Edited by Singaporean novelist Joyce Chng and Malaysian writer and critic Jaymee Goh, this anthology redefines steampunk from a Southeast Asian perspective. Usually described as Victorian science fiction, steampunk has quickly gained critical mass from its disparate beginnings as a niche aesthetic into a world-wide subcultural movement.
Multicultural steampunk has always been part of its development, exemplified by works such as James Ng’s Imperial Steamworks art pieces, Elizabeth LaPensée’s short film “The Path Without End,” and anthologies like STEAMFUNK! and Steampunk World. The SEA Is Ours is the first collection to curate steampunk stories from across Southeast Asia and its diaspora.
Jaymee Goh, currently a doctoral candidate at the University of California, Riverside, has published short fiction and poetry, including a series of short stories set in a re-imagined Malaysia uncolonized by the West. Both are also consistent critics of the genre’s Eurocentrism.
“We felt unsatisfied by representations of Southeast Asia in most of speculative fiction,” Goh says in an interview with Asian American Press, “and felt very strongly that steampunk would be a really great way of talking about the myriad histories in the region.”
The SEA Is Ours will feature writers from Southeast Asia and beyond, with steampunk stories set in Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Philippines. A blend of previously published writers and upcoming names, it is Southeast Asian not only in name but in essence, with 11 of its 12 writers being Southeast Asian or of Southeast Asian descent. Each story will have an accompanying illustration challenging common steampunk-associated visuals.
Rosarium Publishing made a splash in speculative fiction with its 2013 anthology Mothership: Tales of Afrofuturism and Beyond. Since then it has published several ongoing comic titles such as Kid Code by graphic arts professor John Jennings, DayBlack by tattoo artist Keef Cross, and The Little Red Fish by designer Bizhan Khodabandeh. Its oeuvre includes young adult comic Malice in Ovenland by Micheline Hess, adult graphic memoir Jennifer’s Journal by Jennifer Cruté, and satirical novel Koontown Killing Kaper by founder Bill Campbell. Its most recent anthology release was Stories for Chip: A Tribute to Samuel R. Delany, which received high critical praise.
The SEA Is Ours is set for a Nov 1, 2015 release. Its fundraising campaign runs Sept. 23 through Oct. 22, 2015.
See the Indiegogo campaign here: