Last week was Tor.com’s Steampunk Week, and as usual there was some great stuff. Here’s a few highlights:
Boldly Into Our Patina’d Future: Our own Magpie Killjoy, on how Steampunk aesthetics can help remedy some boring and destructive elements of modern culture.
But I’m happy to use steampunk as a goggle lens with which to see the world and a wrench with which to change it, because aesthetics matter. Doing things beautifully makes the experience more worthwhile. Anyone who’s been to a boring activist meeting might understand this, and anyone who’s decided that life is too short to spend at boring activist meetings might understand it even better. What I love about steampunk is that it’s both an aesthetic movement—of fashion and fiction alike—and a technological movement. We’re a movement of makers, of Do-It-Yourself and Do-It-Ourselves, of information sharing, and of supporting artisan crafters.
Steampunk III: Steampunk Revolution: An excerpt from the newest Steampunk anthology by Ann VanderMeer, on the political potential of Steampunk.
We were even approached for an interview by the Weather Channel. I, being a weather geek, was thrilled for the opportunity but asked the interviewer, why us? Why would the Weather Channel be interested in Steampunk? He answered global warming, alternate energy sources, recycling, DIY thinking.
Four Victorian Kinks Your Great-Grandparents Didn’t Want You To Know About: Margaret Killjoy, Professor Calamity, and kinky sex. Need I say more?
Our cultural understanding of sex in the western world is more steeped in the late 19th century than even us steampunks would care to admit. Sure, they were notoriously prude, but the Victorians were obsessed with sex. They just lied about it, constantly.
Queer Cogs: Steampunk, Gender and Sexuality: Lisa Hager on how steampunk welcomes diversity, particularly around gender and sexuality, and where there’s room for improvement.
And, it is in this arena, dear readers, where steampunk does such delightfully interesting things. Since steampunk takes as its “raw materials” nineteenth century literature and culture, it has the ability to offer alternative ideas about a number cultural concepts that we may take for granted, including sexuality and gender. In the nineteenth century, we find the beginnings of so many parts of our Western culture’s ways of talking about these issues.
Any favorites that I missed? Share the links in the comments!