More than two years ago, I caused controversy with the rant “Requiem for Steampunk” in which I outlined what had gone wrong the genre. I wrote in declarative statements that what we call “steampunk” isn’t steampunk anymore by bookending the article with these two paragraphs:
Since it has lost the anti-authoritarian, anti-establishment aspects, “steampunk” is no longer steam “punk.” It’s something else now and I’m not sure what to call it… So either steampunk is dead, it’s dying, or it was never what it should have been and what is now called “steampunk” is a bastardization.
If steampunk — and for that matter, dieselpunk, decopunk and so on — isn’t about flipping society right-side up with a splash of non-conformity and anarchy against the ruling class, we should find another suffix besides ‘punk.
Sandwiched between those statements was the thesis of my argument and how I came to my conclusion that steampunk was in a lot of trouble as a “social movement”.
I have continued to write and talk about the topic, including in a review for The Steampunk Journal and in an appearance on “Radio Retrofuture” with Bonsart Bokel.
So have others. Nick Ottens’ recent “Who Killed Steampunk?” is the latest entry in this debate.
I have come to the conclusion that if only I had written “Gatekeepers Are Killing Steampunk” and made that the title of my rant, I would not have caused so much controversy. I could still have heaped much of the blame for what’s killing steampunk on the people who are trying to control it and make it their own and I wouldn’t be the villain and scoundrel that I am accused of being today. (Although, let’s face it, I actually enjoy the “scoundrel” part.)
I suspect that a more mundane title would have also spared Nick much of the heat he has taken for his article.
Continue reading “The Gatekeeper’s Scythe”
I’m not often moved to write articles, usually it’s fiction for me. But I was intrigued by the two “Who Killed Steampunk?” articles here and surprised by some of the responses. All genres have their ups and downs, and I’m hoping any steampunk downturn will soon turn around. Again, like the original article, I am restricting this to written steampunk only.
Nick’s articles made me think. They made me wonder what was my unwritten agenda? When I started writing the Shades of Aether series, I just wanted to write a light-hearted adventure (under my other author name I write dark gritty crime and I needed a break from that). The books started as an adventure and forbidden love story, but grew into something more. While I created that, I didn’t analyze or worry over it. It just came about organically.
Continue reading “Writing Steampunk”
My last story, “Who Killed Steampunk?“, provoked a lot of comments, both here and on social media. I’ve tried to read all of them, but I couldn’t respond to everyone individually, so let me follow up here.
Most of the criticism fell into one of three categories:
- You’re ignoring the convention and music scene.
- You’re trying to force your view of steampunk on others.
- You’re blaming “social justice warriors” and providing a refuge to misogynists and racists.
Each of these arguments deserves a more thorough response than fits in a tweet.
Continue reading “Who Killed Steampunk? A Response to My Critics”
By the middle of the nineteenth century, Barcelona was bursting at the seams. The city hadn’t expanded beyond its medieval walls, but its population had grown almost 50 percent between 1800 and 1850. The congestion was contributing to outbreaks of disease. There was clearly a need for expansion, but it wasn’t until 1853 that the central government in Madrid allowed Barcelona to tear down its walls.
Two expansion plans were introduced, one by Antoni Rovira i Trias, which was favored by the Barcelona city council, and another by Ildefonso Cerdá, which was favored by Madrid. Neither was implemented in full, but Cerdá’s, with its distinctive hexagonal blocks, proved by far the most influential.
Continue reading “Unbuilt Barcelona”
Nicholas Maxson-Francombe is a Belgian artist, many of whose brilliant digital paintings are set in a dark steampunk world that he calls “1895 Welded Iron”. He is also a concept artist for the exciting dieselpunk project Acropolis.
Continue reading “The Art of Nicholas Maxson-Francombe”
It’s getting harder to maintain that steampunk is just resting. It may not be dead, but it certainly isn’t as alive as it used to be.
I was never big on steampunk events and I’m not into steampunk music, so I can’t speak for those scenes. But when it comes to art, fiction and the online fandom, there has been a noticeable decline.
Continue reading “Who Killed Steampunk?”
Andree Wallin is a concept artist from Sweden who worked on Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) and Rogue One (2016). His personal artwork includes landscapes and scenes that would be perfect for a steam- or cyberpunk story.
Continue reading “The Art of Andree Wallin”
The eleventh edition of Made in Asia was the first one run by Easyfairs, meaning there were quite a few changes, and not always for the better.
Frankly, the only change for the better I noticed is that it wasn’t freezing cold inside like last year.
Continue reading “Made in Asia”
Last weekend, it was time for Comic Con Brussels in its traditional venue, Tour & Taxis. The event has in recent years become Belgium’s largest and most popular pop culture convention, and the dense crowd of this edition proved it.
Regardless of the masses of people, it was great fun, and, just like always, quite a few steampunks had flocked to it. Here are a few photos for you to enjoy.
Continue reading “Steampunk at Comic Con Brussels”
Modernisme is the Catalan version of Art Nouveau. Its popularity coincided with the late-nineteenth-century expansion of Barcelona, which more than doubled the city in size. Walk around the Eixample district, which rings the historical city center, and you’ll find countless examples of this organic architectural style that is rich in decoration and incorporates Arab and Gothic elements.
Some, like Antoni Gaudí’s Sagrada Família and Lluís Domènech i Montaner’s Hospital de Sant Pau, are well known. Others you would probably pass by if you didn’t know where to look.
What follows is only a selection. The best way to explore Barcelona’s Modernista architecture is to take a day to roam Eixample and give yourself time to gaze at the many beautiful buildings here.
Continue reading “Modernista Architecture in Barcelona”