Tag Archives: “steampunk identity”

Steampunk Stylin’ & Dr. Grymm Featured on BBC America

One quick update: Amidst the rush in preparing for Nova Albion this weekend, I want to mention that the BBC America segment about steampunk had aired on Tuesday night as part of the BBC World News Hour. Readers may recall the Steampunk Stylin’ event I organized in connection with this; I worked with the lovely gent Andy Gallacher on this story to get him in touch with maker Dr. Grymm as well as letting him meet the awesome NYC steampunk community at The Way Station in Brooklyn.

This story, I think, really captures the fun, beauty, and positive vibes that I’ve encountered during my years being involved in the steampunk community, especially with the crews I run with both in New York and in New England. I’m especially proud that many of these wonderful people had a chance to come together for a night and show BBC how awesome American steampunks can be.

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#67 Reporting from AnachroCon!


AnachroCon, based in Atlanta, Georgia, is an alternative history convention that has been sympathetic to the steampunk cause. On its website, they describe themselves as an inclusive space where “home for Steampunks, Neo-Victorians, Retro-Futurists, Historical Re-enactors, Time Travelers, and general students of history, as well as those wishing to explore these areas.” This convention also has a decisively academic bent, though it certainly keeps ties between itself and several sci-fi conventions such as Dragon*Con, PhilCon, Chattacon and others.

Local steampunk and authoress Emilie P. Bush reports about her AnachroCon experiences as a panelist and attendee for this report. Austin Sirkin also returns and speaks a little bit about his role as Cultural Track Director for this convention and gives an on-staff viewpoint on how this year went. Moreover, the production company Persistence Multimedia presents some on-the-spot video reporting, featuring interviews with Emilie, Senior Con Director of Promotions Dan Carroll, Fabrication Director Paige Smith, propmaker Thomas Willeford of Brute Force Leather and several attendees about AnachroCon and the greater steampunk community.

Major kudos goes out for all of them for this extensive coverage!

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#63 Reporting from TempleCon 2011!

TempleCon, a retrofuturist gaming convention, has been running for six years, and I’ve been lucky enough to attend for the past two years. As a gaming convention, a majority of its programming is focused on huge, expansive gaming set-ups for all types: miniature games, card tournaments, LARPing, and tabletop RPGs. Most people usually spend their entire weekends in the gaming rooms, but for those who like to wander about, this year’s TempleCon offered an array of other activities, including Tempest’s bellydance workshop, costume & prop panels run by The Wandering Legion of the Thomas Tew, mulled wine & cider tastings, fashion show and costume competition, musicians such as Psyche Corporation, Emperor Norton’s Stationary Marching Band, The Gypsy Nomads, and Eli August, and panels on writing, comics, steampunk, dueling, feminism, and of course, my own workshops on social justice issues. So, roaming the hallways as a zombie during the zombie march was equally as valid as playing Magic: The Gathering with your friends.

This convention had been particularly special for me though: on Saturday, I proposed to my fiancee. On this blog, I don’t tend to talk about my queer experience as much as race & culture & steampunk, not because I don’t see queer identities as relevant (in fact, understanding the intersectionality of all our experiences is an important aspect to fostering social change), but because the story, is, well, long and involved and deals with cultural (double)standards, racial exotification/invisibility in queer communities, and the ambiguous treatment of trans people and their partners in both straight and queer settings. Not to mention maintaining a level of privacy that any couple should be able to have.   But the occasion like this isn’t something to be taken lightly, and I really wanted to acknowledge the impact the steampunk community has had on a non-traditional couple like us. “A New Year, Another Beginning” is more of a personal reflection, concerning my ten-year journey with my partner Lucretia Dearfour and our experiences as a couple in life and as a couple within the steampunk community.

Also contributing to this con report is Monique Poirier, a previous contributor to Beyond Victoriana, who gives a run-down on her experiences on Saturday at the convention. Jeromy Foberg shares his time as a Volunteer Staff member for TempleCon, and Simon J. Berman, a staff writer for Privateer Press, also stops by to relate his attendee experiences. Along with my own pictures, photographer Jessica Coen also contributes her visual eye to our eventful weekend.

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#62 Cala Mondrago, the Steampunk Oasis–Guest Blog by Akidami Swift with Bianca Namori

As many know and some who may not know, Secondlife has been one of the top multimedia social platform since it’s release in June of 2003. It’s said that people can reinvent themselves, discover dreams, play games, and of course, make a little money. You want it, SL has it! So why would it be such a shock to have such a fun, fantastical steampunk desert world? Personally, it’s the infamous world of the “Sims” on steroids of amazing measure.

Enter Cala Mondrago, a sim (plot of land in Secondlife), named and designed after the ancient culture of the Moors. The name “Cala Mondrago” comes from a city within the island of Majorca, a location full of life, color, splendor, and creativity. All things that sim owner Bianca Namori wishes to foster.

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#61 Steam-Powered: Lesbian Steampunk Stories — A Roundtable Interview, Part 2

Note: This is part 2 of our roundtable interview with several contributors to Steam-Powered. Read part 1 here.


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#60 Steam-Powered: Lesbian Steampunk Stories — A Roundtable Interview, Part 1

Steam-Powered: Lesbian Steampunk Stories is a very unique anthology for a variety of reasons. By unique, I’m not stating that this anthology is tailor-made for only a specific target audience (though it may scream “niche” to the average reader.) Still, upon first impression, a reader might wonder: would someone who isn’t queer or female or a romance lover still enjoy this book? Torquere Books, known for its queer and alternative literature, may be jumping onto the growing steampunk bandwagon that is gaining speed in the publishing world. And, some people might fear the worst after steampunk Palin— is Steam-Powered just another trend-hopper?

No, it is not. To think so would do a great disservice to the quality of work contained within this volume, and the literary thoughtfulness from both the contributing authors and Steam-Powered‘s editor JoSelle Vanderhooft.

These stories feature the work of several prominent and up-and-coming writers in the SF/F world. It starts off strong with N.K. Jeminsin’s The Effluent Engine,” previously published on her blog for the A Story for Haiti fund-raising campaign, and also includes the work of Georgina Bruce, D.L. MacInnes, Sara M. Harvey, Beth Wodzinski, Rachel Manija Brown, Shira Lipkin, Matthew Kressel, Meredith Holmes, Teresa Wymore, Tara Sommers, Mikki Kendall, Shweta Narayan, Mike Allen, and Amal El-Mohtar.

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#57 On Writing: A History of Muslim Steampunk–Guest Blog by Yakoub Islam

Note: Cross-posted with permission from Yakoub Islam from his website The Muslim Age of Steam on The Steampunk Shariah.

Middle Eastern Astrolobe. 1291.

Middle Eastern Astrolobe. 1291.

In Summer 2009, I made the bold decision to write a full-length novel. It seemed like the perfect solution to a troubled and difficult decade, which had largely centred around caring for my autistic son: a return to an old passion – creative writing; a therapeutic outlet following a period of mental and physical illness; and perhaps a means of drawing together the various intellectual and spiritual threads that have informed my faith and eclectic reading over the last 20-odd years. I began by exploring the imaginative possibilities surrounding the first recorded Muslim visit to England, allegedly made by the twelfth century geographer Muhammad al-Idrisi. A small cast of characters was assembled, along with possible subplots, themes and a couple of draft chapters. Yet after twelve months of research and writing, the various elements of my intended novel remained disparate, and I almost gave it up.

I wondered whether the problem wasn’t down to a contradiction that I’m sure many writers have experienced – between creative and publishing ambitions. I wanted to write a one of a kind book, but who would want to read it?

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#50 Overcoming the Noble Savage & the Sexy Squaw: Native Steampunk–Guest Blog by Monique Poirier

Monique in her steampunk attire. Image courtesy of author

I’m not one for preambles, so let’s get down to brass tacks here. I’m Monique Poirier. I’m a member of the Seaconke Wampanoag Tribe. I’m a Steampunk.

When I got into Steampunk several years ago, it didn’t really occur to me to even try to incorporate my cultural identity into my Steampunk presentation; my first Steampunk outfit (worn to Templecon 2009) was cobbled together from my existent goth attire, stuff from the renfaire costume trunk, and a duct-tape corset.

Then I read Jha’s articles at Tor.com. Then I started reading Beyond Victoriana. It was powwow season… and everything just -clicked-. When I attended The Steampunk World’s Fair in May 2010, I made an active effort to incorporate my ethnic identity more visibly in my Steampunk attire.

That’s where things get complicated.

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#49 Reporting from TeslaCon!

Image courtesy of TeslaCon

One of the difficult things about writing con reports for Beyond Victoriana is that I’ve always missed something. Whether it be a panel, a cosplay, or The Biggest Story from the con, I know that since I’m only one person, I can’t be everywhere at once to record it for the blog. Not to mention all of those great con events in the community that go on that I can’t attend. So for future conventions, Beyond Victoriana will be extending its con coverage to include features from on-staff and on the ground.

TeslaCon is the first event we’re trying out with this new format, and justly so. What makes this con stand out from previous ones is its mission as steampunk’s first “immersive convention.” Organized by Eric Larson (Lord Hastings R. Bobbins) as an elaborate role-playing convention, TeslaCon featured not only the usual panels, vending, fashion show and other events, but was built around a central murder mystery storyline and run by a crew of dedicated actors on staff.

Panelist Austin Sirkin talks about his impressions of the con, staff member Wendy Zdrodowski unravels TeslaCon’s murder mystery run by Steampunk Chicago, and Captain Anthony LaGrange of The Airship Archon gives an attendee report. Photo coverage is also provided by Jessica Coen and Shannon Sofian, featured in the articles and after the jump.

So even if you were stuck at home like me, you can still get a taste of the TeslaCon experience, thanks for the dedication of our reporters and photographers.

Interested in sharing your TeslaCon experience? Feel free to share & link your reports and pictures  in the comments!

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#39 Epic Adventures at Dragon*Con & in Salem

Note as of 9/21/2010: Since the posting of this report, I have received feedback that a reader had been offended by my comments below for ignoring the presence  of mixed race and Native steampunks at Dragon*Con. I take full responsibility for the offense made and apologize for my oversight. As noted in the comments of this post, I don’t wish to make a marginalized person feel that they have been rendered invisible when they visit this site. The lightheartedness in which I made the comments below in “The Count” about race, representation, and physical appearance ignores the very painful experience of being a person of mixed race/Native descent/light complexion who passes for white, but does not share the same experiences as someone from the dominant culture. I won’t change my initial comments below–because it would be hypocritical of me to cover up my mistakes–and I hope to receive further feedback about how to improve upon my reflections –and in turn, the content of this site– to be more open and welcoming in the future.

My first Dragon*Con experience can be described in one word: overwhelming. Not surprising, since an estimated 60,000 attendees come to this convention every year. Since its humble beginnings in 1987, Dragon*Con has become one of the largest multi-media & pop culture conventions in the US, and there’s frequent debate in the geek world about whether Dragon*Con outmatches San Diego Comic Con.

Though I’ve heard about Dragon*Con, I never considered going because of distance and cost. Outland Armour begged the Wandering Legion of the Thomas Tew to attend this year, however, and so I decided to tag along with my ruffians-in-arms for the journey.

Thus, unlike other conventions I had attended, I had no set plans and didn’t intend to actively scout out the con specifically for steampunkery. I had plans on attending some of the panels listed on the alternative history track, and some other events, like the dark fantasy panels and seeing a couple of performers.

My initial schedule plans shifted, when Austin Sirkin contacted me about speaking on the Race & Gender panel, and Emilie P. Bush (who I worked with for the Race, Class & Gender roundtable at the Steampunk World’s Fair) touched base with me about speaking on the Women in Steampunk panel.

Another twist was added when the Day Job requested that I cover the convention once I told them I was attending. I try to keep a professional distance between my Day Job and my steampunk, especially since the two have so much relevance to each other. My plans for Sunday, though, changed entirely when I was scheduled to interview several authors and film the con. I was psyched about the people I got to interview (most relevant to this blog being Cherie Priest).  Because of filming, I missed out on a couple of steampunk events I wanted to go to– most notably, the Steampunk Exposition (though the Peacemaker ended up being displayed in my absence).  Sticking to the premise of the blog, though, I’ll only mention the steam events. ^-^

So I had two panels to prep for, along with making arrangements for work, in order to tackle a con I’ve never gone to before (and somehow figuring how to get down to Georgia at a reasonable price!) In the end, my experience was less steam-focused than I intended, but I did learn several valuable lessons about attending Dragon*Con. My list, plus the rest of the report after the jump.

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