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Rules for Anchorites

Letters from Proxima Thule

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The issue is that you're claiming it's possible to talk about Steampunk without discussing the cultural issues.

The way I see it, this is exactly what's wrong with it in general -- the sense that the underlying cultural conflicts are optional, can be ignored, can be left out of discussion.

The other problem I have is that you're saying you're disccussing Steampunk. You're not. You're discussing currently-out Steampunk novels, and claiming that's The Genre is erasing the rest.

I'm saying that I've discussed cultural aspects before but want to say something else right now because, well, I've said those things before. And how can I discuss anything bit currently out novels? I can't read anything not out! I'm confused!

But please, it hurts me to think that you don't know how often I e talked about the cultural conflicts. At some cons it's all I talk about, and I'm the only one talking. This essay is about something else, but all my others on sp are about that, so too my story.

But please, it hurts me to think that you don't know how often I e talked about the cultural conflicts.

Granted, I haven't been at the cons you're talking about, but I do know. I read what you write here, I read your fiction, I know you care. .That is why this is hurtful.

Look, being erased is something I just expect in most of the genre. People in this larger-community still ask me how I can think Hinduism is underrepresented, when Zelazny used it? It's the sort of thing I normally wince over and move on; it's not something I'd normally bother to engage on. What's bothering me is that you are doing it in this post, and you are someone I trust not to.

I know it's not your intent. Or I'd have just moved on.

The problem is not that you're talking about something else. It's that you're talking about something else in terms that strongly say 'this is the whole of it, barring a few exceptions'.

And your having talked about other facets, elsewhere, doesn't help that.
Is that clearer?

Lemme try that again...

Thing is, I share the frustration and irritation you're expressing.

It's just that the categorical way you're expressing it (e.g. Steampunk sucks) implies that exceptions are a scattershot of "other stuff", and the majority can be pretty much generalized to the whole. Which erases the existence of this ... I dunno, counter-movement, maybe? I don't even know what it is yet. This thing that Aileen and Jaymee and Nisi and Amal (and I) and others are doing.

Re: Lemme try that again...

I tried to respond on my phone last night but it got eaten. Let me try again.

I think it's also unfair to claim that the material that is out in the world and being critiqued doesn't represent the genre, but a small group of people who variously haven't finished their novels or have only done a short story or two DO. You said you guys (and I would fit there too, as I've done a story) are the counter-movement--well, you have to be counter to something and I'm talking about what you're counter to.

If you don't even know what it is yet, how can I include it in a critique?

Re: Lemme try that again...

We're talking past each other.

I don't have anything against you ranting about the novels; I fully agree that they are rant-worthy, and in general I find your rants glorious.
I have a probem with you not calling it that, with using the cover term to refer to only one privileged-majority within that term.

That usage relegates POC to "optional extra", because that's what general cultural usage of cover terms does. (e.g. "women" to mean "straight cis middle-class white women" or better yet, "people" to mean "straight cis middle class white men", or, as you have mentioned in the past "American novels" to mean "books written by straight cis middle class white men"....)

So. All I am objecting to is your decision that Steampunk is just the novels, because, given the timing (and the upswell of POC-conversation that was happening with the Tor.com blogs) that is incredibly erasing of the work that's being done right now, in the barrage of posts you are complaining about.

In a few years, when this post-colonialist coming-together is not brand-new, it may well be much more reasonable. Right now it's harmful to us.

Re: Lemme try that again...

Then for that I apologize.

I don't think I'm saying half of what you think I'm saying, but I suspect you're right and we're talking past each other at this point.

Re: Lemme try that again...

Apologies for putting words in your mouth; what I meant was not "you're saying X" but "you're communicating X here given the cultural norms we're working with."

And insofar as any apology's needed on your part, totally accepted, though I don't think you need to -- working out hard things is hard.

And I need to figure out how to say what I'm thinking in a way that communicates it better.

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