the Victorian Era. He has since faded into obscurity, but you can read more about him here.
You can also read this fascinating article over on Racialicious where guest contributor Macon D. writes about a local election campaign in Alabama where the candidate poses as a freedom-defending cowboy to prove how tough and vigilant he is. Macon, however, deconstructs the American “white cowboy myth” and how a majority of the historical cowboys weren’t actually white or free, but many were Hispanic, black, and Native American workers controlled by their white employers.
For those interested in the history of technology and mass production, check out this article about the 58,000 year old paint factory found in Africa.
And to add a new international steampunk blog to the steam community, take a gander at Dracula Steampunk, the first Romanian steampunk blog (the Romanian language version is called Aburistul). According to their site, the editors say that “Our goal is to bring steampunk to the country of Dracula where it was borne the most enduring retro futuristic model melted in a cultural crucible.”
Mdm McCoy from the Steampunk Empire gave me the following two links:
Here is a true love story worthy of an anime: during the Victorian era, Mitsuko Aoyoma was a young Japanese teen who fell in love with an Austro-Hungarian count and became Countess Coudenhove-Kalergi. Jacques Guerlain later created a perfume in her honor named Mitsouko.
And The Guardian in the UK wrote about some notable black Victorians.
Straddling the line between atomicpunk and post-apocalyptic fare, The Koi of Hungwa nevertheless gives me Firefly vibes and is nicely acted to boot.
And for those who missed out on the 1001 Inventions exhibit about science & technology in the Muslim World at the London Science Museum, you can still see the award-winning short film associated with the exhibit. And it also stars Sir Ben Kingsley too!
Telophase collected all the non-Eurocentric steampunk entries from the CG Artists’ Steampunk Myths & Legends contest. Here is a full listing of them on her journal and some are also featured below.
10 responses to “Beyond Victoriana Special Edition Odds & Ends #5”
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I’ve been writing a Japanese-based culture for a post-apocalyptic Steampunk game recently. Having gone through a colonial period and a secession war, the nation at the time the game starts is still to some degree trying to find its feet as an independent sovereign nation once more, and balancing the tensions of the traditional and modern aspects of their society.
It’s been an interesting challenge, researching deep into Japanese history, culture, language and technology, trying to project how it might have evolved given the changes that our game world has gone through. A guideline I’ve been keeping in mind as a gaijin writer is: “Would a modern Japanese person feel comfortable and be interested in playing a character in this nation/world? Would they see the choices that this culture has made as realistic ones?”
This of course requires a sound understanding of modern Japanese culture as much as it does understanding their traditions and history. I’m hoping that I’ve succeeded in achieving that. We shall see when further details are available to the public, I guess.
Greetings Dr. Curiosity!
Thanks for stopping by the panel at CTCon and for the update about your game. I’d be interested to see how it develops–I attend TempleCon, which is all about retro-futuristic gaming, and plan to do my panels there again next year in February. Depending how far along your game is, perhaps you should talk to the organizers about conducting a test game there.
Maybe wires crossed there, but I’m on quite the wrong continent to make it to CTCon or TempleCon at this stage. Hopefully I’ll make it to the east coast of the U.S. one of these days, though.
The game’s still a way off completion – it’s not a full-time, budgeted project and making a computer game on the scale we’re planning does take some time. As a result though, we’re able to make some more ambitious choices than a studio-based, market-driven project might be able to. Hoping to push at a few boundaries here and there 🙂
Wires must be crossed on my part because at the panel at CTCon, I had spoken to a young fellow afterward who was developing an RPG with a similar focus on Japan, as well as other non-Western cultures. Sorry for mixing you both up! At least you know that you aren’t alone in your interests. 🙂
But continue to sally forth and push at those boundaries!
I just wanted to tell you that I attended your panel Beyond Victoriana this weekend and was truly inspired. I’ve been intrigued by the basic idea of Steampunk for about a year now, but my poking around the internet only backed my assumption that it was all about the Victorian era and the Wild West (however, I was picturing the American Victorian wealthy, probably too many field trips to Newport mansions in Rhode Island!). This weekend at Connecticon was the first time I ever made an attempt to attire myself in what I imagined to be Steampunk, and made myself a rather nice back story as well, if I do say so.
When I saw what you were wearing I was knocked off my feet. Picture a thought bubble over my head reading “You can DO that??? I want to DO that!” Your panel was thought provoking and educational but even more so inspiring. Keeping with the character idea that I am a time traveler from the classic Victorian era I can work all ages and cultures into what I chose to learn and make for myself.
Thank you for a gentle wrap on the head that woke me up to, literally, an entire world of possibilities.
Miss Setla Nomer
aka Jocelyn Stengel-Ahern
Dear Miss Setla,
I’m glad that the panel was able to give you that gentle knock you needed! Thank you for coming and being inspired; I really hoped that audience members walk away feeling that way–and interested in the larger questions that steampunk can ask to boot.
Please, of course, keep in touch via blog or e-mail, and I hope to see you at another con in the future!
I really enjoy “The Greed Scientist” – the color and design is amazing! I wish that I could get a print of it to frame. It really makes me think of the clash between science and spirituality and how they can either work together or pull further apart. Nothing is ever running in the same direction with two different goals…
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Thank you kindly for including one of my entries on Karakuri here, and for the pingback that allowed me to find your site. I look forward to exploring it in detail, and I can certainly see how you ended up getting this years Steampunk Chronicle’s Readers Choice award. Keep up the good work!