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, 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, but, it seemed appropriate to re-post it. today