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For the last post of the year, I'm enjoying a post-holiday recoup and a some good steampunky links. Featuring some oldies but goodies, great vids, the launch of SteamCast in Brazil, and pretty steampunk art after the jump.

Read more on BeyondVictoriana.com
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In the wake of the Steampunk Kurfluffle that started with Charles Stross' complaint against steampunk, Tobias Buckell wrote an interesting response about fantasy’s tendency to romanticize the past and mentioned his own work:


But ultimately, I share Stross’s discomfort, which is why my steampunk plays have often been about adopting the style and nodding to the history. Crystal Rain, what I called a Caribbean steampunk novel, is about Caribbean peoples and the reconstituted Mexica (Azteca in the book) of old with a Victorian level of technology, using the clothing/symbols of steampunk, but making their artificiers black. Sadly, Crystal Rain, written in 2006, seems to have come out just before all the hotness, as it rarely gets mentioned as a steampunk novel whenever these celebrations happen.

So, now that my curiosity was piqued, I had to go out and get the book to see for myself how he handles steampunk before “the hotness.”


Read on BeyondVictoriana.com

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reginazabo, a blogger from Italy who works as a translator, was quite taken by my essay about the current state of multicultural steampunk and translated it in Italian to share with the steampunks of Italy! A PDF of this document is available through the DIY magazine Ruggine ("Rust").

The mission statement for Ruggine magazine is pretty awesome:
Our funding principle is Do-It-Yourself. We find things we like and simply activate to spread them around. It’s all about putting our hands on the heart of the matter, of getting involved with our brains, blood and hearts and avoiding the detached vantage points from which others gaze at futures made by someone else.


A giant THANK YOU goes out to her and the Ruggine team for their work in putting this together!


Available in Italian from Ruggine magazine. Click to download PDF

Formatted at 52 pages in a pocket-sized edition, this PDF prints to the ideal size for stuffing in your waistcoat before leaving for your next steampunk meet-up, or ready-made for the determined pamphleteer.

Oh, you Italian punks--don't you ever stop. ^_^

"Steampunk di tutto il mondo, unitevi!" is also available to read on reginazabo's blog (at Part #1 and Part #2).
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Myself with Viceroy Chang in his place of honor. Don't we look so dapper? Image courtesy of Holly Hickerson

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 in the post–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.





Read the rest on BeyondVictoriana.com
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At the risk of tooting my horn a bit too much for the past couple of days, I'm announcing a little "bonus material" to add to today's update. Recently, the dear Airship Ambassador cast a line down and we chatted it up about my thoughts on steampunk, blogging, and the focus behind Beyond Victoriana.

Read part 1 of the interview here.

Enjoy!
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I admit, I kick the old adage in the face when it comes to book covers: I don’t hesitate to judge and judge fiercely. That’s being said, if a book cover intrigues me, I will pounce on it like a kitten goes to capnip. When the book-world blogosphere was reeling over the whitewashing Liar controversy, which was then followed by the Magic Under Glass fiasco – instances where the main protagonist of color was portrayed as white and light-haired – Orbit did a cover launch for THE GASLIGHT DOGS featuring this lovely example of Covers Done Awesome:



The Gaslight Dogs



But it would be months until I got get my hands on the physical book, and was quite pleased when I finally did. Karin Lowachee's publishing career began when she was won a first novel contest judged by Tim Powers (yes, fellow steampunks, *that* Tim Powers, author of The Anubis Gates) and had her book WARCHILD published in 2002. WARCHILD was the first of a trilogy that continued with BURNDIVE and CAGEBIRD, and both WARCHILD and BURNDIVE were nominated as finalists for the Philip K. Dick Award.

But enough singing of praises for her previous work. THE GASLIGHT DOGS, a fantasy set on the wild borderlands of the frozen North where, in the epic words of the back cover: "an ancient nomadic tribe faces a new enemy - an empire fueled by technology and war." Sjenn, a young spiritwalker from the Aniw tribe, is taken prisoner for murder by the Victorian-esque Ciracusans settlers and meets Captain Jarrett, a brash soldier with daddy issues and a terrible gift. The two of them and the steadfast Whishishian native guide Keeley must work together to master a deadly power or else everyone - both colonialist and native - will suffer dire consequences.

I devoured this book in two days after getting it, and was able to get in touch with Karin for an interview about writing THE GASLIGHT DOGS.

Read on BeyondVictoriana.com

December 2012

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