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11.01.2010

Steampunk Day One

In about two and a half weeks, I will be making the trek to Seattle to join a hoard of rather fascinating people celebrating a fast-growing subgenre of fantasy/sci-fi most commonly known as Steampunk. As a publisher, I will be sitting on panels acknowledging the importance of the sub-genre, the growth of the sub-genre into it's own genre proper, and a number of other things I haven't figured out yet.

The truth is that I know very little about steampunk in general. What I do know, I know as a not-so-distant observer of culture. I know as an expert in my field - the book industry. I know as much as anyone else who has visited steampunk blogs, webshops, and bookstore shelves with the curious fascination that comes over one who feels too old to join a new trend but young enough to realize that I would have eaten it up ten years ago.

Even so, when I mention steampunk to friends/family/acquaintances, I realize that I do, actually, know a lot more than I give myself credit for. Much of the world still hasn't heard of the movement - if I may be so bold as to dub it so. I may not yet have donned the ubiquitous goggles, and I may not yet own a bronze-ribbed corset, but I could at least begin to answer the question "In what way is steampunk a modern myth?" Which is a good thing, since I'll be discussing that very topic at Steamcon in three weeks.

In the meantime, I'd like to use this blog to chart the development of my learning. I will be taking a three week intensive dip into the steampunk world in preparation for the great convention. It won't be very difficult; I've been studying Victorian literature and culture since high school. I have examined the various moods and possibilities of modern mythology since I first stepped foot in the Edman Tower at Wheaton, where Dr. Hein opened up for us wide-eyed collegiates the anagogical mysteries of A Canticle for Leibowitz, Lilith, and Till We Have Faces. In so many ways, this will just be a freshening up. Regardless, I'd like to take you with me.

To start, I'll link you over to a recent critical post over at NPR. This article is more interesting for the reader comments than it is for the content. While you're at it, take a look at the main site for Steamcon itself. Have fun. :)

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