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Letters from Proxima Thule

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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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The feeling that it is Important comes in large degree from the magnification of its images, spurred on by the aesthetic and its embrace by a very demonstrative community. And to me, the fact that it is in many ways so surface-oriented, so bundled with escapism and idealism simultaneously, and yet full of potential for subversion is what makes it, well, not worth embracing, but worth interrogating.

That said, space ponies are vastly underrated. While in some ways impractical in space, they would be quite the status symbol and perhaps even a moneymaker as every kid on the station would want it at their birthday party,and even adults struggling with the complications of living in space might find comfort from one. What space station would not benefit from a small petting zoo?

AND you could play with ideas of suburban ideals, the bourgeois notion that all kids WANT a pony at their birthday party, etc.

In fact, it might be fun to write a story about the kid who did not want the pony at their party and the weird scandal that follows.

What do ponies want at their birthday parties?

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