Check It: Gears
This review of Boneshaker by Cherie Priest is notable for a) rightly pointing out that Strange Horizons is awesome and b) kicking off a blogosphere discussion on hype. But let’s ignore both of those things and concentrate on the real issue here: when will steampunk die? We’ve had our fun but it has turned into a bit of a monster now. Even those involved in the movement like Steampunk Scholar sometimes worry about the ignorance of their fellow travellers:
Like so much of what I read on forums and twitter regarding steampunk, these statements are indicative of a movement that hasn’t so much forgotten its roots as never known them. While there are steampunks who have read the original three (Jeter, Powers, and Blaylock), who watched Wild, Wild, West when it had nothing to do with Will Smith or giant steam-spiders, there are those who seem to think that steampunk is the product of the last three years of what I would call the steampunk boom years. Few steampunks read, and even fewer have read early steampunk, or proto-steampunk like Pavane or Nomad of the Time Streams, to say nothing of the handful that have actually read Verne and Wells. So I’m not too surprised when steampunks display an ignorance for the literary origins of the sub-culture.
Others who have found themselves co-opted into the movement aren’t happy. Author Philip Reeve says steampunk stinks and he wants nothing to do with it:
It seems that I’m becoming part of a movement, in much the same way that a half-digested peanut does when it passes through your lower intestine… Steampunk is a genre cul-de-sac: it’s Science Fiction for people who know nothing about science; historical romance for readers whose knowledge of history comes from costume dramas. May it soon go the way of that half-digested peanut, and be flushed into oblivion.
The title of this post is courtesy of Kate Beaton’s Hark, A Vagrant. “I put a shitload of cogs and watches on my boot.” Indeed.