Category Archives: Steampunk Hands Around the World 2015

Don’t just ask what your Steampunk community can do for you…

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Ask instead: What is it that I can do for my Steampunk community.

No community can exist without its members spending time together and building up the bonds of friendship, respect and trust. Your community is where you feel safe and supported. If you want to increase your enjoyment of the Steampunk lifestyle, engage with a community. This can be an online community or a social group. I am a member of several Steampunk communities, both online and in the non-virtual world, so my recommendation comes from experience.

You can remain a dabbler all your life, but this means you aren’t getting the full benefit of the community experience.

The Parasol Parade, Fort Lytton

The Parasol Parade, Fort Lytton

Being part of a community gives you the opportunity to make good friends. However, contributing to a community not only enriches your own life, but the lives of others. You can contribute in a multitude of ways:

  • by running Steampunk-themed social events
  • by running charity fundraisers with a Steampunk theme
  • by holding or attending workshops and seminars – education can be fun
  • by writing articles about Steampunk for magazines ( both online and hard copy)
  • by participating in online events like Steampunk Hands Around the World
  • by creating Steampunk-inspired works of art and exhibiting them
  • by writing Steampunk genre stories
  • by dressing in Steampunk cosplay
  • by attending conferences

You don’t have to try and get involved in all these activities. But even attempting one or two of them will greatly increase your connection to your Steampunk community. And don’t discount the fun factor, either. None of these activities has to involve what might be referred to as ‘hard work’. In fact, if it starts to feel like hard work, then you are doing it wrong.

Being part of a community gives you the security to be yourself, knowing other share your passion for shiny gadgets and corsets, beards and tea parties, fans and goggles, bustles and boots. No one is going to judge you, unless you ask them for an opinion. It gives you the freedom to be the Steampunk Tea Lady with her Sugar Tongs of Doom.

Want some sugar, my dear?

Want some sugar, my dear?

Michael Pryor, Steampunk Author and honorary Tea Lady

Michael Pryor, Steampunk Author and honorary Tea Lady

Steampunk was never meant to be taken too seriously. That is what makes it such a great community. The more you give back to your community, the more fun you will have!

Want to join an online community? https://www.facebook.com/SteampunkSunday

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Filed under Alternative Subculture, Community, Steampunk, Steampunk Hands Around the World 2015

Steve Turnbull, Steampunk Writer: Steampunk Hands Around the World

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As a writer, I tend to make friends with other writers – particularly online. Other writers understand the unique joys and challenges of our profession; such as most writers don’t actually make a conscious ‘choice’ to be a writer – we all have nagging muses. As I get more involved in the Steampunk community, I’m making the acquaintance of other writers who delve in the Steampunk literary genre. So, even though I have only ever met Steve Turnbull in the webiverse, it is amazing how much Steve and I have in common when you consider he is a writer on the other side from the world from me.

This is one of the reasons I’ve chose Steve Turnbull as one of the representative personalities for Steampunk Hands Around the World 2015. In the coming year, Steve will be publishing twelve steampunk books. (TWELVE! Way to go to make the rest of us feel inadequate, Steve.) He just released the first one for 2015, which is the fourth in his Maliha Anderson series. I am particularly looking forward the first of his Harriet Edgbaston series – a girl’s own steampunk adventure – which is out in March.

In addition, Mr Turnbull is editing an Anthology of steampunk stories by various writers due out in October. What’s interesting is that all these stories will also be set in the Voidships universe.

He hopes to have a graphic novel version of The Lazarus Machine out this year as well. The Lazarus Machine was originally written as a web serial (serial = fixed length story). On top of all this, he also has a feature film script with a xeno-botanist as the protagonist, and that is set in the same universe. (You can see why I get on Steve, as my Professor Alice is also a botanist.)

Steve isn’t a seriously active member in his local Steampunk community, but that isn’t surprising with his writing commitments (I’m surprised he finds time to eat and sleep). He does attend Steampunk events. He also makes the time to read Steampunk genre books, like Gail Carriger, Shelly Adina, Scott Westerfield, Cherie Priest, to name a few. When he isn’t reading in the Steampunk literary genre, he is reading for research. Currently, he is investigating the Siege of Lucknow in 1857, and the Second Boer war in 1900-1902. When he does get some free time, he watches shows like Warehouse 13 or Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow.

 “There is a massive steampunk movement in the UK, and because the most populace areas are no more than a couple of hours apart we can get huge numbers to events. And do. The City of Manchester is the home of Steampunk. It was the powerhouse of British invention, and the Industrial revolution – including all the bad stuff, which I never gloss over.”

Steve is an active member of an online Steampunk Community. His primary social media is G+ and he runs both the Steampunk Writers and Steampunk Music communities. He is also a moderator on the Self-Publishing community and a big mouth (his term) on the Writers Discussion Group. On Facebook, he is in the Steampunk Writers group, the British Steampunk community and some local groups.

Steve claims he isn’t a full time writer as he also has a position as a contract web developer. I would beg to differ. He is actually holding down two jobs. Steve is the sort of individual who makes the Steampunk community so inspiring, with his dedication to his craft.

Steve Turnbull on Amazon: http://viewauthor.at/SteveTurnbull

Steve Turnbull’s website: http://steveturnbull.me

The Voidships website: http://voidships.com

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Sharing Steampunk: some thoughts about popularity

Colour group photo.

Steampunk is a subgenre of Science Fiction. In the past three decades, Steampunk has managed to generate several subgenres of its own, like Gaslamp Fantasy and Dieselpunk. These are growing large enough to count as genres in their own right, with their own aesthetics and genre markers, and with their own authors, illustrators, artists, and cosplayers. Some people think Steampunk is getting too popular, and this popularity is ruining the playing field for the ‘real’ enthusiasts, because the genre can be interpreted in too many ways.

Let me be the first to disagree with that attitude.

Some people see Steampunk devolving into an uchronic mythology based on the Industrial age in Victorian England. These are purists who want to see all the historical details remain accurate, forgetting that Steampunk shares many of characteristics of the Alternative History genre. The important word in the previous sentence is ‘alternative’, which means creative changes can be made to the details. Lots of changes, such as changes to the time period, social mores, technology levels, the existence of magic and magical beasts, and anything else that takes your fancy.

It is these fluctuations in the details that creates the subgenres.

While a Literary genre is growing and changing, it can’t get stale. It is this acceptance – nay, embracing! – of change that keeps Steampunk vibrant and interesting. This is the same reason why the English language is alive and well in the modern world, because it isn’t afraid to try out new words and new concepts. Steampunk loves to experimentation and innovation; in fact, it is one of the biggest genre markers of the category. New subgenres are just a sign of a healthy literary genre.

I don’t understand how Steampunk can be ‘too’ popular. Popularity means more Steampunk genre books & art, and Steampunk-themed movies and television shows, and much else. It means that people understand what Steampunk is without a lengthy explanation. It means more creative people joining the Steampunk community, making it richer and more complex.

Steampunk isn’t a secret to be clutched to your chest and hidden away, like some old curmudgeon in a dusty apartment. Open that door and let other people join the party. The more, the merrier!

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Filed under Alternative Subculture, Community, Steampunk Genre, Steampunk Hands Around the World 2015, Subgenres of Steampunk