An Unexpected Anniversary — 10 years as Ay-leen the Peacemaker and Neo-Victorian Studies

One of the very first pictures of me as Ay-leen the Peacemaker, taken in May 2009. Credit to Bob Nittoli,Today, I got a pleasant and long-awaited email: Neo-Victorian Studies published their special issue about “Neo-Victorian Asia”, which is guest edited by Elizabeth Ho, Assistant Professor at the University of Hong Kong. My contribution,”Analog Incarnations: Steampunk Performance Across Time” focuses on the power of marginalized performance in steampunk subculture, and it includes the short, one-person play I wrote as my final project for my Masters. Analog Incarnations is weirdly fun, with a Doctor-Whoish-timey-whimey angle, a liberal use of Power Point and Nerf guns, and an imagined video/FX budget beyond my means. It’s exactly why this is a published play and not a produced one. It also presents, for the first time online, the origins of Ay-leen the Peacemaker, my Tonkinese Buddhist assassin-for-hire steamsona.

Looking through my photos for a good one to include in this post, I realized that next month will mark my decade-long anniversary involved in the steampunk community! Here’s one of the very first pictures of me as Ay-leen the Peacemaker, taken in May 2009 (credit to Bob Nittoli). I don’t make it out to as many cons and events as I used to, due to travelling to cons and conferences for my editorial life, but I still keep in touch with many fellow steampunks I’ve met over the years. Of course, the Peacemaker has a special place on my living room bookshelf. Alongside the steampunk/ steamtangental books published during my time with Tor.

It’s amazing how much time flew by like it was nothing. Or maybe time just flies when you’re having fun!


Check out the special issue, and enjoy the range of wonderful intellectual goodies it contains. The complete table of contents are—

Introduction: Neo-Victorian Asia: An Inter-imperial Approach by Elizabeth Ho
Japanese Neo-Victorian Fictions: Looking Back to the Victorian Age from Japan by Yui Nakatsuma
Japanese Dandies in Victorian Britain: Writing Masculinity in Japanese Girls’ Comics by Waiyee Loh
Last Empress Fiction and Asian Neo-Victorianism by Elizabeth Ho
The Neo-Victorian Chinese Diaspora: Crossing Genders and Postcolonial Subversion in Pacific Gold Rush Novels by Barbara Franchi
Analog Incarnations: Steampunk Performance across Time by Diana M. Pho
A Therapeutic Mangle of History: Towards a Politics of Reconciliation in Arjun Raj Gaind’s Empire of Blood by Kurian Therakath Peter
Secondary Pleasures, Spatial Occupations and Postcolonial Departures: Park Chan-Wook’s Agassi/The Handmaiden and Sarah Waters’s Fingersmith by Park Heebon, Julie Sanders, and Chung Moonyoung

Reviews/Review Essays
Neo-Victorian Adventures for Young Readers: Review of Sonja Sawyer Fritz and Sara K. Day’s The Victorian Era in Twenty-First Century Children’s and Adolescent Literature and Culture
Review by Sandra Dinter
The Other (Neo-)Victorians: Review of Laura Helen Marks, Alice in Pornoland: Hardcore Encounters with the Victorian Gothic
Review by Saverio Tomaiuolo
The Hauntings of Charlotte Brontë: Review of Amber K. Regis and Deborah Wynne (eds.), Charlotte Brontë: Legacies and afterlives
Review by Catherine Paula Han

(And if anyone wants to produce my show, you know how to reach me 😉 )


Filed under Beyond Victoriana Odds and Ends, Essays

6 responses to “An Unexpected Anniversary — 10 years as Ay-leen the Peacemaker and Neo-Victorian Studies

  1. Happy 10th Anniversary, Diana!


  2. Dear Diana,

    This is perfect timing. I am once again able to do my Steampunk course in a ‘profile’ (this is just a bit shy of a minor) under the category of Confronting Contemporary Culture. My students will be looking at diversity, colored blindness, white priviledge and a bit of colonialism. The last topic was covered extensively in another class. I wanted a way to make theory real for them so we are creating a collaborative steampunk novella where they have to apply what we discuss in class. The subtitle of the novella is: Giving a Voice to the Voiceless. I have done this with intersectionality and science fiction before and everyone had a blast and most importantly learned a lot.

    This link and your article will definitely be given to my class and will certainly help them a lot.

    Thanks for posting


    • Hello Lynette,

      Wonderful to hear from you, and I’m so pleased to know you’ll be teaching your steampunk course again! That novella sounds like a great creative venture (and I know how hard it can be to write a collaboration, so I hope the final piece turns out well. 🙂 )

      Happy to hear any updates about how the class goes, and if you’d like me to stop by again as a guest speaker, let me know!


  3. Analog Incarnations is weirdly fun, with a Doctor-Whoish-timey-whimsy angle, liberal use of PowerPoint and Nerf guns, and an imagined video/FX budget beyond my means. Good job with the article!

  4. Pingback: What I Wrote & Edited in 2019 | Beyond Victoriana