Posts Tagged steampunk

Announcing Like Clockwork

A few years ago, my good friend and colleague Rachel Bowser and I put out a call for papers for an edited collection on steampunk. Today, we are pleased to say that Like Clockwork: Steampunk Pasts, Presents, and Futures will be published this fall by University of Minnesota Press. In fact, you can order it now. And check out this cover!

The cover of *Like Clockwork, which shows a brass colored automaton with a number of gears and dials in its head. The edges of the book have gears running up and down it.

In many ways, our book leaves the question of “what is steampunk?” aside as we already tackled that question in our special issue of Neo-Victorian Studies on Steampunk, Science, and (Neo)Victorian Technologies. Like Clockwork asks a different question: “why steampunk?” and, perhaps more importantly, “why steampunk now?”  why did steampunk explode in popularity in the first years of the twenty-first century? What is it about the aesthetic, the themes, or the crosscutting of anachronistic technologies that speaks to so many around the globe? Why did steampunk only become a thing—and a thing that IBM’s social analytics predict will continue to grow—more than 30 years after its invention in the early 1970s?

Perhaps it’s not surprising that a genre that celebrates the similarities and disjunctures among times took a while to find its own moment, but our collection identifies specific trends and events to which steampunk as a genre, a fan culture, and art movement respond. The essays in the book address these subjects as well as disability studies, postcolonial studies, digital humanities, Victorian culture, urban studies, performance, graphic novels, film, cultural trauma, and even the question of whether steampunk is “punk enough”:


Rachel A. Bowser and Brian Croxall, “It’s about Time: Reading Steampunk’s Rise and Roots”

Steampunk Spaces and Things

David Pike, “Steampunk and the Victorian City: Time Machines, Bryan Talbot, and the Center of the Multiverse”
Roger Whitson, “How to Theorize with a Hammer; or, Making and Baking Things in Steampunk and the Digital Humanities”
Catherine Siemann, “The Steampunk City in Crisis”

Steampunk Bodies and Identities

Kathryn Crowther, “From Steam Arms to Brass Goggles: Steampunk, Prostheses, and Disability”
Stefania Forlini, “The Aesthete, the Dandy, and the Steampunk; or Things as They Are Now”
Diana M. Pho, “Punking the Other: On the Performance of Racial and National Identities in Steampunk”

Steampunk Reading and Revising

Mike Perschon, “Seminal Steampunk: Proper and True”
Lisa Hager, “The Alchemy of Aether: Steampunk as Reading Practice in Karina Cooper’s Tarnished and Gilded
Joseph Weakland and Shaun Duke, “Out of Control: Disrupting Technological Mastery in Michael Moorcock’s The Warlord of the Air and K. W. Jeter’s Infernal Devices”

We’ve been thrilled to work with great authors throughout the project and the fine folks at Minnesota. We can’t wait to see the book in print and to be throwing out to the rest of y’all from the sides of the book-tour dirigible.

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Life Ain’t Pretty in the Steampunk City: A Call for Abstracts

By way of addressing what we see as a gap in the edited collection that Rachel Bowser and I announced last year, we are soliciting abstracts for essays that consider in one way or another representations of the city in steampunk. The term “city” should be understood widely to signify large and small urban spaces and need not be limited to a particular geography or time period. As texts, essays could consider one or more of the following: literature (including YA lit), film, graphic novels, anime, as well as fandom and performance.

The essay will be part of an edited collection exploring steampunk in its literary, filmic, material and fan culture instantiations. The editors have met with multiple university presses who have expressed enthusiastic interest. Completed essays will be expected in early summer 2013.

Possible subjects could include the following:

  • The role of crowds in steampunk
  • Urban geographies in steampunk
  • Steampunk and technologies of the city
  • The dirty spaces of steampunk
  • City as mechanization
  • Steampunk and bureaucracy
  • The difference between the cities and the countryside in steampunk

Email 250 word abstracts to Brian Croxall and Rachel Bowser, b [dot] croxall [at] gmail [dot] com and rachel [dot] bowser [at] gmail [dot] com, by February 15, 2013.


Join our Band of Merry Air Pirates: Call for Abstracts on Steampunk

A few years ago, my colleague Rachel Bowser and I co-edited a special issue of Neo-Victorian Studies on the subject of steampunk. As I’m guessing you already know, steampunk is a movement fascinated by the vagaries of time as well as technology. So perhaps that’s why we find ourselves–two years later–going back to this particular imagined future.

Steampunks at the 2010 Dragon*Con parade

We are seeking abstracts for inclusion in a proposal for an edited volume on steampunk. The anthology will present a varied look at steampunk culture and criticism, presenting a comprehensive look at the genre’s impact and development in the fields of art and material cultural. Accordingly, we seek proposals that explore any of a range of iterations of the genre. These may include, for example, analysis of:

  • Steampunk fiction
  • Steampunk film
  • Steampunk visual art
  • Steampunk fashion
  • Steampunk performance
  • Steampunk fan culture
  • Steampunk in relationship to preceding science fiction and -punk genres
  • Steampunk and feminism
  • Steampunk and postcolonial paradigms
  • Steampunk and Victorian studies
  • Steampunk and technology studies

We hope to present this collection as of interest to both steampunk enthusiasts and non-specialists in the genre, as well as both academic and generalist readers. With this in mind, please submit proposals that are steeped in steampunk culture and criticism, that could be of interest to a generalist audience and that have a strong sense of the stakes of steampunk analysis for broader cultural studies.

Submit 500 word proposals to Brian Croxall (b [dot] croxall [at] gmail [dot] com) and Rachel Bowser (rachel [dot] bowser [at] gmail [dot] com) by 1 October 2012.

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Like a Geyser, Our Steampunk Journal Issue Gushes Forth

I’m very pleased to announce that after more than two and a half years of work (i.e., more time than my daughter has been alive), the special issue of Neo-Victorian Studies on steampunk that I co-edited with my great friend Rachel Bowser (who is frustratingly not present online). We’re exceptionally proud of the articles that came out of this endeavor and are grateful for the authors who worked so hard on meeting deadlines and on going through revisions. We are also grateful for the NVS editorial board and General and Founding Editor Marie-Luise Kohlke in particular.

Since I know you’ll be reading the whole thing, here’s merely the Table of Contents to whet your appetite as the above link loads:

Special Issue: Steampunk, Science, and (Neo)Victorian Technologies
Guest edited by Rachel A. Bowser and Brian Croxall

Introduction: Industrial Evolution
Rachel A. Bowser and Brian Croxall

Clacking Control Societies: Steampunk, History, and the Difference Engine of Escape
Patrick Jagoda

Technology and Morality: The Stuff of Steampunk
Stefania Forlini

Betrayed by Time: Steampunk & the Neo-Victorian in Alan Moore’s Lost Girls and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
Jason B. Jones

Steam Wars
Mike Perschon

Time Machines: Steampunk in Contemporary Art
Caroline Cason Barratt

Democratising the Past to Improve the Future: An Interview with Steampunk Godfather Paul Di Filippo
Lisa Yaszek

The Steam Arm’: Proto-Steampunk Themes in a Victorian Popular Song
Kirstie Blair


“God Save the Queen, for Someone Must!”: Sebastian O and the Steampunk Aesthetic
Joseph Good


The Rocky Terrain of British Novel Adaptations: Review of Dianne F. Sadoff, Victorian Vogue: British Novels on Screen
Thomas Witholt

Re-Imagined Memory: Review of Kate Mitchell, History and Cultural Memory in Neo-Victorian Fiction: Victorian Afterimages
Marie-Luise Kohlke

On (Neo-Victorian) Re-Visions and Foldings: Review of Rachel Carroll (ed.), Adaptation in Contemporary Culture: Textual Infidelities
Rosario Arias

Steampunk Show Time: Review of Robert Rankin’s The Japanese Devil Fish Girl and Other Unnatural Attractions: A Novel
Marie-Luise Kohlke

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