Monday, December 7, 2009

Steampunk in Time

Imagine my surprise when I flipped through my recent copy of Time Magazine and found an article about Steampunk.

That got me all excited because it meant the culture is making more headlines. But then I got a tad depressed because it appears Mr. Lev Grossman -- who wrote the article -- spent much of it glossing over a heckuva bunch of stuff in favor of instead talking to Scott Westerfield (apparently one novel in the genre makes you an expert).

Now, I'm not bad-mouthing either gentleman. I've worked as a reporter (like Grossman is) and it is all kinds of not fun. The daily deadlines you have to hit or be reamed out by your boss are like the Sword of Damacles hanging over your head with an evil imp waiting to slice the thread. I'm also not trying to say Westerfield's not an articulate gentleman who spoke very well about the genre. I'm quite happy with his comments in regards to why he wrote Leviathan as a steampunk novel.

I should be happy that Steampunk got a shout-out in a major publication like Time. As it is, I'm merely bothered by it being back matter (tucked away at the end of the magazine) and not somewhere center stage where it belongs. Not like I'm, you know, biased or anything.*

* And if you believe that I have a nice little bridge in New York to sell you.


Natalie said...

A bridge in New York? I'm game :)

I've started reading LEVIATHAN. I was wondering--is it true steampunk? Or does all the animal engineering make it more science fiction? (Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction anyway right?)

Adam Heine said...

@Matt: At least he got the history right. The two pages in the link (is that the whole article or an excerpt?) are actually a good overview and even interpretation of what steampunk is.

@Natalie: Steampunk is often both fantasy and sci-fi, but it was originally birthed in science fiction. From everything I've heard, LEVIATHAN is smack dab in the middle of the subgenre.

For me, I'm glad to see steampunk getting press. The only thing that bothers me is now I'll be coming on the back end of the wave instead of the crest. You know. If I get published.

Matthew Delman said...

Adam --

That's the whole article. Which is kind of disappointing honestly, but whatever.

And remember that story trumps everything, especially in our lovely sci-fi/fantasy genre. There's still folks writing cyberpunk, and that's been around for years upon years.

Matthew Delman said...

Oh and Natalie? Adam's on the money with the estimation of LEVIATHAN. It's fairly true to the original alternate history interpretation of steampunk (with some technical advances thrown into places they originally weren't).

MeganRebekah said...

I'm going to dig out my Time magazine and find this article. Don't know how I missed it!

I find steampunk very intriguing, and full of endless possibilities. I'm excited to see where different authors take it.

Matthew Delman said...

Megan --

In case you didn't see the date on the article page itself, it's in the mag with the picture of President Obama and the West Point grads on the cover.

Joshua McCune said...

At least it's getting pub -- buried as it may be. Still a good thing.

Susan R. Mills said...

I'll have to check that issue of Time. Like Megan, I missed it. Of course, I was reading it in the waiting room at the doc's office. We probably got called back before I got to that far back. Like Bane said, at least it's geeting pub, even if it is way in the back.

Davin Malasarn said...

Keep the faith, Matthew! When I was in art class a few years ago, I remember my professor talking about a story dealing with a controversial art exhibit. She said it was exciting just to see that art got into the news in any form. Then, over the time period of our class, she periodically brought in newspapers as the story moved closer and closer to the front page and eventually made it to the front page. Maybe the article you saw was just the seed needed to spark more people's interest in steampunk culture.

Matthew Delman said...

Davin --

True steampunk has been getting more press as more and more writers put out novels and the maker culture on the fashion side gets into it.

Although it is the fashion side that's getting more press than the fiction side, which I guess is par for the course considering how some famous people deride reading *cough*Kanye West*cough*.

Sorry ... frog in my throat. :)

L. T. Host said...

I've been LOOKING for a bridge in New York!

Anyway, I'm glad it's getting more and more press, regardless. Though I worry it will become tossed around like a fad word, i.e., "Check out that dude, he's so steampunk," etc., and its correct and proper use will be lost.

Let us hope that doesn't happen

Stephanie Thornton said...

I'll have my people get with your people about this little bridge of yours. :)

I've been hearing more and more about steampunk in the last couple years. You best get a move on and get that novel of yours finished ASAP! Steampunk could be the next vampire!