Tag Archives: fandom

Bidding is open for Con or Bust — Please show your support!

con or bust logo

Click to visit their website

I’m a believer in stronger fandom participation = more representation and vice versa. Often (especially when flipping through pics of steampunk events) fan spaces appear to be whitewashed. Well, fans of color are here, we love stuff, but sometimes, conventions seem intimidating. But why? An oft-heard response I get from fellow fans of color is that, “Well, I don’t want to be the only one there.” (or “I’m not sure if people like me are welcome.”) Also, it all comes down to stats: minority households in the US have significantly lower median incomes than white households. So many fans of color just can’t afford it.

I’m not saying that convention-going is the only way to participate in fandom (that would be the most ridic thing to say, especially since I’m writing here from the Internetz!) But I do want everyone to have more opportunities to share, to network, to engage with people from all walks of life. And sometimes, the best way to bond is in meatspace and not just through the wires (ex. far less flamewars erupt IRL in my experience, when people can actually sit down and discuss things). That’s why organizations like Con or Bust are a great initiative to help fandom as a whole by enabling people to gain different con experiences. They work by raising money through auction-style bidding on donations, with all proceeds going to help sponsor PoC to attend SF/F cons.

More about them from their website:

Con or Bust began as a response to RaceFail ’09, when people of color expressed the desire to help each other attend WisCon (a prominent feminist SFF convention). We ran an auction and took donations, and through the generosity, hard work, and good will of a lot of people, raised enough money to help nine fans of color attend WisCon (2009 final report). Subsequently, the Carl Brandon Society agreed to take over the financial management of Con or Bust, allowing it to become an ongoing project.

This year, I donated several books that are being auctioned off.  Other cool things have been donated too: story/manuscript critiques by SF/F editors and authors, graphic novels, clothes, & BUNCHES of signed swag!

So, if you can, please stop by and take a look (and place a bid — things start cheap!) to help out the greater SF/F community. The annual Con or Bust fundraiser is going on from now until Sunday, February 24th.


Filed under Announcement

“From the Wilds of America” – Analyzing the Idea of “British Colonial America” in Steampunk

“In the colonies the truth stood naked, but the citizens of the mother country preferred it with clothes on.”- Jean-Paul Sartre


When I first became interested in steampunk last year, I posed a question to one of my friends.

Me: “So… I was wondering about steampunk, where does colonialism fit in?

Friend: “Colonialism? Like in the Colonies?”

Me: “Like being from the colonies.

Friend: “Oh, you can do that. They’re different types of subgenres in steampunk, and it can take place in America.”

Pause right there. I wasn’t referring to America. Or was I? Yes, my friends and I are from the US and steampunks, and most identify our personas as being from the “Colonies.” Yet their idea of what the Colonies represented in steampunk—aka an alternative America that was still under control of the British Empire during the Victorian Era—and my interpretation of the colonies—aka the actual ones that had existed during the Victorian Era—were vastly different. Which leads to the questions I’d like to explore here. Why is the concept of the United States as a colonized America so appealing to steampunks? Is this notion damaging to steampunks of color (SoCs), whose histories are negatively intertwined with the realities of colonialism? Does the idea of a colonial America promote or denounce the imperialism that existed during the Age of Empire?

Continue reading


Filed under Essays, History

An off-shoot thought from RaceFail ’09: Steampunking Asia

Tonight, I finally sat down and started to read through the whole whole big RaceFail’09 drama over in the sci-fi writing world. I had read the first bits on Elizabeth Bear’s blog back in January, but now saw how much it had morphed into this huge, sleep-depriving, time-suck that triggered all of my political kinks.

When I first read it in January, though, it brought up a lot of concerns I had been having about steampunk. Particularly about “Where am I?” in steampunk culture. After all, steampunk is all about the sci-fi, and if people of color are having issues with sci-fi in general, then would the turf here be any better?

Thus, my huge rant/essay/thought process concerning Imperialism & Steampunk Culture. Quite long and somewhat intellectually angsty.


Filed under Essays