Steampunk Authors Weighed in on Steampunk as a Genre at ISS 2017

State of a Genre

This year’s International Steampunk Symposium had some fabulous literary guests. They came together for a little chat about the defining factors of Steampunk as a genre. Much to our astonishment, K.W. Jeter talked about a time he was all but shunned by the European steampunk event for not being “Euro-Steampunk” enough. He also told us about a battle of words with a podcaster who insisted Steampunk is just white privilege with some gears on it. When the dust settled, the podcaster ignored all of Jeter’s points. He went forward with his own agenda, but what’s a writer to do? Cherie Priest also told a story of being on a panel and having another presenter get in her face (quite literally) over the superiority of Dieselpunk or Steampunk.

But on the whole, the message was positive. In the second half of the panel there were some heart-warming stories of love and acceptance. Steampunk as a community and genre is getter wider and wider, and for the most part, people feel free to explore their favorite fandom however they chose. Sarah Hans, editor of Steampunk World and Steampunk Universe anthologies, also made a splendid point about Steampunk I’d never thought about. On the whole, science fiction can get pretty bleak. Steampunk seems to tend towards the positive, towards hope, more often then not.

And we could all use a dose of something splendid these days.
If you could ask any of these writers a question, what would it be? Do you have a sweet story of Steampunk acceptance you’d like to share? Leave a comment!

One thought on “Steampunk Authors Weighed in on Steampunk as a Genre at ISS 2017

  1. The ‘what is Steampunk’ controversy is one of those things which I have seen a lot of online, but never faced personally. I am a juggler and escapologist – I perform at Steampunk Festivals.

    I have never had anyone question me, or in person heard anyone else question whether someone is Steampunk enough.

    When I started the crowdfunding for The Last Airship steampunks poured out help, offers and funding (including an article here) – and not once did anyone check for ‘steampunk qualifications’.

    I find the vast majority of Steampunks to be totally accepting – we must be careful not to let the occassional over zealous ‘categoriser’ create a box for all of us!

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