A special sale is going on for Katherine Gleason’s wonderful book on the diverse avenues of steampunk fashion Anatomy of Steampunk (which you can catch a sneak preview excerpt of here).
Now on-sale for only $21 USD using the code LEAP16
Now on-sale for only $21 USD using the code LEAP16
For the latter half of April, I’m doing back-to-back conventions (wheeee!) Check out my schedule for both below.
And, as always, if you are an author/agent looking to have a meeting, please contact me.
5:30 PM Madison
Description: A discussion over what to include in your query letter and how to approaching publishers and agents as a newer author in general.
Panelists: Diana Pho, Michael Livingston
The Maharaja of Sweden hosts Sci-fi Mashups
10:00 PM Washington
Description: Join the Maharaja of Sweden as he serves chai and discusses the great stories that blend cultures. Explorers, subjects taken out of context, subversions of culture, misplacement of values, subjegation, historical inaccuracies, and twists of time. Confederates with atom bombs? Musketeers with airships? Amish Zombies? Where does it end?! And should it…
Panelists: Diana Pho, Peter B. Slayer, Emilie P. Bush
JordanCon Annual Pitch Critique
2:30 PM Madison
Description: Get practice on those first crucial moments with an agent or editor. No stakes, just honest feedback.
Panelists: Diana Pho, Saladin Ahmed, Harriett McDougal
Turning Feedback into useful Critique
11:30 AM Madison
Description: So people have read your work and told you what they thought. Now what?
Panelists: Diana Pho, Saladin Ahmed, Jim Hodgson, Anthony Taylor
2:30 PM Madison
Description: Prophecy, Thematic Hints, Ominous Portents, and everything in between. Come here some great ways and reasons to Foreshadow.
Panelists: Todd McCaffrey, Anthony Taylor, Diana Pho
Writer’s Workshop Part 1–Hemingway Happy Hour
6 PM in the Pompeii Room
Description: Mingle with fellow writers and other publishing folk. Hosted by Emilie P Bush
Safer Spaces for Steampunks: Addressing Harassment in Fandom
8pm in the Naples Room
Description: Join us in an upfront and forward-thinking conversation lead by Ay-leen the Peacemaker (Diana M. Pho) on how to create safer spaces in fandom against harassment, with a particular focus on sexual harassment awareness, reporting, and prevention tactics. All genders and orientations are encouraged to attend.
Writer’s Workshop Part 2–The Boiler Room
10:00 am in the Pompeii Room
Description: Discussion of the craft of writing with Emilie P Bush & Ay-leen the Peacemaker (Diana M. Pho).
Beyond Victoriana: Multicultural Steampunk
7 pm in the Naples Room
Description: How does multicultural steampunk look Beyond Victoriana? Updated & expanded since its previous presentation at the Steampunk Symposium.
Last year, I bowed out of the nominations for Steampunk Chronicle’s Readers Choice Awards (having won two years in a row) but hadn’t had a chance to create my own suggested list. I’m catching the nomination period earlier this time around to throw in some two cents into the change bucket of suggestions. I’m basing my suggestions on the steampunk media that I’ve seen in 2014. Anything earlier, though I may have loved it, would have to be excluded from the list. I am also excluding convention nominations since I don’t feel as comfortable highlighting some while I hadn’t had a chance to attend as many steampunk ones in 2014. My suggestions are only for categories that I’m confident enough to speak about, and while I tend to linger in my reasoning for selecting some more than others, but it doesn’t mean I feel any less about anyone / anything I mention on this list. That being said… ~insert drumroll~
Best Solo Musician
Paul Shapera for The New Albion Trilogy. The whole trilogy is pure genius in concept and execution. An Atompunk Opera, the New Albion Guide to Analogue Consciousness and the bonus The Room Beneath New Albion came out in 2014. I’m nominating Shapera under Best Solo Musician, however, from the strength and vision of the entire project. Each opera is distinct in musical style, but follows the progression of the fantasy city of New Albion and its denizens to create one of the strongest storytelling pieces I’ve ever listened to in speculative music. I only wish he got more recognition for his work!
Best Young Adult Steampunk Fiction
Two recommendations for this category:
Waistcoats & Weaponry by Gail Carriger Her trademark droll wit is not lacking in any of her books, including this prequel series to the Parasol Protectorate series.
Dragonfly Warrior by Jay Noel His work caught my eye early last year when he reached out about his take of Asian steampunk. It’s a fun ride, and I look forward to picking up the rest of his trilogy.
Best Children’s Steampunk Fiction or Picture Book
The Jupiter Chronicles by Leonardo Ramirez
Ramirez has a ton of heart and it really shows in his storytelling about a pair of siblings who go on a steampunk space adventure in search of their father.
Steampunk World, edited by Sarah Hans
(Full disclosure: I wrote the introduction for this book). This projects stemmed from a conversation in early 2013 about how steampunk would function in different cultures across the globe and in 2014, Hans and Alliteration Ink launched their Kickstarter to get this project running. Featuring several well-known and up-and-coming names in SF/F, Steampunk World also got great support from io9 and BoingBoing. I was pretty impressed the the selection on the list and the range of geographic places they cover.
Best Non- fiction and Best Maker Book
The Steampunk User’s Manual by Jeff VanderMeer and Desirina Boskovich (Full disclosure: I contributed an article for this book.)
The follow-up to The Steampunk Bible, VanderMeer and Boskovich explore the worlds of creativity and making. It reads one-part inspirational guidebook, two-parts DIY lovefest for the steampunk set.
Best Graphic Novel
Clockwork Watch Currently ongoing transmedia project, but I wanted to highlight the compact and beautifully-drawn graphic novels.
Best Steampunk Periodical (print or blog)
The Airship Ambassador
(Full disclosure: Until this year, Kevin Steil and I worked together for the Tor.com steampunk monthly event round-up). I rarely have time to follow many blogs consistently anymore, but the Airship Ambassador is one of them, and I have endless admiration for his stalwart dedication over the years.
Also tied with that is P. Djeli Clark’s The Musings of a Disgruntled Haradrim . . . (Full disclosure: I first found his blog years ago and had him as a contributor for Beyond Victoriana). His blog is speculative fiction in general as well as steampunk, but his writing is always consistently smart, articulate and on-point.
Best Themed Cafe or Bar
The Way Station This is my neighborhood bar, actually so I really have a bias there XD
Best TV Series
The Legend of Korra, Book 4 Despite the flaws I have with its pacing early in the series, Book 4 really pulled all the disparate threads of its previous seasons and gave a satisfying and television-moment changing of an ending. Bravo.
Best Politically-Minded Steampunk
I have several for this category, in no particular order:
Bruce & Melanie Rosenbaum of ModVic While not “typically” defined as political, ModVic’s charity work in disability communities has truly been an inspiration.
Jaymee Goh, for her years of tireless work analyzing steampunk from a postcolonial perspective and supporting steampunks of color at Silver Goggles
Lisa Hager, for her LGBTQQAI advocacy in the genre, especially being one of the first to introduce queer-focused panels a couple of years ago at TeslaCon
Margaret “Magpie” Killjoy, one of the first radical steampunks on the scene almost ten years ago at this point and founder of Steampunk Magazine. What more can I say?
Best Multicultural Steampunk
There’s some overlap with “Best-Political” given my inclinations, but again, in no particular order:
The Airship Ashanti They are a relatively new group, but seeing them give me hope to see other PoC-dominant groups arrive on the scene. Plus, they have done a ton of local work for outreach in their community to get more fans of color involved.
Balogun Ojetade & The Chronicles of Harriet A long time friend of the bog, I have seen Balogun grow by leaps and bounds as a writer and general creator.
Jaymee Goh & Silver Goggles. She continues to be awesome, plus, I should also add that she is the co-editor of the upcoming Southeast Asian steampunk anthology The SEA is Ours and is currently running a month-long round table featuring the international list of authors involved!
Suna Dasi of Steampunk India Suna’s online presence is always a delight – full of grace, poise, and welcoming to steampunks from all walks of life while always enthusiastically pursuing Indian steampunk.
Best Crowdfunded Project
The League of Steam, Season 3 or Steampunk World Criteria for both is that they got an overwhelmingly positive response, became fully-funded, and produced their final products that year or by this date & time (which is something that not all crowd-sourced funded projects actually achieve).
What do you folks think? I’m also open to hearing your thoughts about these nominations and ones for categories I didn’t list here.
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. ^^
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.
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.
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:
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!
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.
“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.
“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 same, too. There 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.
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!