Tag Archives: “steampunk communities”

TempleCon Pre-Reg is open until December 31st!

TempleCon 2013
Attention con-goers and gamers everywhere– this February I will be a guest at TempleCon, the premiere retrofuturistic gaming convention of New England, presenting with friend of the blog Muse En Lystrala (who is an accomplished singer, web & business consultant, and artist working to support humanitarian causes) and performing with The Copper Claw, as well as offering my own panels. Today and tomorrow are the last days you can pre-register for the event. Other featured guests include Paul Di FilippoLeanna Renee Hieber,  Ego Likeness, Psyche Corporation and many more!

The con chairs of TempleCon always run a tight ship, with constant improvements and services to enhance the con experience. This year with your pre-registration, you can also sign up for a spot in any of their panels, demonstrations, workshops, and activities in advance! See below for what I’ll be offering and sign up with your membership.

Character Assassination
Bookish Biopunk
‘It’s Alive!’ Frankenstein as the Father of Biopunk
DIY, DNA, & Dystopia
Minorities and Alternative Cultures
LGBTQ in Science Fiction and Fantasy
Steam Around the World: Steampunk Beyond Victoriana
Women in Steampunk
Envisioning a Better Steam Society: Social Issues & Steampunk
The Copper Claw vs. The Garment Eating Microbes!

You can pre-reg here.

And join their FB page here 

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Filed under Announcement, Conventions

What Do You Do with an MA in Steampunk?

Note from Ay-leen: This guest post for STEAMED! was published yesturday and I thought I’d share it here.

After four years of college, with plenty of knowledge in what a well-known musical has termed a “useless” degree (though, technically, more than in English – I double-majored with Russian), I arrived at the classic Quarter-Life Crisis. I’d been in the Real World, yet was second-guessing myself. Was my career path where I wanted it to be? Was this where I envisioned myself when I left my alma mater? Compared to my peers, after the economy died, I was lucky: working in publishing at a secure job with solid prospects. But something since undergrad came into my life that had reminded me how much I missed academia. Steampunk.

[Read “What Do You Do with an MA in Steampunk?” on STEAMED!]

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Filed under Beyond Victoriana Odds and Ends, Essays

Bruce Boxleitner’s Lantern City is Steampunk TV with a Can-Do, Fan-Fueled Attitude

Bruce Boxleitner’s Lantern City is Steampunk TV with a Can-Do, Fan-Fueled Attitude

Steampunk has been hitting books, films, video games, and RPGs for the last few years – but can it finally work on the small screen today? We have had steampunk shows in the past (many point to the 1960s television-run ofWild Wild West as an example), shows that have steampunk elements to them (like the Chinese-tinged space western Firefly, the props in Warehouse 13, or the last couple of seasons of Doctor Who), and the occasional brass & cog cameo episodes in TV series of other genres (such as the episode “Punked” in season 3 of Castle or that terribly mediocre one from NCIS). We’ve seen steampunk done great, done haphazardly, or done, well, blah. So far, though, according to community consensus, nothing on current television has ever been done 100% right.

Meet the creative team behind Lantern City, then, a group of people who are serious about “doing it right.”

[Read “Bruce Boxleitner’s Lantern City is Steampunk TV with a Can-Do, Fan-Fueled Attitude” on Tor.com]

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Filed under Essays, Interviews

Four Kinks Your Great-Grandparents Didn’t Want You to Know About–by Magpie Killjoy and Professor Calamity

The Victorians invented sex.

Okay, okay, there’s biological evidence suggesting their forebears figured it out too, but our cultural understanding of sex in the western world is more steeped in the late 19th century than even us steampunks would care to admit. Sure, they were notoriously prude, but the Victorians were obsessed with sex. They just lied about it, constantly.

[Read “Four Kinks Your Great-Grandparents Didn’t Want You to Know About” on Tor.com]

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Filed under Essays, History

Queer Cogs: Steampunk, Gender Identity, and Sexuality–by Lisa Hager

Illustration by Keith Thompson

As an academic who specializes in Victorian literature and a steampunk who enjoys taking on the persona of Dorian Gray on occasion, I get a lot of questions and not a few strange looks from my colleagues and students when I explain what steampunk is (or at least try to) and why I so thoroughly enjoy being part of this subculture and avidly devour its fiction. Though most people are definitely interested in steampunk or pretend to be for my sake, I often get the sense that they wonder why a “serious” academic like myself is interested in steampunk culture and literature – that I have crossed some sort of academic nerd line in the sand and may be slightly strange for doing so.

What this attitude misses is how speculative fiction and the subcultures that embrace it, most especially steampunk, can welcome diversity and difference in ways that rare in mainstream culture and give both energy and verve.

[Read “Queer Cogs: Steampunk, Gender Identity, and Sexuality” on Tor.com]

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Filed under Essays, History

Steampunk III: Steampunk Revolution (Excerpt)–Introduction by Ann Vandermeer

We’ve got the introduction to Steampunk III: Steampunk Revolution, edited by Ann VanderMeer, out on December 1 from Tachyon Publications:

Playfully mashing up the romantic elegance of the Victorian era with whimsically modernized technology, this entertaining and edgy new anthology is the third installment in a bestselling steampunk series. Featuring a renegade collective of writers and artists—from beloved legends to rising talents—the steam-driven past is rebooted and powered by originality, wit, and adventure. Lev Grossman offers a different take on the Six Million Dollar Man who possesses appendages and workings from recycled metal parts, yet remains fully human, resilient, and determined. Catherynne M. Valente explores a new form of parenting within the merging of man and machine while Cherie Priest presents a new, unsettling mode of transportation. Bruce Sterling introduces steampunk’s younger cousin, salvage-punk, while speculating on how cities will be built in the future using preexisting materials and Jeff VanderMeer takes an antisteampunk perspective as a creator must turn his back on an utterly destructive creation. Going beyond the simple realms of corsets and goggles, this engaging collection takes readers on a wild ride through Victoriana and beyond.



“After all, what our world is and can be are more about human imagination than well…anything else. And isn’t that a lot of what steampunk has to say? Imagine! Play! Create! Push past the artificial boundary of time to ask the real questions: What does it mean to be human? What are we going to do with all this technology? How can we create the future we want and need?”

—James H. Carrott (Cultural Historian, 2011)

When Jeff VanderMeer and I published Steampunk (the first book in this series) in 2008, we approached the concept through the literature. At that time we had no idea that an entire subculture had grown up around this form of retro-futurism. We had done a lot of research around the fiction but only briefly delved into film, comics, and other creative endeavors. Then we found Steampunk Magazine, which gave us another view of this fast-growing subculture, attended a Steampunk convention, and soon had a better sense of it all. It’s not surprising that we weren’t more aware, given that it wasn’t until the New York Times article in 2008, the month our anthology was published, that the Steampunk subculture became mainstream.

From there, however, steampunk seemed to go viral. We were even approached for an interview by the Weather Channel. I, being a weather geek, was thrilled for the opportunity but asked the interviewer, why us? Why would the Weather Channel be interested in Steampunk? He answered global warming, alternate energy sources, recycling, DIY thinking. This got me to take an even closer look at what was going on in this subculture.

When we agreed to do the second book in 2010, Steampunk Reloaded, we wanted to show how the fiction of this subgenre had grown and transformed. It had expanded beyond just science fiction featuring the Victorian era, and we were able to include many more alternative Steampunk backgrounds and approaches. Correspondingly, the subculture had also expanded and become more diverse and more international—in a very short period of time.

Which brings me to the volume you hold in your hands.

[Read the rest of the excerpt from “Steampunk III: Steampunk Revolution” on Tor.com]

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10 Tips for Launching your Steampunk Project on Kickstarter–by Julie Brannon

[Note from Ay-leen: “Business” and “steampunk” can provoke a sense of distaste among some, but let’s face it: steampunk as an artistic community can and should take advantage of innovative ways to support itself. Crowdsourcing isn’t new, of course, but Julie Brannon, the marketing whiz behind the transmedia publisher of Steampunk Holmes and other titles, gives us her top ten tips for successful Kickstarter campaigns. Steampunk creators, take note!]

10 Tips for Launching your Steampunk Project on Kickstarter

Are you considering launching a Kickstarter project? As a marketer specializing in publishing and technology projects, I get numerous requests from startups to market their Kickstarter campaigns. Currently, I’m researching steampunk projects on Kickstarter in preparation for the upcomingSteam Patriots campaign forNoble Beastand I thought I’d share some tips with you.

In the spring of 2012, I marketed theSteampunk Holmes Kickstartercampaign which surpassed its $29,000 goal to be funded for a total of $42,877. In that campaign we learned as much about what not to do as we learned about what to do.

[Read “10 Tips for Launching your Steampunk Project on Kickstarter” on Tor.com]

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Les Vaporistes, Steampunk in France–by Arthur Morgan

[Note from Ay-leen: I don’t typically cross-post about Europe (for obvious reasons for this blog), but I think that a view into non-Anglophone worlds are equally valid, and watch this space for an interview with Vietnamese-French artist Maurice Grunbaum, who gets a mention here.]

Needless to say, steampunk is heavily influenced by Victorian aesthetics. Top or bowler hats, frock coats, London fog, and so on are unmistakable steampunk characteristics. While the steampunk community is talking wildly about places outside of Victorian England, trying to find in far lands a way to nurture the movement, we sometimes forget that steampunk is also born in the hands of people like Jules Verne, Albert Robida, and others who shared their vision of the future.

Somehow, we can say that steampunk was also born in France. But is there any French steampunk? My answer is yes, and a lot of its richness is available to people outside the Francophone world.

[ Read “Les vaporistes, steampunk in France” over on Tor.com]

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Filed under Essays

Beyond Victoriana Special Edition #10

Here be some links and news of note that caught my eye. And, if you have any to share, don’t hesitate to share them on Beyond Victoriana’s Facebook page, or email me.

First of all, a glimpse at the early cover for the upcoming academic anthology Steaming into the Victorian Future, edited by Julie Anne Taddeo, Cynthia Miller, and Ken Dvorak and published by Scarecrow Press.  I’ve contributed a piece to this volume, and you’ll also find writings from other well-known steam academics, including Dru Pagliassotti, Mike Perschon, Catherine Siemann, and an introduction by Jeff Vandermeer, all commenting about steampunk as a subgenre and as a subculture.

And I finally gave in and got a tumblr for Beyond Victoriana (Jaymee, you’re welcome). Follow me, drop a message in my Ask Box, or watch me re-blog to my heart’s content. There isn’t much on there yet as I figure out themes and suchlike, but that will soon change.

Oh, and if you are planning to go to San Deigo Comic Con next week, I won’t be there, but my fellow compatriots at Tor.com will be! Plus, they will be giving away newspaper editions of Tor.com that feature a variety of articles, including my essay about Vietnamese identity and steampunk “The Ao Dai and I.”

Enough with the self-promotion — more links after the jump!

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Filed under Announcement, Beyond Victoriana Odds and Ends, Linkspams

Con Life, Gender, and My Hypothetical Genitals — Guest blog by Ashley Rogers (a.k.a. Lucretia Dearfour)

Note from Ay-leen: In recognition of Pride Month in the United States, I’d like to thank Lucretia Dearfour for writing about her experiences in the steampunk community.

The first person that we know of to ever go through sexual reassignment surgery was Lili Elbe in 1930, unfortunately her body rejected much of the surgery and she died three month afterward.  The first most prominant recipient however was Christine Jørgensen, who received the surgery in 1952 and was then immediately outed to the public as Trans… as “Different.”  What is truly amazing to me about Jørgensen’s story is that the first paper to get the scoop and run with it was the New York Daily News on December 1st 1952, and the headline read “Ex-GI Becomes Blonde Beauty.”  The headline could have called her a freak of nature, could have foscued on how a man decided one day to be a woman, could have called her a freak or warped the public’s mind in any way shape or form as the first paper to break such a story.  What I respect about the article is that it chose to focus on the fact that Jørgensen became a “Blonde Beauty.”  It’s vein, it’s vapid, and it still says “He was this, now he’s not a he anymore,” but it does so in such a way that conveys a positive message.

Transgender and gender nonconformist individuals exist to this day.  We have existed throughout history and we have only gained strength and prominence as time has gone on with many thanks to trailblazers like Jørgensen.  We’ve still got a long, LONG way to go but the future is definitely moving in a very accepting direction for me and mine.

That being said, in Steampunk as well as in a lot of other geek-oriented subcultures I feel (subjectively) that Trans folks are on the whole accepted, though not understood and, at times, not encouraged.  This is something that can change, and is en route to change yet at the moment we still deal with a lot of double standard BS that cis-gendered (labeled one gender at birth and has no intention of questioning said gender) folks never need to think about.

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Filed under Essays