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Steampunks in the US Pacific Northwest, we got a special gift for you!

The lovely folks at Portland GEAR Con in Oregon have generously donated two weekend passes and a pledge to the Rising Phoenix Fund.

We will be giving away these tickets FOR FREE to one lucky winner.

Enter giveaway here.

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Story Excerpt:


Dorothy Winterman's "African Amazon" outfit

It is day 15 of our arduous journey through the veldts of Nigeria (or are we in Cameroon yet?). Our tracker Adeola has discovered new tracks and scraps of fibers from obviously foreign cloths. She can find a single iguana track amongst a bevy of crocodiles, this one can. We listen intently that these “men” are probably several hours, if not a day away. We find evidence of them through their encampments, their excrement and their litter. Yes, litter. Can you imagine- these foreigners, these soldiers, these baby snatching, people annihilating, genocidal rapists also throw their unwanted refuse upon our beautiful, sacred ground. Well if you can march hordes of innocent groups of human beings to ships waiting to whisk them away to be enslaved, massacred and destroyed in a whole different place on this globe, throwing down unwanted garbage must not mean much. I guess it truly lies in one’s perspective, does it not?

I think to myself, “Did I travel back in time for this?”

Read more on BeyondVictoriana.com
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Jake von Slatt's Roadster, featured at the Fair. Image courtesy of Michael Salerno.

Steampunk World's Fair-- the self-proclaimed "largest steampunk festival in the US" had a huge turnout last year and raised expectations for many steampunks for repeat success. Over the course of the year, shifts in management and staff structure sprouted rumors of uncertainty about the success of the con, but this year's Fair still held a strong and diverse showing of panels, workshops, and entertainments. Previous year's favorites, including musicians Professor Elemental, Emperor Norton's Stationary Marching Band, Psyche Corporation, Eli August, This Way to Egress, and Frenchy and the Punk returned, with the addition of several other newcomers such as Murder by Death, Copal, Ego Likeness, and Left Outlet.  Events expanded to include book launch parties for Tee Morris and Pip Ballentine's The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences, Leanna Renee Hieber's The Perilous Prophecy of the Goddess and the Guard, and Emilie P. Bush's The Gospel According to Verdu at the Library of Lost Literature, an academic track, a Tweed Ride, a Dandy Stroll, a charity fundraiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and Queen Victoria's Birthday Party. Other notable programming ranged from workshops on bartitsu and kimono-wearing to pro-union rallies and surviving the apocalypse.

Along with my own con report, which is featured on Tor.com, below is just a sampling of experiences offered by our guest reporters, including Daniel Holzman-Tweed, Austin Sirkin, Lucretia Dearfour, Sean Proper, Matt Deblass and Ekaterina Sedia. Fashion designer Kathryn Paterwic of Redfield Designs also presents her runway collection from the "Across the Universe" fashion show told in her narrated photo essay. Photography from Jessica Lilley, Babette Daniels, Michael Salerno, Monique Poirier, Philip Ng, and myself are also included.

Read more on BeyondVictoriana.com
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Aetherfest took place between April 29th - May 1st, 2011 in San Antonio, making it the first steampunk convention in Texas. I've been in touch with Pablo Vazquez for about a year now, and when he hinted last fall about an upcoming convention, I was more than thrilled to make my first Texan debut at his con. I was looking forward to meeting a new community, but was a bit nervous going myself. Luckily, Lucretia Dearfour accompanied me on this adventure, and we discovered that The Emperor of the Red Fork Empire was also a featured guest here. While at Aetherfest, the three of us interviewed several of the other guests and attendees at the con. That footage is still in post, but in the meantime, I hope you enjoy the following reports & pictures from this event. Mr. Saturday (aka Pablo Miguel Alberto Vazquez III) is the co-chair for the event, and talks about what went on in prep for this con and how he thought it turned out. Author O. M. Grey writes about her experience as a special guest, and Lucretia Dearfour relates her con experience as well. All pictures are provided by me, unless otherwise noted.

Read more on BeyondVictoriana.com
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Steampunk Industrial Revolution is New Hampshire's first steampunk convention and proclaimed to "revolutionize the way we steampunk."

Austin Sirkin opens up our reports with his discovery of a landlocked boat in the middle of the hotel; the musician Eli August gives the low-down on his experiences at the con; Miriam Rocek brings her attendee perspective; Matt Delman, chief editor of Doctor Fantastique's Show of Wonders reports from behind the panelist table, and modder & tinkerer Geoffrey Smith of Thee-Gartisan Works talks about the con from a vendor's side of things, including meeting other awesome modders and artists at the con, what's the name of his favorite gun mod, and the hot little item that everyone was wearing at the convention. Christopher Hayes (aka "The Haze") provides video coverage, and Geoffrey, Jessica Lilley, and Nate Buchman also feature their photos from the event.

Check this all out after the jump.

Read more on BeyondVictoriana.com
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 First stop in this Con Extravaganza series is Nova Albion, based in Santa Clara, California. This con was formerly named Steam Powered, and I first heard about it from Mike Perschon's blog years ago. This year's Nova Albion is the first steampunk convention to address a non-Western theme, and I was intrigued when they had invited me as a speaker back in the fall of 2010.  Obviously, having a theme like this was an opportunity to break a lot of ground in the community.... or it could've easily been flooded with cultural objectification (because we all know how much white people love consuming and commodifying Asian stuff & people) without any equally reciprocal interactions with, well, other Asians & Asian-Americans and our history and culture.

To be honest, this con was great in a lot of ways, but its treatment of the theme wasn't perfect. I had a bunch of fantastic experiences and a bunch of uncomfortable ones. The reports and footage from this event, then, address a lot of different aspects, and our guest reporters and myself definitely walked away with dynamically different impressions of the con.

Read more on BeyondVictoriana.com
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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 game writer for Privateer Press, also stops by to relate his attendee experiences. Photographer Jessica Coen is also contributing her visual eye to our eventful weekend.

Read more on BeyondVictoriana.com
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I've been working on major developments with the blog as of late, the first being the website's new layout (if you're reading this site via RSS feed, you might want to take a look at the shininess; yeah, I'm a bit proud of this revamped look. ^_^)

More exciting, though, is that Beyond Victoriana's content will take a dip into fiction. As a rule, I don't accept fiction submissions to post on the site, but this is a very special case. In cooperation with Tachyon Publishing, Beyond Victoriana will host translated excerpts from the Brazilian anthology VAPORPUNK. You may have read Fabio Fernandes' review of the anthology during Steampunk Fortnight, but here is the only place on the internet where you'll be able to read teasers in English from this anthology. Click on the nifty icon on the website sidebar to read more (or you can click on the cover below.)


Read the rest on BeyondVictoriana.com
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The town of Seattle was a-buzz the weekend of November 19th - 21st as an estimated 1700+ steampunks arrived for the second annual Steamcon convention. This was another event I had to sit out on, sadly, since I was involved with The Anachronism NYC at Webster Hall that same weekend (and you can check out pictures here, here and here.) Staff and attendees from the event, however, volunteered their reports and pictures from the second-annual convention, which rocked the theme "Weird, Weird West."

See what these folks have to say:

The man that needs no introduction, Jake von Slatt, who was one of the Guests of Honor, talks a bit about his experiences, including the panel he co-presented with the awesome mistress of the ExoSkeleton Cabaret Libby Bulloff about Queering Steampunk Fashion. Donna Prior, the Games Chair, talks a bit about the tabletop, miniature, and LARPing adventures that took place this weekend. Staff member Kevin Steil, the Airship Ambassador, already provided a gigantic round-up and review of the SteamCon II media coverage, but also gives an exclusive report about his Steamcon experience. Justin Stanley (aka Emperor Justinian Stanislaus), known to most as the Emperor of the Red Fork Empire, gives an on-the-ground scoop in his attendee report.

Read more on BeyondVictoriana.com
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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.



Read on BeyondVictoriana.com
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Running from one con to the next, I will be at Another Anime Con in Nashua, NH this weekend with The Wandering Legion of the Thomas Tew (WL).

I'll be helping them out on a bucketful of panels throughout the weekend. Check out our schedule below:

FRIDAY
4PM Steampunk 101 (WL)
8:30PM Steampunk in the Media (WL & BV)

SATURDAY
5 PM Creating Steampunk Props and Costumes (WL)
10PM Social Issues and Steampunk Roundtable (BV)
Surprise time! (TK) The Deadliest Game (WL & BV)

SUNDAY
Noon The Gentleman's Duel (WL)
1 PM Steampunk Star Wars (WL)
3PM Steampunk Beyond Victoriana (BV)



And then the following weekend, I shall be reading at the Brooklyn Indie Mart's Steampunk Day at Tor's Literary Corner on October 24th. Come at 1PM to be regaled by selections from Scott Westerfeld's Behemoth (steampunk!Istanbul anyone?), and click on the link to see all the other wonderful writers & performers who will be there too.
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BEA logo

Note from Ay-leen: Due to further shifts in the schedule, this week's post will be my con report for BEA. And tune in next week for Sandrine Thomas' new article. In the meantime, I shall be investigating steampunk at its Source in London. Wish me luck!


Some online commentors declared that when steampunk hit the New York Times Style Section, steampunk was dead. If that were the case, then the publishing industry has been beating a dead horse (or, perhaps, joining the "sell out" bandwagon as those same nay-sayers maintain). Nevertheless, with steampunk's growing recognition as a subgenre (and cemented in March in relevance to US reading audiences when the Library of Congress created a "steampunk" fiction category), publishers and booksellers everywhere are intrigued by what, exactly, is steampunk and why, exactly, is it becoming one of the hottest trends in publishing today. During Book Expo America, the largest book fair event in North America that was held a couple of weeks ago, I had a chance to scope out a few steampunk-related events that served to educate the average reader about the growing hype surrounding steampunk.

Read the rest on BeyondVictoriana.com
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I got interviewed for Tor.com by Jaymee Goh. Check us out dishing about the SRS BZNZ of steampunk.

Am preparing to attend Bakuretsucon this weekend with the Penny Dreadfuls. We'll be hosting several events and panels this weekend, and I'll get to see some ol' VT buddies there.

And am working on my next post for Beyond Victoriana before I leave tomorrow.

Egads...so much to do, so little time...

December 2012

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