Friday, July 18, 2014

THE SEA IS OURS promotional artwork!

The steampunk postcolonialist is once again heading to San Diego Comic Con, but this time as a mere attendee on the sufferance of the amazing Ay-Leen the Peacemaker of Beyond Victoriana. She'll be on The Witty Women of Steampunk panel this year, as well as running the Tor booth, so please come out to visit her! 

I, for my part, will be swanning around with flyers for the Carl Brandon Society, and promotional postcards for STEAMPUNK WORLD (you know, the steampunk anthology I'm in with Nisi Shawl and the one with artwork by James Ng) and THE SEA IS OURS. I only thought about this last minute and ran about like a headless chicken trying to figure out how to put together a promo card for THE SEA IS OURS, and turned to Shing Yin Khor, of Sawdust Press, I'd been following her Tumblr for quite some time now--she has this lovely delicate watercolour style, just the sort of thing I like! (I would have appealed to the amazing calligrapher Likhain but she is rather busy right now.) 

"Shing," I said, trying to put as much wheedling into one email as possible, "Shing shing shing, can you pleeeeaaase throw together something for THE SEA IS OURS so we can use it at SDCC?" 

She asked me, "what do you want on it? Is there an overarching theme for the anthology?"

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Achievement Unlocked in PhD Adventures

Before I forget again, just to officially announce it here, I recently sat for my qualifying exams over the first two weeks of June, and defended on the 19th. My committee was very interested in what I have to say about steampunk and generally agreed that I had too many ideas and not a single cohesive argument. Which, yeah, it's true. I forgot to cite Mwanda Ntarangi's Reversed Gaze: An African Ethnography of American Anthropology, as the type of project I want to do on steampunk (although more a POC Ethnography of Eurocentric Steampunk, I suppose). 

I have advanced to official PhD Candidacy, and reached the much sought-after ABD status.

Cupcakes of congratulations are much appreciated. With any luck, I shall be back to regular blogging (haha, as if I ever blogged regularly) soon enough to share with you the things I am reading!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Once More, With Feeling: A Belated Response

Sometimes last year, after Steampunk III: Steampunk Revolution  edited by Ann Vandermeer came out, acclaimed SF critic John Clute wrote a review that was bounced from the essay that Ann Vandermeer graciously had me rewrite for inclusion into the anthology, in which I wrote a long call-out of steampunk, not merely of the performative aspect, but also of the literary, the communal, and the creative. (At least, I think it is supposed to be a review; much of it was spent not actually talking about the book itself, so I am not sure.) Clute sidestepped my criticism by focusing on the literary, the "roots" of steampunk, as it were. To quote:

"the extremely loose set of fictions that were retroactively treated as taproot texts for late-century/new-century Steampunk were in fact pure story, certainly if storytellers are most subversive of hegemony when they tell bad news with what looks like a smile but is not, for the original Steampunk texts are precisely not a nostalgic immersion in some polished-brass, utopianized version of Victorian England requiring only a twitch of the kaleidoscope to come true."

There are two claims in this sentence bubbling over with long words that I certainly would have been told to re-write by any professor and editor of mine: 1) the texts from which steampunk were coined were "pure story" (a term that could be read to mean either "totally divorced from reality" or "so real it hurts") 2) that call out the terribleness of the Victorian times for what they are. And, from what I understand, this is how we get an anti-hegemony writer like Michael Moorcock (and somehow his work from the 1960s which would later influence his Nomad of the Time Streams series will be relevant, because literary lineage). As well as a plethora of other writers who form, I suppose, the canon of "early" steampunk.