Recently, as co-editor of Steampunk Reloaded, I participated in a Salon Futura podcast about Steampunk with writers Karin Lowachee and Lavie Tidhar, conducted by Cheryl Morgan. We talked about everything from ideas of empire in the subgenre to some of the subtleties of colonialism, as well as mad scientists, balancing fun and reality, and one segment on Naughty Stuff. In a nice bit of coincidental timing, as part of the extra-content push for Steampunk Reloaded, Beyond Victoriana and Tachyon Publishing also posted some Brazilian/Portuguese Steampunk in translation. Links:
--Jacques Barcia's "A Life Made Possible Behind the Barricades" (PG-13)
Ever since 2008 when this NYT article appeared, Steampunk has hit critical mass. It's everywhere, sometimes so ubiquitous that it causes either intense bliss or intense annoyance, depending on your tastes. What is Steampunk? Modern steampunk fiction, a type of Victorian-era alternate history fiction or retro-futurism, derives at least in part from the influence of works by Jules Verne and H. G. Wells in the 1800s and early twentieth century that featured steam-powered inventions, airships, and (sometimes) mad inventors. These books tended to be somewhat cautionary in nature, with a healthy unwillingness to accept “progress” as always inevitable and good. Wells' work also commented on the nature of empire, even postulating an attack on New York in The War in the Air, typifying the U.S. in this way: “cheered the flag by habit and tradition, they despised other nations, and whenever there was an international difficulty they were intensely patriotic, that is to say, they were ardently against any native politician who did not say, threaten, and do harsh and uncompromising things to the antagonist people."