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Steampunk Reloaded
c is for cat
Yeah, so, not feeling quite as great about that steampunk post on the other side of a good night's sleep. Possibly was a little rough.I was just so tired of talking about practically nothing else, whether it was positive or negative. A little voice in the back of my head said do not post this, there is no way your friends will not think it's about them and their books even though it isn't, and well, angel on the right shoulder FAIL.

I think the most important thing for me to come out of that conversation for me was asking tithenai  why steampunk was so important that it, unlike any other subgenre, deserved all the specially-created space to work itself out. We aren't worried that if vampire fiction doesn't get lots of devoted time on every website, it won't mature as a genre and find its way--and dissing vampire fiction is like the internet's hobby. Ditto with almost anything I can think to slot in there. Some of it is that 24/7 internet news cycle, which is what I really meant to talk about and went off message a bit. But some of it is that steampunk IS being treated specially.

Her answer was that no other genre has so much potential yet is so very problematic. I can almost agree. I'm sure one more potetial-stuffed and problematic will come along. It is perhaps that the other ones that fulfill those needs, like cyberpunk (I think it has equal race, class, and gender issues) is not cool anymore, so people aren't engaging with it the same way they do with the Current Big Thing.

Because there is this underlying idea that steampunk is Important. I am hardly the first to spill ink on it, even this week. And I wonder why.

(It's been asked that we talk about something else now. Like space stations. Comments are, in addition to replying to this post, an open thread for spaceship/station/pony talk.)

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I missed tithenai's contribution to the discussion, and, as per usual when missing and tithenai are involved in the same sentence, am sorry I did. I think her point was really insightful and your counterpoint equally so.

I also empathize with blogging hangover.

Cyberpunk isn't cool anymore; I think the reason for that is that we largely got to that future. Sure, no head-jacks, but the parts that were important to the culture (at least for the consumers of the fiction) - corporate ubiquity, 24/7 media cycles, social connections over electronic media.

I think the other thing is that steampunk has a stronger aesthetic than cyberpunk ever did. It's got a lot more potential as a visual medium, as a costuming medium, as a craft medium than cyberpunk, even if, as a literary medium, it hasn't borne the fruit that cyberpunk did (and it may not - and no, I'm not helping either). As a visual aesthetic I can see it aging to kitschy, where cyberpunk just got dated. To my eyes, anyway.

And while I'm dispensing uninformed opinions, in a way, I would argue vampire fiction did sort of get its space and aesthetic ... I don't know, boost in the late 80s to the mid 90s; it just escaped the **the full force of the** used-up feeling because it wasn't contingent on anything that ever became a reality in our world. Also, it jumped fully from goth to romance, which was, as problematic as that is, probably a smart move.

All that said, there is definitely an element of faddishness in there that drags on what innovation you can find and could drown the whole thing. Also, I am totally post-zombie.

Edited at 2010-11-04 03:38 pm (UTC)

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