Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Call for Submissions! The Omnibus of Doctor Bill Shakes and the Magnificent Ionic Pentatetrameter: A Steampunk's Shakespeare Anthology

If that title doesn't intrigue you, I don't know what will, but yes, the Steampunk imprint of Flying Pen Press will be releasing this anthology, first in print, then as an ebook, and the editors are Matt Delman (of Free the Princess and Doctor Fantastique's Show of Wonders), Lia Keyes (hostess of the Steampunk Writers & Artists Guild), and yours truly!

See, we were chatting in the Twitter #steampunkchat? We were supposed to be talking about steampunk elements as window-dressing and whether it's possible for the aesthetic to be integral to the story and someone mentioned Shakespeare and it all went downhill from there IN THE BEST WAY POSSIBLE, as we started coming up with lines like "Out, out, damn soot" and "my machinery's ions are nothing like the sun...". And I said I'd so go through the slush pile for that, and next thing I knew, I'm co-editor.

So! Love Shakespeare? Love steampunk? Want to help put two awesome things together into one giant ball of Awesome? That is to say, want to submit to this anthology?

Submissions guidelines as follows!

From Hamlet as half-man half-machine to Henry V at the helm of an army of men in steam-powered mechanical suits, the sky is the proverbial limit for adapting William Shakespeare’s classic plays and sonnets to the Steampunk aesthetic.

This is not intended to be a series of mash-ups, like Pride & Prejudice & Zombies, but rather re-inventions of the classic Shakespearean stories and sonnets. You are free to adapt Shakespeare’s language and themes to a Neo-Victorian setting as you will, but unlike the typical mash-up, you don’t have to include every line of original text from your chosen play or sonnet.

We prefer stories where Steampunk elements and themes are thoughtfully applied to Shakespeare’s works. Do not simply throw automatons into Hamlet or Steampunk technology into Richard III; consider how such technological changes may reinterpret the original stories. Saying it another way: What new insight will your Steampunk version of Shakespeare bring to the Bard’s original works?

General Guidelines:
  • Send all submissions to submissions@doctorfantastiques.com as attachment in either Microsoft Word (DOC or DOCX), Real Text Format (RTF) or OpenOffice (ODT) format, with a short introductory letter.
  • All submissions should have STEAMPUNK SHAKESPEARE: Story Title/Sonnet Numbers in the subject line. Any submissions without this information will not be considered for the anthology.
  • We’d prefer inclusion of Steampunk elements in the title of each story, i.e. “Othello, The Half-Machine Moor of Venice” or something similar.
  • We also welcome interpretations with queer characters, characters of color, non-heteronormative relationships, characters with disabilities, non-Eurocentric settings and other traditionally marginalized narratives in mainstream fiction.
  • All submissions must be received no later than 12 a.m. U.S. Eastern Time on 30 May 2011. There will be no exceptions.

Play Adaptation Guidelines:
  • 10,000 words or less on one scene, act, or aspect of any play from Shakespeare’s canon.
  • Integrate Shakespearean language as best as you can within the context of the story; it’s not required that you include some of Shakespeare’s original lines, but it is encouraged.
  • The play that your story is based on must be recognizable within your version; if you adapt Henry V, the reader must be able to tell it’s Henry V as source material.
  • Any violence or sexual situations should remain within the limits of general audience acceptability. Let the play you're adapting be your guide.
  • You are allowed to submit multiple short stories, so long as you do so by the deadline.

Sonnet Adaptation Guidelines: 
  • Adapt any of Shakespeare’s sonnets into a Steampunk version of the same sonnet.
  • The original Sonnet must be recognizable inside your adaptation (i.e. if we the editors can place your version of Sonnet 156 and Shakespeare’s Sonnet 156 side-by-side, we should be able to identify the origin of your version).
  • You may submit multiple sonnets.
Payment is a percentage of the royalties. If there are any questions about these guidelines, anthology co-editors Jaymee Goh, Lia Keyes, and Matthew Delman may all be contacted via The Steampunk Writers & Artists Guild webportal at http://www.steampunkwritersguild.com.

I'm very excited and honoured to be part of this project, and look forward to seeing your submissions!

ETA: Updated guidelines 16/12 to clarify some things!

Signal Boosts: Vaporpunk and Mentions of Silver Goggles Elsewhere

So, Jeff Vandermeer, editor of Steampunk and Steampunk II: Reloaded, has been a huge supporter of blogs like Silver Goggles and Beyond Victoriana, and when working on the Steampunk Bible with S.J. Chambers, very kindly asked me and Ay-Leen for our input with regards to multicultural steampunk. He's also mentioned my work in response to the Stross-hates-steampunk debacle, and recently again when talking about steampunk literature at Omnivoracious.

In more exciting news, Beyond Victoriana is hosting newly-translated excerpts of Vaporpunk, a Brazilian anthology of steampunk, in cooperation with Tachyon Publications! Head on over to check it out! Or clickums to get the original Brazilian version!

Friday, December 10, 2010

MRP Adventures: Quick Notes

Over winter I'll be working on my proposal, so there'll be some things that need to be done, namely, acquainting myself even more with postcolonial theory. 

Step 1: Identify postcolonial approaches on / readings of fiction.

Step 2: Attempt reading of primary texts using postcolonial approaches.

Step 3: Apply postcolonial approach to a new primary text, i.e., explore through some creative writing how a postcolonial approach might look like with the steampunk aesthetic. 

I'm guessing I'll try to identify different schools of postcolonialism, and dedicated one chapter and particular readings to each, and then execute the approach I used at the end of the chapter. So it'll be an evolving story, of sorts. I haven't decided yet what the story will be, and likely, I won't know until I actually start the writing. But it'll probably follow my usual MO of exploring a particular setting and certain characters. 

I'm really excited about this, especially since I have clearance from my supervisor, head of the program and head of the department for this. I still don't have a second reader, but I can worry about that later. 

*flails with happy*

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

We Interrupt the Very Srs Blog Bsnz To Bring You Lulz: Procrastination

When great minds come together...

So this work at school isn't working out as well as I thought it would. Here, have a conversation between myself, Steampunk Scholar Mike Perschon, Doctor Fantastique's editor Matt Delman, Beyond Victoriana founder and mistress Ay-Leen the Peacemaker, Steampunk Canada's Countess Lenora, and Airship Ambassador Kevin Steil.

Monday, December 6, 2010

We Interrupt the Very Srs Blog Bsnz To Bring You Squeez!: New Story

Hallo all! Am in the midst of writing papers which are due mid-month (and angsting over theoretical approaches and lack of resources and lack of knowledge in any given field), but I'm pleased to announce my second story, Lunar Year's End, published at Crossed Genres for Issue 25 - Celebration!

Lunar Year's End is a sequel to Between Islands, my first published short story at Expanded Horizons.

Thank you, Kelly and Jaym, for believing in my story and giving it a home!!

Also, while I'm at it, congratulations to Jaym and Natania for a successful first issue as Editors of Crossed Genres!

Friday, November 12, 2010

MRP Adventures: Usable Primary Works

I'm not one to re-invent the wheel, so when Ay-Leen asked me in the last post (the srs one, not the squee one) about how I would define steampunk literature, I immediately thought to Mike Perschon's well-defined-oft-redefined definition of steampunk: an aesthetic that evokes neo-Victoriana, technofantasy and retrofuturism. I'm not that much of a masochist that I'd try to create my own definition, and I tend to agree with Mike on this definition. It is, thus far, one of the most useful definitions out there that allows for applicability to a great variety of works without being draconian, but is still pretty easily sighted. 

But this is a project that focuses on race and representation in steampunk literature, as well as the potentiality of postcoloniality, which means that although I've read some nifty-ass books that use the steampunk aesthetic (Court of the Air being a wonderful example), I need to narrow down the literature. 

Firstly, of course, the books I'd use would have the steampunk aesthetic. This isn't a big deal. Mike Perschon has done most of the legwork in maintaining a list of primary works that are canonically considered steampunk, so I'll be ripping off his list shamelessly. 

Secondly, the books would have a strong sense of alternate history attached to it as well. Postcoloniality is a state of departure from a particular official narrative; the books I'm looking at should also attempt to depart from history as we know it.

Thirdly, the books would ideally, in order of importance: A) take place in a non-Western European / Western European-derived / white setting for some significant length in the story, AND/OR B) have significant non-Western European / Western European-derived / white cast members with speaking lines, AND/OR C) depict interaction between white characters (if any) and non-white characters in some significant length in the story, AND/OR D) address issues of colonialism / imperialism. (Henceforth, using this system: A [], B [], C [], D [])

Fourthly, they'll have been published within the last ten years, i.e. starting from 2000. This is to narrow down my problems in hunting down books. I'd love to do a literature review of all books that fulfill the above requirements, but I only get 40 - 50 pages for my MRP, so that'll just have to remain a blog project. I'm not averse to books that'll be published within the next 7 months. 

Thus far, the list looks like this:

Peshawar Lancers, by S.M. Stirling -- A [Y], B [Y, by all reports], C [dependent on B so, Y], D [?]

Mainspring, by Jay Lake (sigh) -- A [Y], B [Y], C  [Y], D [N]

Windup Girl, by Paolo Bacigalupi (sigh) -- A [Y], B [Y], C [Y], D [Y]

Tentatively, these are the books I would like to add but am not quite sure yet:

Clockwork Century novels, by Cherie Priest:
Boneshaker -- A [North America as constructed by colonizers], B [N], C [Y], D [N]
Dreadnought -- A [North America as constructed by colonizers], B [Y], C [Y], D [~Y]

Gaslight Dogs, by Karin Lowachee -- A [secondary North America that is beginning to be colonized], B [Y], C [Y], D [Y]

Behemoth, by Scott Westerfeld -- A [half-half], B [Y], C [Y], D [Perhaps]

Books that have potential but since I know too little about them for now, I can't file them yet:

Crystal Rain, by Tobias Buckell (I have to say though, that cover is SPIFFY)

Mortal Engines, by Philip Reeve

I'm kinda annoyed that the books under Tentative are the books that I would file in the Doin' Shit Right folder.

I am not averse to using short stories as primary texts, either:

Pimp My Airship, by Maurice Broaddus -- A [Y], B [Y], C [?], D [?] (Will be filled soon; I need to re-read it)

The Effluent Engine by NK Jemisin -- A [New Orleans, with alt-history Haiti], B [Y], C [Y], D [Y]

The Last Rickshaw by Stephanie Lai -- A [Y], B [Y], C [Y], D [N]

Brilliant, by Georgina Bruce -- A [Y], B [Y], C [Y], D [N]

These short stories, however, are significant because they don't only include POC perspectives, the way Windup Girl and Gaslight Dogs do, but actual center non-white characters as the focal characters. Because they center these characters and have few or no white characters, the discussion of imperialism is less important. I do want to have a section specifically about this sort of fiction as examples of how a postcolonial approach benefits writers using the aesthetic to FAIL LESS. I do think postcolonial steampunk can deliver very sound critiques of imperialism, but I think, honestly, in the end, the point is to imagine a world where we don't have to critique imperialism. I mean, I like kicking sand into the eyes of white colonizers trying to take over the sandbox, but ya'll, sometimes I want to be left alone to build sandcastles without colonizers knockin' 'em over, y'know?

We Interrupt the Very Srs Blog Bsnz To Bring You Squeez!: Steam-Powered

I've been remiss on this, but just to make sure you know: Steam-Powered pre-orders are available until (USian) Thanksgiving!

Steam-Powered: Lesbian Steampunk Stories is an upcoming collection of 15 short stories, edited by JoSelle Vanderhooft, from Torquere Press, with an ETA release date of January 2011. Table of contents as follows:

N.K. Jemisin: "The Effluent Engine"
Georgina Bruce: "Brilliant"
DL MacInnes: "Owl Song"
Sara M. Harvey: "Where the Ocean Meets the Sky"
Beth Wodzinski: "Suffer Water"
Rachel Manija Brown: "Steel Rider"
Shira Lipkin: "Truth and Life"
Matt Kressel: "The Hand that Feeds"
Meredith Holmes: "Love in the Time of Airships"
Teresa Wymore: "Under the Dome"
Tara Sommers: "Clockwork and Music"
Mikki Kendall: "Copper for a Trickster"
Mike Allen: "Sleepless, Burning Life"
Shweta Narayan: "The Padishah Begum's Reflections"
Amal El-Mohtar: "To Follow the Waves"

I've been reading through the ARC (very slowly) and am only done two stories, but I must say that I have very high hopes for this anthology! 

Monday, November 8, 2010

MRP Adventures: And the question is...

What can postcolonial criticism do for literary steampunk?

I've been working on narrowing down exactly what I want to do for my MRP. Coming off Tor.com's Steampunk Fortnight and seeing these wonderful posts by Nisi, Amal, and Ay-Leen (and seeing them being cited in relevant places), and reading further commentary from Jeff Vandermeer (who, bless him, has been working really hard to showcase what I think really is the best of steampunk thus far), I really do think applying a postcolonialist approach to what's currently out under the steampunk banner in the form of literary criticism is totally in order to tease out the difference between progressive, interrogative narratives that really reflect the anxieties and aspirations of our time and old-skool skiffy.

So, really, basically, what I've been doing on this blog, but I want to map out antecedents and theorists that people can hark to when approaching literary steampunk with a critical eye. And what the results might be. 

This of course means I really need to up the ante in my reading and gather a list of primary works that would serve this purpose. 

I have a wonderful book called Unthinking Eurocentrism which I bought for a class ("Feminist and Orientalism") that we ended up not using, and it's a fascinating read (thanks Dr. Heffernan!). I think I quote it extensively in my section of "Colonial Chic or Stylish Subversion?" that Ay-Leen and I co-authored for Shira Tarrant. There's a great section called "From Eurocentrism to Polycentrism" (and after that it goes on to dissect cinema narratives) which really informs a lot of my thinking. I'm also reading up on more postcolonial theory (ya'd think I'd've learned more of it while in undergrad) with regards to literary criticism.

What I want to know is, would postcolonial theory find steampunk lacking? Would postcolonial theory rip it apart? In a bad way, even? I'm working from the assumption that it wouldn't, that instead, postcolonial theory can tease out sites of resistance in steampunk from which it can grow as a subgenre, adding on layers to the aesthetic. But how would it do this? What's in the steampunk postcolonialist's toolbelt, so to speak?

Merf. My goggles, they need polishing. 

Saturday, November 6, 2010

"The Water Weapon" by Brenda W. Clough

You find very surprising nifty things in places you don't expect, you know?

One of the first books I bought for my Kobo eReader was the Dragon and the Stars anthology, edited by Derwin Mak and Eric Choi. It's a collection of stories from all over the Chinese diaspora, by authors who are Chinese or have Chinese roots. I don't dig all of them, obviously, having my own taste. A few stories have links between Asian-Americans/Canadians and Native/First Nations, which was neat to read about.

But this is a steampunk blog, and I just read a short which pretty much qualifies as steampunk, on many levels.

"The Water Weapon" is set in the Great Exposition of England, 1851. It follows Mrs. Grace Stulting, a missionary woman who has been recruited by a local inspector, Mr. Bucket, for her proficiency in understanding and speaking Mandarin, in order to listen to the Chinese delegation at the Great Exhibition because there have been rumours of magic in Regent Park. And obviously the Chinese are at the bottom of it.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Working Process of "Between Islands"

In the midst of reading postcolonial theory and books about gothic literature, I decided to write another steampunk story. Some of you may have read Between Islands, my steampunk short at Expanded Horizons. In the name of procrastination, I thought I would share with you the process and history behind writing it. (What? Everybody else likes to talk about their work. I'm just jumping on that bandwagon.)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

MRP Adventures: Semantics

While considering how best to go about my MRP, I wondered what it meant, really, to write postcolonial steampunk. My reading of science fiction and postcolonial writings in general is woefully insubstantial, but nonetheless, I still wonder.

Larry Pinaire at Tor.com mused, "What I fail to understand is the relationship between the Steampunk era and science fiction. When I think of science fiction, mankind's future, good or bad, usually comes to mind. I am troubled at the idea of looking back to see forward. Maybe I'm just old."

I responded, "Science fiction is the perfect vehicle for addressing topical issues, current issues, and how they could be addressed in another time/space. Steampunk merely uses the time/space of the past, and the issues of the past still have reverberations today, so why not go right to the root to address them?"

Parliament and Wake had another thought-provoking comment: "An alternate thought experiment (for such are the stuff of science and science fiction) might question whether it was rather the grisly abuses and dark excrescences of the 19th century that 'made the 'progress' of the 20th century possible'. A secondary hypothesis of such an experiment might be: whether clinging blithely to the clockwork optimism of the age of empires condemns the cannier, more cynical subjectivity of our own time to a stillbirth."

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

One Year!


Exchanging emails with Ay-Leen last night, I realized that today is the first anniversary of Silver Goggles! Isn't that fabulous? 

I know I don't update often, which is more for my health than lack of interest. But I just want to thank everyone who reads Silver Goggles.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Review: Behemoth, by Scott Westerfeld

Okay, so there is no way to go about reviewing Behemoth if nothing is said about Leviathan, even if both books stand on their own well enough. Except if you read Behemoth first, you’d want to go right back out and get Leviathan anyway, to make sure you got the full experience.
Leviathan is set at the beginning of World War I, with the death of Archduke Ferdinand by Serbs. As such, we can’t exactly pin it down to the era of steam technology, so it’s more fittingly dieselpunk. Nonetheless, the historicity and scale of tech retrofitted into the past fit nicely into steampunk conventions.
Within this history, it’s obvious that Westerfeld has done his homework, down to little details that add a delicious accuracy to enhance certain scenes, while being very clear where he has strayed. As such, there isn’t one break-off point between this story and recorded history, but a blend of both.
The two major factions within the new geopolitical landscape are very reasonably set: in the bits of Europe that is Catholic, the predominant tech is mechanical, with hulking machines that are deeply reminiscent of HG Wells’ land ironclads. The British, by contrast, are Darwinists, with the conceit that Darwin discovered DNA and developed the technology to harness it, to the point that the British fabricate their own biological ecosystems in a fashion that serves their purposes.
This is how we get Leviathan, which is, to put it bluntly, a flying whale.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Congratulations to Ay-Leen of Beyond Victoriana!

This post is a bit late, but this is a post specifically to congratulate Ay-Leen the Peacemaker for being nominated for the Last Drink Bird Head Award of 09/10! Pop on over to show love, because she totally deserves it! She has been working tirelessly since last October on Beyond Victoriana, updating once a week, to bring new horizons to the steampunk scene and highlight all sorts of people in the movement towards multiculturalism within the steampunk subculture. 

Yay, Ay-Leen! *waves a little flag*

Review: Clockwork Heart, by Dru Pagliassotti

I just loaned out my copy of Clockwork Heart to my younger cousin, who's herself a voracious reader, so I can't dive in-depth with page numbers and exacting names as I would ordinarily have liked to, but it's memorable enough for me to be able to comment on some larger issues.

But firstly, you should know that I liked it.

For Distant Observers

Get a little closer.

When you say that you don't understand how a person's motivations could be so misconstrued, that it's alarming how appreciation is taken as appropriation, you need to come closer to see for yourself how intentions don't matter, and no matter how nice the intent was, taking cultural items for your own amusement, even if it's for appreciation's sake, feeds into a centuries-long tradition of removing cultural artefacts and stripping them of their symbolism, from the the owners of the culture, to become trophies.

Back then, it was to show how pretty and sweet and quaint these people in the foreign lands are, or as trophies to show how the good people conquered over the barbarians and savages, or as sentimental items of a holiday well-misspent among the servile natives. Now it is to show how much you love this culture, that you would use their cultural artefacts even over the protestations of its living people.

Get a little closer.

Set aside your accusations of oversensitivity for a few moments, and listen to the complaint upon complaint upon complaint - of being ignored in daily life, or being treated just a little bit worse than other people, or being constantly asked, 'where are you from?' as if we could never be assumed to be from "here", because we must always qualify who we are, to prove we belong. Set aside your knee-jerk assumptions that everything is okay and read the reports of discrimination, at work or in the grocery store or at school or, you know, where normal people really should be able to go without feeling uncomfortable.

Get a little closer.

You might feel the stomachs turning when we see yellowface, brownface, blackface, performed by unwitting, well-meaning white people who think that it's a tribute to the cultures that Western-European civilizations have effaced and forced into hiding. You may see our grimaces at being reminded that we cannot wear these images for ourselves without being stereotyped, and our nostrils flaring in rage that once again, our Other-ness is flouted in our faces, as if we didn't live with it enough. You might feel the nervousness and anxiety over the fact that once again, we have to play the role of educator on what is respectful and what is not, while having to field demands to acquiesce to your right to play with our essences, and accusations that we are selfish.

Get a little closer.

You might feel the sadness that we can't perform our own cultures everyday without constantly being questioned whether we really belong, without constantly being stopped to be asked about our Other-ness, without being constantly told to assimilate. You might hear our rage at being told we're doing something wrong by people within and without our culture, at being told to be grateful for your forbearance of putting up with our strange-ness on a daily basis without us showing our Other selves into your face.

Get a little closer.

You might hear the passive-aggressive jabs at our inferiority that serve to keep us in our place, tell us that we must always bend over backwards to please people who wouldn't give us the same benefit of doubt, ensure that when we speak out we are shut down.

Stop playing distant observer. Stop worrying about intent. Stop sitting on the fence. 

Get a little closer. See the effects that these problems you think we're "making a big deal of" have an effect on us and ours. Sit down beside us and really get to know us.

You might be surprised, because these would be stories we don't trust to just anybody, because the reaction we get from telling them is so hurtful, it's best to tell them only where we can feel safe, and these spaces are rare. 

You might get angry because these would be stories which challenge your view of the world and paint you as a bad person, because you might have been that person causing the hurt, and you might be grouped with the people being racist, and you don't want to see yourself as that kind of person.

You might get scared, because these would be stories where you could be the villain, and your good reputation's too important to tarnish, and you don't want to lose your friends, or the permissions to keep doing these things that actually cause the hurt.

But you should be surprised and you should get angry and you should be scared, especially if it means you'll learn something about how to stop the hurting and the anger and the fear. 

Because if you don't, you're part of the problem, whether you meant to, or not.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Steampunk Postcolonialist In School

I am taking time out from my homework right now to write this post. Yes, yes, yes, Jorge Cham's Unified Theory Of Procrastination, it's true! (He came to deliver his talk at my university; it was neat.) At this moment, I am writing up a response to Jameson's "Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism," which is his general description of postmodernism, and if you want my initial thoughts on it, you can go here.

Anyway the steampunk postcolonialist has not really been updating very much because she is now officially in grad school! ... Well, I guess this is something that should have been announced back in March, when she was officially accepted, or sometime a few weeks ago, when she got her student ID. Not only am I a student with three three-hour classes per week (a core course on Cultural Studies, "Politics for our Times" and "Public Intellectuals and Their Work", if you're curious), with readings and responses and essays and stuff, I am also a teaching assistant for two lovely classes on Shorter Genres (short fiction and poetry). Somewhere in between all this, I have to fit in developing a proposal for a Major Research Project. 

However! This does not mean I am gone from the Internet entirely. I will be writing for Tor.com's upcoming Steampunk Fortnight, with a review of Scott Westerfeld's Behemoth (which, I don't need to tell you, is spiffy as all get-out) and I have already devoured Gail Carriger's Blameless (which has no race-related content, hence precious little for me to review specifically for Silver Goggles, but nonetheless I shall recommend). If you bug me enough, I will write my review on Cherie Priest's Dreadnought a bit faster. 

Until I have some space to breathe, here, have a trailer of a 2008 movie, Queens of Langkasuka, which I picked up in Malaysia, and is a great South East Asian historical fantasy movie with arguably steampunk elements:

My copy has Malay subtitltes. I understand from Ay-Leen that you can find this, dubbed, on Netflix, under "Legend of the Tsunami Warrior" (which is stupid, being that the movie doesn't focus solely on Pari, whom Ananda Everingham portrays, but that's marketing to Western audiences for ya). Here, have some screencaps. Langkasuka was situated on a stretch on the Malay Peninsula, covering both where modern Thailand and Malaysia are. Wikipedia has a nice map. As such, you can see both Siamese and Malay aesthetics within this movie. The historical details are a bit wrong for the movie, since the queens named in this movie are actually queens of Pattani, the kingdom which replaced Langkasuka in the region. But the Thai are allowed to re-write their own history, the way I see it, for their own entertainment. And anyway, you wouldn't want to argue with queens in armour, no matter what era they're really from.

In the meantime, readers, how have you been?

Monday, August 2, 2010

We Interrupt the Very Srs Blog Bsnz To Bring You Squeez!

Heads-up, folks!

Boneshaker and Dreadnought authouress Cherie Priest has a new book set in the Clockwork Century coming up, Clementine!

I just finished Dreadnought and was just saying to Ay-Leen earlier today, as Ay-Leen had said to me weeks back (when I had just finished Boneshaker and she had just finished Dreadnought, because we are total brain twins like that), "I love how Priest handles race in her books, and hope her next one has a character of colour as the protagonist."

And LO, Clementine will feature Croggon Hainey, slave-turned-air-pirate, as a main character! Check out the cover!

Um, review of Dreadnought forthcoming on Silver Goggles, folks. And Clockwork Heart by Dru Pagliassotti. Yeah. 

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Bamboos and Coconuts

My fab friend, Ay-Leen has a liking for the term "bamboopunk", to refer to steampunk set in East Asian countries like China, where bamboo is plentiful. In further consideration, this is feasible, because the bamboo is extremely useful and it's possible to attain a level of industrialization using water technology supported by bamboo architecture. As stereotypical as it sounds to associate bamboo with China, it does make some sense, judging what resources are available to us.

(By the way, while technically bamboo is a grass, BAMBOO IS A TREE, OKAY. Nobody calls it the "bamboo grass", they call it "bamboo tree". I was at my uncle's place recently and he showed me a book called "Things Chinese" written by some white dude, and the authour very patronizingly said, "the Chinese do not recognize the bamboo as a grass." Well of course not, because nobody calls it "the bamboo grass", and besides which, if you think about grass, it doesn't inspire a great deal of confidence that this plant can, in fact, hold up your house.)

I told this to my cousins yesterday when I went to visit (cousins I don't see often enough; my dad's elder brother's kids, who are geniuses and smarter than me), and one of them said, "but what about the coconut tree?? It's the Tree of a Thousand Uses!" Bantering, we surmised that fuel, wood, architecture, punchcard tech and the like could possibly be supported with coconut trees. I personally would supplement this tech with bamboo myself.

Because the -punk label is overused to the point of ridiculousness, with people taking it too seriously (sorry you got caught in the trap, dieselpunk), I am not going to demean this new idea with the term "coconutpunk". (My friend Tariq wants to use "kelapank" - kelapa (Malay) + punk - but I will publicly veto this idea outright.)

(Except in certain Nusantaran circles.)

What local, region-specific resources have you guys been considering lately for your steampunk?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Not A Review: Dream of Perpetual Motion, by Dexter Palmer

I bought this for the shiny cover. Yes, I should be ashamed of myself for judging a book by its cover. But whatever, I picked it up a few times, and it didn't really do anything for me, until I was flying home to Malaysia and decided to read it for real since I was going to be on an airplane for forever anyway (13 hours flying is nothing to sneeze at, ya'll).

Peoplez, I cannot even begin to dissect how much this book pisses me off on a deeper level. I tweeted, early on, "Dear Post Modernism, this is the era of "from margin to center", not "from warbling subconsciousness to drunken lips". I also said to Mike Perschon, "I kinda shut my brain off at 'This is a magical stalk of celery' in Harry's dream sequence and am predicting a really, really hard time getting through this book. Maybe because I'm still in genre fic mode, not litfic mode." I was coming offa Boneshaker and Perdido Street Station, fyi, this is how long it took for me to get started on talking about this book.

You want an actual non-rage-y engagement with this? Here is Mike's.

So, I was going to write this review and be all serious and analytical about it, but ended up with incoherent rage about it, and proceeded to write fanfic instead. Because this story? Is all about fucked up people fucking each other up in order to fuck themselves up even more. There. I said it. Quote at will. And while telling Ay-Leen all about my fanfic, I degenerated instead into ranting about the book. Because I still cannot process this book in a mature, professional manner, you will have to satisfy for my rage, copied-pasted from my chat, typos included.

Under the cut so you can skip it if you don't want to read it. Spoilers ahoy.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


If anybody comes to my blog regularly through the actual Blogger site and not through RSS feeds, and you actually pay attention to the set of links on the left side-bar, you might notice that Cory Gross' Voyages Extraordinaires has been removed from the link list. This was a request from Cory himself, who wishes to distance himself from the steampunk blogosphere in general. 

Personally, I would rather not have to remove him from the blogroll, because as far as steampunk resources go for items of great interest related to actual history, the clunky giant tech aesthetic we so love in steam-industrial settings, and current artists who mix up old works into something new. However, he asked, so. 

So he gets an entire blog post in which I tell ya'll to go over to his space and bookmark it / add it to your feed, because it's really quite excellent as a resource of fun stuff.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Online Works of Great Interest

This is a list of PoC steampunk works you can find online that I will keep adding to. 

Short Fiction:
Pimp My Airship, by Maurice Broaddus, Apex Magazine, Vol. 3, Iss. 2. Aug 2009.
The Effluent Engine, by N.K. Jemisin, author's blog, reprinted in Steam-Powered: Lesbian Steampunk Stories. Ed. JoSelle Vanderhooft. Torquere Press, 2011.
Bijou LaVoix and the Coal Dust Faery, by Malon Edwards, Expanded Horizons #15, February 2010. 
The Last Rickshaw, by Stephanie Lai, Crossed Genres #18: Eastern, reprinted in Crossed Genres Year Two, Dec 2010.
Between Islands, by Jaymee Goh, Expanded Horizons #19. June 2010.
Moon Maiden's Mirror, by Joyce Chng, Semaphore Magazine, September 2009, pgs 43-46 [pdf]
Distant Deeps or Skies, by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Expanded Horizons #24. November 2010.
Lunar Year's End, by Jaymee Goh, Crossed Genres #25: Celebration. December 2010.
To Follow the Waves by Amal El-Mohtar, Podcastle #139. Originally published in Steam-Powered: Lesbian Steampunk Stories. Ed. JoSelle Vanderhooft. Torquere Press, 2011.

Ongoing Fiction:
Carolina Free State, by Erin Winslow

Virtuoso, by Jon Munger (writer/creator) and Krista Brennan (artist)
The West Was Lost, by Beth Dillon, Myron Lameman and Frank Grau 

James Ng
List of non-Western-European entries for the CGArtists Forum Contest themed Steampunk compiled by telophase (h/t Jessie in comments, thanks!)
Jennifer Ben, Coast Salish, does Native American steampunk on DeviantArt

The Path Never Ends by Beth Lameman (Anishinaabe/Mètis)

Stuff on eBookstores:
High Society by Paolo Chikiamco and Hannah Buena (24-page comic): Amazon, FlipReads
Moses: The Chronicles of Harriet Tubman Book I by Balogun: Mocha Memoir Press,
The Switch by Valjeanne Jeffers: Mocha Memoir Press,

If you know of steampunk stories/art/comics that features a main character who is PoC, or from a country beyond Victoriana, whether in a mainstream magazine or for free (this includes LJ/DW and blogs), please drop me a line!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Review: Boneshaker, by Cherie Priest

This post was originally written for Tor.com, but GD Falksen was given the job so it means I get to post it here instead! Proper analysis forthcoming.

Cherie Priest’s Boneshaker is currently considered a sort of keynote in the steampunk movement – Mike Perschon, in his “Steampunk Tribes” article, names steampunks new to the subculture “Boneshakers” as a hat tip to this novel. Most steampunks have at least heard of Boneshaker, if not read it yet. On the cover, Scott Westerfeld describes it as a “steampunk-zombie-airship adventure,” and we all know that anything is improved with zombies.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Welcome Awesome WisCon People

I am currently at WisCon, and I promised a bunch of people that I would post a sort of reading list for folks who want to read steampunk novels that have tackled the issues that I spoke about today at the Politics of Steampunk panel. So, this post is kind of a placeholder until I can get that reading list up. However, if folks don't mind being spoiled, feel free to go through the spoiler-tastic posts I have already written on various books. 

The panel at WisCon went excellently, and I sat with Nisi Shawl, Amal el-Mohtar, Liz Gorinsky, Piglet and Theodora Goss, and we had some really awesome comments from the audience. I love the fact that half the panellists were PoC, and a lot of people were really interested, although I was kind of out of my element because I was confused, well, different spheres of steampunk react to social issues differently.

Anybody interested in other non-social justice-related reading should also check out the links to the left, in particular Steampunk Scholar and Beyond Victoriana.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

China Mièville's Perdido Street Station

 PSS's description on the back does nothing to really describe the convoluted events of the book, which is more than "Issac is given a job to help a garuda; ominous statement made as to the fate of an entire city". The writing is, as expected, tremendously well-written, and it's certainly a literary highlight. The concepts are also deeply abstract and high-flown as well, ambitiously penetrating different dimensions in ways regular human beings can't hope to understand.

But this isn't a review, it's an analysis, and Steampunk Scholar Mike Perschon told me the other day, "You like to rip shit up." Which I do, so let's get to it. Spoilers ahoy, under the cut!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Con Report: Steampunk World's Fair

So, Steampunk World's Fair 2010 has come and gone! For an event that initially planned for 500, it swelled to 1,000, and at the end, the organizers estimated a crowd of 3,700 throughout the whole weekend! Congratulations to Jeff Mach of WickedFaire, Josh formerly of SalonCon, and Whisper and Cap of the SS Icarus for such a hugely successful event!

Unfortunately, I was still recovering from a cold at this event, and one of the results of this cold was a lost voice. So, for anyone who thought I was stand-offish and wished I talked more, I apologize! I can be very chatty at these things, but I thought it prudent to do as little talking as possible. I failed to keep my mouth shut most of the time, alas.

This was going to be a Very Serious Con Report, but to be honest, this was my very first convention, and Ay-Leen beat me to the punch with a really good con report at Beyond Victoriana, so, this will just be some general impressions, also because I neglected to take notes of the Roundtable and Steam Around the World.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

101 Reading List

Welcome to the Silver Goggles 101 Reading List. Here you will find links to blogs, articles and discussions online which heavily influence the discourse on Silver Goggles. This post should have gone up way sooner, but until I wrote Countering Victorientalism and got an overwhelming number of clueless people, I had no idea how much it was needed. I don't like having to re-state things over and over again, especially when other people have said it much better than I can!

This is not to look down on anybody who visits this blog and is still very much at 101 level. I understand your position; I've been there myself - during my third year of my undergrad, I took a course which was cross-listed from the Women's Studies graduate program to the English undergraduate program, because the professor teaching it noticed a few of us in her classes who would be interested in such a course, and we had expressed interest in taking it. There were initially 10 of us in the class, 4 of us were undergrads. This number whittled down to 5 - myself as the only undergrad. 

The patience it must have taken to educate myself and the other undergrads on the issues within the course was incredible; I always felt left behind, and perhaps it's my obnoxious arrogance but I still felt comfortable discussing with them as equals, even though I was so far behind in what I understood of feminism among women who had been both studying the theory and participating in activism for longer than I had been at my undergrad. 

It is from their warmth and generosity that I understood that there is nothing inherently wrong with being at 101-level. There is also nothing wrong with wanting to discuss certain difficult concepts, or requesting clarification, because fresh eyes may lead to a better understanding of our subject matter. It is a disadvantage to halt the conversation from moving forward just to re-explain basic concepts, when we wish to negotiate other, larger concepts, but it is by no means awful or terrible. 

So here are a list of resources and whatnot for you to read at your leisure. Most of these links deal with media analysis of gender and race. I often write from an intersectional viewpoint, but most of my frame deals heavily with race, so that's what you'll get. I hope you'll find these links useful as much as I did.

So, without further ado: 

Moff's Law @ Racialicious
Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack (I find this article to be a bit dated, but it serves as a useful first step in understanding white privilege) (PDF)
Ten Things Everybody Should Know About Race
Thoughts on Orientalism, Imperialism & Steampunking Asia by Ay-Leen the Peacemaker (This is the article that started it all! From her original post on MySpace, I contacted Ay-Leen, and we went from there to Silver Goggles and Beyond Victoriana and show no signs of stopping! Ph34r us!)
Things I Don't Have To Think About Today by John Scalzi. Let this white man lay out for you what privilege looks like from a white man's point of view.

Linkspam - of particular interest: Victorientalism. And Round #2
What Is Cultural Appropriation @ The Angry Black Woman
[info]rydra_wong's linkspam of the Great Cultural Appropriation Debate of DOOM 2009 aka RaceFail '09, continued here because it ran out of LJ space. Pls to be takin ur time readin this, np.

Blogs to read:

Please note that none of these can be read and understood in a short period of time. When I write, I draw from a few years' worth of understanding, starting from 101-level to what I'm doing now. It is perfectly fine to take your time in getting through this list. In fact, you may need time to understand them. Sometimes it means you have to step back and process it, and sometimes it means continuing to read the next few articles, to see if they clarify things better. Other times, you'll find that once you've read other stuff, you come back to the first thing you had such difficulty with and find now you get it, because you're absorbed more information.

Happy Reading =) If there are some things you don't understand and need a quick answer for, fire me an email or a tweet and if I'm feeling up to it, I'll try to clarify things for you.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Into the Fray for the next while...

So, everybody, this steampunk postcolonialist will be at Steampunk World's Fair this weekend! Come to the Social Issues in Steampunk Roundtable where we will discuss the SRS BZNS of steampunk (and have cake!), and to Steam Around the World, where Ay-Leen and I will talk about non-Eurocentric steampunk (and give out free stuff!). Feel free to say hello!

After this, it's off to WisCon, where I will be a panellist on the Politics of Steampunk alongside the illustrious persons of Nisi Shawl, Theodora Goss, Amal El-Mohtar, and Liz Gorinsky! Have I mentioned how nervous I am? I am ridiculously nervous. 

Monday, May 3, 2010

A Special Present!

I had a Very Special Package come in today! I went to pick it up, and behold! It is a package from Hong Kong.

If you can see, it is a package from James Ng! Yes, him of the famous Chinese steampunk paintings! James asked me a while back if I could do him a favour by taking some prints of his to Steampunk World's Fair, and  who am I to say no? 

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Themes of Gaslight Dogs

 My review of Karin Lowachee's Gaslight Dogs is up at Tor.com, and that one's fairly spoiler-free, so now here is the TOTALLY spoiler-y version consisting of my initial thoughts upon reading this fantastic book!

Repost for Blogging Against Disablism Day: With This Steam-Powered Prosthetic Arm, I Could Be As Strong As... a Normal Person

May 1 is Blogging Against Disablism Day, in which bloggers all over the world, of all intersections, discuss disability, the difficulties they face as a result of the difficulty, and the disablism they face. Ablism/disablism - discrimination against the disabled, whether physical or mental - is embedded into much of societal attitudes, language, and institutions, both structural and physical. Originally posted at Tor.com, but, it seemed appropriate to re-post it. today 

Thursday, April 8, 2010

We Interrupt the Very Srs Blog Bsnz To Bring You Lulz

Look, if you note in the left sidebar of this blog, there's a link to the Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage, yes? By the Amazing Sydney Padua. She's fantastic, I say. She puts in a ton of research into her work, and produces some of the most hilarious visual puns that have ever existed on the Internetz. If you have not yet started reading the Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage, I suggest, very strongly, that you start immediately, forthwith, as soon as possible, sooner if possible.

Today's arc is part of the Organist arc, in which Babbage has gone a little off and turned his mathematical genius to destroy all instruments which produce street music, because he hates street music, and he really does. Our Lady Lovelace has thus abandoned him to his eccentric, overbearing project, and Chaos Ensues! 

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Jay Lake's Mainspring

I just finished Jay Lake's Mainspring. Here's my initial impression: I am thoroughly annoyed. This may change when I re-read it further down the line, but right now, colour me really annoyed.

Spoilers to follow. This is just a record for me, so I don't mind if you think it's tl;dr. It's not really a review, but my thoughts upon reading. This post is For The Herd, if I may say so.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Kyriarchy in Avatar: The Last Airbender - Perpetuating & Challenging Oppression & Imperialism

In a previous post, I wrote about kyriarchy and how it permeates our institutions of today, and is a driving force behind imperialism. Being a value system that places priority on control, it has its manifestations in a lot of the fiction we create, to the extent that a work without its presence is an unrealistic utopia, lacking any tension to drive the plot.

Many stories which involve grand-scale plots and politics also illustrate the kyriarchy at work, among these the animated TV series Avatar: The Last Airbender.

Avatar: The Last Airbender (which I will cut short to A:TLA) is an epic adventure spanning an entire secondary world, in which magic (the bending arts) and technology blend together in a form of industrialization. Its steampunk visual aesthetic are most visible in the technology of the Fire Nation, an island nation that uses the most visible amount of metal, refined by the element that they bend.

If you haven't watched it, you should. (I, for one, consider it a wonderful example of Asian-inspired steampunk.) This essay will contain spoilers, so you were warned.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Stephen Hunt's Court of the Air

Yes, I know there should be an essay on A:TLA here in place of this, but I also recently finished Stephen Hunt's Court of the Air and I wanted to note down before I forget and have to get the book all over again (which I probably will have to) some salient things I noticed about it. And there are spoilers here. It's not a review per se, but a condensation of some of the many thoughts I had while reading it.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Inevitably of Imperialism: On Kyriarchy and How It Factors into Steampunk

When Racialicious first posted Ay-Leen’s “From the Wilds of America”, the accompanying image was a map from Steam Century’s game in which the RPG re-imagines a different political landscape on America’s face, where France and Russia had sizable territories, the British were not quite so hegemonic, and where Native Americans had their own lands marked out.

I remember someone remarked, “I wish that map was real.”

Someone else said, “Actually, us Indians would be better off with *nobody* living off our backs, but that should be obvious.”

Because of the history and current politics of North America, there are certain ideas we take for granted, and most pervasive is that white folk would go out colonizing America no matter what. It is easy to see why; the current default American experience is that of the culturally-Christian white male – all too often, we forget the indigenous peoples who were here way before them.

Many steampunks claim an anti-imperialist agenda. Some American white steampunks imagine that America was still a colony of the British. The thing about this is, if you were anti-imperialist, you wouldn’t be so pro-Colonies! Then again, that leaves only Europe as a playing field (with possible trade routes) (in the sky) which in turn leads to Occidentalism and exoticizing Europe (which already happens, let’s face it), and that isn’t so hot either. (Maybe this is why so many white steampunks don’t want to consider such issues – it’s quite the process of self-displacement, isn’t it?)

But this isn’t a Thou Shouldst Feel Guilty article. History happened. And sometimes, steampunk is about re-arranging history. With the hindsight history gives us, it is good to confront what potential ramifications any re-envisioning of geo-political geography will have.

On the Inevitably of Imperialism

Al-caid commented recently that imperialism - or rather, the performance of it - is to be expected in steampunk. Not only do I accept the veracity of this statement, I shall even qualify this with an explanation. (He also said, in what I suspect is a sentiment confused by translation, that it is acceptable. I take umbrage to this and will explain why.)

     Most of us in the world live in what is called a kyriarchy, a system of oppression that remains in place because we value power, authourity and the means to prove it.* It is because of this value system that when a group gains the wherewithal to impose themselves on others, what happens, as history so displays, is they usually do seek to control other spaces, with various pretexts. This value system is so ingrained to the point of subconsciousness, that revolutions and revolts turn sour since old leaders are disposed and new ones struggle to maintain power without truly changing anything, that liberal movements fail to consider marginalized groups, and that we keep feeling that no matter how much progress we make, we’re still the same ol’, same ol’. It is this value system that leads us to believe that humans are intrinsically predisposed towards perpetrating evil, because “we’re human, what do you expect?” (Here’s a good answer: “More.”)

     When we re-imagine the world, it is inevitable that some of us will shift geo-politics around, especially if we start with grounding in history. Even secondary world imaginers will use some reference to real-world spaces. Power imbalances due to advancements in various fields are bound to occur, especially in such a setting as the 19th century. The prosperity of a country is sadly, often built on the exploitation of another.

     It is good to recognize that marginalization of certain peoples will happen in many re-imaginings of the world.** Because if you don’t, you run the risk of assuming certain defaults which are already causing enough trouble in real life. By refusing to recognize and factor in real-life marginalizations, you condone imperialist narratives and oppressive systems, whether you intended to or not.

On Rejecting Imperialism

     Imperialism, and by extension oppression, is never acceptable, except to supremacists who have investment in maintaining the kyriarchy. It is one thing to switch things up theoretically to see which different results we get, to see how one party might get parity over another; it is irresponsible to ignore or erase those already affected by imperialism for the sake of entertainment.

     Imperialism is a series of actions, of one entity taking control of another entity, with or without the permission of the latter, informed by what we know and meted out through available means. Steampunk is a construct, also informed by what we know and performed using available means. It is easy for these to intersect, and easy for our performance of steampunk to mete out imperialist acts.

     In order to actively reject imperialism, you must be acquainted with what it is. This, if you are part of a dominant group, sadly, involves examining the hubris of your heritage, and how it continues to play out today. If you are part of a minority group, chances are you are well-acquainted with the abuse of your ancestors, and how it echoes in your community.

     When you see history and its modern echoes laid out before you, when you acknowledge the patterns of abuse that pushes people into the margins, underfoot into the cracks in the floor, you’ll know better how to build a world without the guilt, fear and pain.

     Especially those of you who use steampunk as a means for escape. You need to know what you’re escaping from, and acknowledge for who the escape is. (As we like to say, we’d rather deal with someone who’s honestly, vocally a racist, then someone who only says they're anti-racist but behaves otherwise.)

     Oppression-free settings are not impossible. If they were, every step of social progress we have made would be rendered bunk. Feminists, humanists, and all other social justice seekers wouldn’t bother. No one would care about democracy and representation (which, I understand, is what many Western countries are being built upon today, but feel free to correct me).

     They are, however, difficult to achieve, because there are so many human factors to take into account. You know, like, real-life people.

     This is why we have conversations.

An Example

     I don’t know what Steam Century’s map should look like, ideally, because I’m not Native / First Nations / Aboriginal / indigenous to America.

     I can tell you that in my ideal map, the sultans of Nusantara have created a compact of peace and trade with China and work alongside Siam to industrialize the townships whilst still self-sustaining. The Dutch in Java, the Portuguese in Malacca, the English in Penang are absorbed into the workforce and population. Chinese, Arab and Indian scholars interact and debate in coffeeshops on hot lazy days. These capitals in the Malaccan Straits are thriving entreports where traders from all over the world come to haggle and buy and sell and teach and learn, and eat good food.

     That’s a vision solely for myself, because others from my region would re-imagine it differently, and I ignore the huge class differentials that have led us to continual abuse of our immigrants, our refusal to accept the cultural practices of newcomers, our bloody and corrupt history which allowed the sultans to accede to the British and other foreign powers in the first place. This is pure escapism.

     It can’t happen, because this is not a world that values cooperation. We don’t live in a world where I can find any basis for Nusantara. Not only that, but the cultural imprint left behind by the colonizers are so deep, my ideal Nusantara is difficult to imagine, because everyone in it speaks English and I no longer know the difference between East and West, between local and foreign. Sad, but true.

     Based on historical reality, Siam would industrialize first and tussle with the English over Malaya. I could choose to imagine China as dominant, and it would swallow most of Asia (and some of Russia). Chances are, there would be Chinese supremacists. There would be still be clashes between the adherents between Islam and Hinduism. Skirmishes with Japan in the air would leave our rains black and acidic.

     I can’t leave this historical reality behind, because I can’t afford it. It is in no one’s interests but my own to ignore it. Which is fine, and I do, when no one’s watching and I’m on my lonesome, writing little utopic fics (and sappy love stories).


     By now, I’ve probably painted a really bleak picture of imperialism and colonialism in steampunk. Which is fine and all, because imperialism and colonialism are bleak things to begin with: they are defined by the actions of one entity attempting to erase or subjugate another entity.

     It is incredibly difficult to imagine a world without kyriarchy. Therefore, it is important that first, we must believe that dismantling these institutions, for the betterment of everyone, is possible. And it is. I won’t say that it’s the way of progress, and so in the name of progress, these institutions must bend, because progress hasn’t always been good for the social good. But it is the way of kindness and generosity, of cooperation and communication, and everything that makes anything enjoyable to participate in.

     And that, in itself, is worthwhile.

*Marilyn French’s Beyond Power elucidates on this concept to great extent.
** Don’t expect cookies for this.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Countering Victorientalism

Written for Steampunk Magazine's blog, released here as in conjunction with Beyond Victoriana's own addressing of Victorientalism (far more comprehensive this this post; treat this essay as a 101-level article as you will).

ETA: I'm getting a lot of comments on cultural appropriation here. This blog isn't really the space I use to discuss cultural appropriation, although it does play into steampunk as well. I have more general conversations on it at my main blog, Intersectionality Dreaming, and have specific posts on the topic. I'd prefer it if ya'll took that conversation that side. Thanks.

There is a fairly recent term that has sprung in the annals of steampunk: Victorientalism. It is used to refer to steampunk that is inspired by the Orient, the vague, large region that was strange and new to Western explorers back in the day when there was no Internet and travelling took many months of dangerous journeying.

It's a pretty-sounding term, often used by well-meaning white people who don't have any clue just how racist the term is.

I want to nip this in the bud before it takes any more traction and people start using it for Asian steampunk by Asians, because Victorientalism, created by Occidentals, does not truly describe Asian-inspired steampunk, much less steampunk participation by Asians.