A Steampunk Feminist’s Perspective on Science Week 2017

Warning Science Ahead

 

You can’t have Steampunk without Science … it would be like trying to build a locomotive without cogs! You could do it with great difficulty, but is the result worth the effort? And is it in a recognisable form? Do the wheels fall off when you try to run with it? I have read Science Fiction stories that claim to have no science, but it sneaks in under the door like smoke from a coal fire. After all, you can’t have a coal fire without coal!

Rocket for SCIENCE

This week is World Science Week, celebrating all the various fields of science from the so-called ‘soft sciences’ like Sociology and Anthropology all the way through to the diamond-hard sciences involving Physics. (Personally, I find this sort of description of the fields of science rather judgemental and divisive, and pretty damn useless.) In Brisbane, the majority of the festivities are taking place in and around the Cultural Precinct. You can find a description of the events here: http://www.worldsciencefestival.com.au/

I attended a Science Writing workshop that was one of the events to kick off the celebrations. I wondered if I should attend, since I have considered myself a science writer for over fifteen years, but curiosity and interest got me there in the end. I am endlessly fascinated by how other writers work. It was a well run and very useful workshop, and I always gain insights into my own process as well as garnering some very good tips.

What I did notice was that most of Science Writers mentioned in the course were men, while at the same time, only one man attended the workshop; the rest were women (including me). Several of the women attendees were already working as science writers or scientists (or both). I wonder if this a sign that things are about the change in the field of Science Writing, to reflect the increase of women working in the STEM fields. As well, the workshop didn’t mention too much about blogging, which is a growing arena for science writing. My favourite female science blogger is the SciBabe: http://scibabe.com/

Science!

So, as more women find their feet in the various fields of science, gain respect, and go on to have stellar careers … so should the women science writers … as should the female writers in the Steampunk genre. There is a knock-on effect.

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4 Comments

Filed under Feminism, Science, Steampunk, Steampunk Feminist, Steampunk Themes, Uncategorized, Women in Science

4 responses to “A Steampunk Feminist’s Perspective on Science Week 2017

  1. Actually, you could build a locomotive without cogs; they contained none to speak of,
    but anyway – SCIENCE! ( + MORE WOMEN = A GOOD THING)

  2. Modern locos (diesel, diesel-electric and electric) are *seething* with cogs. That is how their motors (spinning at high revs) can drive the wheels at low revs. But we never see them, the same as we don’t see the dozens of cogs inside the gearboxes of our own cars.
    Okay, I’m being pedantic here, and autistic, and as factual as I can. Your consistent metaphor, as heroic as it was, was technically quite wrong (Having evoked the word ‘steampunk’, it implies a steal loco).
    Now I cannot say I have entirely stripped a steam loco into a pile of parts, but I’ve never, in all the hundreds of hours I spent as a railway-tragic (my entire boyhood), seen any reference to cogs in steam locos, with the exception of rack-and-pinion railways. (The ‘pinion’, as mentioned, being the most important of their many cogs.)
    May I suggest you edit in the word ‘rack’ just prior to ‘locomotive’. Your nerdy readers will be impressed.

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